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Thursday, June 24, 1999 Published at 16:11 GMT 17:11 UK

World: South Asia

Indian music - now online

By Habib Beary in Bangalore

A young music aficionado has started India's first online magazine devoted entirely to music.

Suchitra Lata, in her early 30s, launched The Music Magazine in the southern Indian city of Bangalore.

The city is known as India's Silicon Valley because of the large number of information technology companies that have set up shop there.

[ image: Ravi Shankar: Indian classical music legend]
Ravi Shankar: Indian classical music legend
She and her husband S R Ramakrishna, a lecturer at the Asian School of Journalism and a music buff, had been dreaming of launching the venture for over a year.

"I am quite excited. Our site has already received 16,000 hits on the first day. Those who are accessing the site are as far as from the United States, UK and many parts of Europe," Ms Lata told the BBC.

The site aims to provide something a little extra - Suchitra Lata has a background in Indian classical music, having played the Veena, a popular rhythmic Carnatic instrument, for 14 years.

"We find very little writing on music in mainstream newspapers, television channels (which) concentrate on popular film music, but there is a great wealth of music in other genres that the big media ignores - like classical music or folk music," she said.

She said her magazine was well researched and featured news, views, reviews and interviews.

"You can even buy music. We have a tie up with Mumbai (Bombay)-based Rediff on the Net, India's most popular Internet magazine," she said.

Global audience

She chose the internet because of its global reach and cost effectiveness, a view that is shared by many.

"You can't have a dead tree version of something as specialised and tightly focussed as this music magazine. The economics don't work out, whereas on the net anything is possible," said Saritha Rai, editor of the online edition of The Economic Times.

India is fast catching up with the internet boom. There are more than 800,000 internet users and more than 500,000 want to get connected.

A study by Nascom, the organisation which represents India's software companies, says poor infrastructure is coming in the way of internet revolution in the country.

Ms Lata said her main target are the millions of non-resident Indians in the United States, an increasingly important audience for sites with content relating to India.

She is assisted in her venture by a small team, mainly consisting of freelancers, and each specialising in a different genre of music.

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Internet Links

The Music Magazine

Rediff on the Net

Carnatic Music Online

A Beginner's Guide to North Indian Classical Music


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