| 01 Dec 2023
MixRadio Music Connects 2014: Empowering the independent music scene

MUMBAI: The current independent music scene in the country is booming and more platforms are being launched to ensure indie artistes are given their due credit for creating music that is substantial. The session ‘The New Emerging Independent Artist Platforms’ discussed the various platforms available to current independent artistes and how they are working towards creating a space for independent music in an environment where Bollywood is consumed magnanimously.

The discussion, moderated by Universal MD Devraj Sanyal, saw a panel which included – MTV Indies Music Marketing Head -Nikhil Udupa, OK Listen Co-founder- Vijay Basrur, Marketing Director- Chinmayee Tripathi and Insync Founder and MD- Ratish Tagde.

The discussion involved rigorous and active dialogues between the panel members regarding each of these platforms’ efforts to ensure independent music is not only promoted but also competes with mainstream Bollywood music, or at least create an ecosystem that suits its growth.

While Tripathi believes that music does not sell, considering they only depend on ad-revenue methods, Basrur commented, “We are pro musicians and according to the numbers of our subscribers and sales on OK Listen, we believe music can be sold if it is the right platform.”

MTV Indies, which is currently the biggest platform for independent music in the form of visual content, approximately reaches more than six million households in a week in the country. With Pepsi as their sponsor, there is opportunity for indie artistes to promote themselves and their music. Udupa said, “Our aim is to create a presence online and through broadcast, influence people and reach out to them to support the independent scene, which is ‘cool’. There is a lot of good material that is put out by indie artistes and our job is to curate this material and put it out there for the audience to see.”

Insync, which caters to possibly the most niche genre of music in the country presently, shies away from the mainstream and solely endaevours to promote classical music. Tagde stated, “We have invested three million US dollars in Insync, but a major problem we face as an initiative, is that classical music is very niche. Even though MTV Indies, OK Listen and the other platforms can afford to promote themselves to millions of households, it is not advisable for us to invest that kind of commission activity for classical music.”

The panel also talked about the possibility of the different organisations, instead of competing, working together towards the same goal, that is, building independent music. Tripathi said, “I do not think there is competition between these platforms because the entire platform itself, is very niche and there is no space for competition yet. We are not even working together but, hopefully, we all will in the future.”

Basrur added, “Indie is the future, but investors do not see that. They need scale and some solid proof that it is growing and putting out material that is good enough to compete with Bollywood music.” OK Listen has around 75,00 subscribers who buy digital music from the website.

Tripathi and Tagde revealed that both Songdew and Insync will be tapping into mobile revenue opportunities by introducing mobile applications for users to easily access music they promote.

The session gave insights of the current independent music scene in the country and where it stands. It concluded with two musicians in the audience – Vivek Rajgopalan and Anuradha Pal offering their opinions on how even though platforms are promoting artistes post production, there is little or no help in trying to create their music during production. Rajgopalan added, “There is a lot of content and gathering of material but, there is no focus. Artistes do not know what is going to happen and we have to all strive to see that the product (music) does not die and musicians stay alive.”