EXPLORING THE DIGITAL LANDSCAPE OF LOCAL MUSIC
The local English music scene in Colombo grew exponentially over the last two decades, with the rise of the internet in tandem with developing radio stations and personalities, propagating promotional expertise. Yazmin Yousuf, now an eminent radio personality arrived in Sri Lanka during the latter half of the 1990s, after having grown up in Dubai, to experience her first genuine taste of local music. It was the time where she would begin work on what would become a long-standing career in the music industry. Passing successively through a slew of radio stations such as EFM, SUN.FM, TNL Radio, KISS.FM and YES.FM, places her as a prime vocality in discussing the changes the local scene underwent as waves generated by the combination of analogue and digital technologies took place across the world.
Yazmin recalls when internet cafes were popular locations to listen to music. The radio personality cites the early 2000s as the time when the internet was taking over Sri Lanka which witnessed, “The beginnings of local bands such as as Ten Second Rule, Hollow Point Halo and Spleen Saint in promoting themselves by releasing their music online through sources such as blogs and essential music websites such as rock.lk and music.lk”. In addition to this, the rise of the video-sharing website Youtube forever altered the digital landscape as self-promotion and uploading videos took hold of industries worldwide.
Radio Waves of Change 2010
The enthusiastic broadcaster remarks that “2010 was the year that really made Sri Lankan music what it is. Bands and individual producers including the likes of “Gappiya’, ‘Jehan R’ uploaded their music to Youtube, Soundcloud and to a certain degree pre-algorithm Facebook”. It was during this time, in lieu with post-war urban redevelopment, where an explosion of art and design took place and stifled voices could ease and expand their boundaries in an atmosphere of freedom. It was the time where contemporary social media gained momentum, generating more instantaneous ways of communication, a diverse vitality embraced by the music scene.
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