| 19 Apr 2024
Sony Music plans to continue pushing artists like Badshah into mainstream

The music of films like ‘Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania’, ‘Hasee Toh Phasee’, ‘Ungli’ and ‘Citylights’ among others, have enjoyed good traction across platforms. But for Sony Music, it was ‘Citylights’ which brought them appreciation as the film’s music was appreciated at various award functions. Sony Music claims that it is the innovation in marketing which helped the music of the film to explode.

Marketing director of Sony Music, Sanujeet Bhujabal, who holds close connection with production houses to acquire content and talent, talks about ‘Citylights’. Bhujabal speaks to’s Jescilia Karayamparambil about the labels role in helping rapper- Badshah grow from regional artist to a Bollywood singer.

What are the innovations Sony Music did with Citylights?

We have a long standing relationship with Vishesh Films since the last ten years. The film did not feature big stars, but we realised the power of music and decided to explore it.

Then, we picked up one song (with limitation to visuals) which was composed by Jeet Gannguli and sung by Arijit Singh. We incorporated Arijit in the creative because he has a huge fan following. It was a big leap of faith for us because usually film music videos feature the actors of the film. This was promoted across visual platforms. That little push from our side about starring a singer in the music video rather than a film star, worked very well for us.

It is a small film but has a wonderful art form present in it. The tracks had many meaningful lyrics and had the right mix of music. The film got critical reviews and that helped increase the song’s life cycle. It did well for CRBT, streaming and other digital platforms. With the plethora of awards the track got, it will get another life cycle. I strongly believe the ‘Citylights’ track will continue to have a long shell life.

What has Sony done to push the tracks ahead?

We have created a new digital product called ‘Muskurane Ki Wajah’, which contains all the best songs by Arijit Singh that we own. It is doing well across all platforms.

Tell us more about the upcoming projects by Vishesh Film

We are working on the film ‘Mr X’ starring Emraan Hashmi, and are chalking out plans to create new products and exploit opportunities available with the music as a build-up to the film. Emraan Hashmi has been known for acting in films that had good music and our objective is to use that strength. The first song ‘Tu Jo Hain’ sung by Ankit Tiwari, featuring ?Emraan Hashmi and Amyra Dastur will be the first track from the film that will be released. We will be working closely with Ankit for ‘Mr X’.

Once we are done with ‘Mr X’, we will start promotions for the music of the films ‘Bombay Velvet and ‘Hamari Adhuri Kahani’.

How is it promoting Indie artistes?

The artiste market is extremely different in the indie space. You buy rights and are in control of the destiny. With these artists you can control the making of the song. We had signed Punjabi rapper Badshah as an exclusive Sony Music artiste for last three years. He is a big phenomenon in the music industry today. He got a big break in the film ‘Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania’ with the track ‘Saturday Saturday’ which was a big hit. In the end, he got a bigger platform like Bollywood.

There are many talents and there are great opportunities to leverage these talents.

Does that also mean indie artistes like Brodha V will be pushed into Bollywood?

No, it does not mean that all the talents we sign will go to Bollywood. It depends on the artist and whether the content coming from them can crossover to a national audience. We have partnerships with many production houses and as a regular practice we present new songs. If there is an interest level, there is engagement and it extends the life cycle of the artist. It is a huge move in an artist’s career from being in the indie space to working on film projects. 

Which new Indie artistes is Sony Music signing?

There will be few artistes that Sony Music will sign. As of now, we are pushing Badshah on various platforms. These artistes could be mainstream or regional.

Like every year, we plan to sign 8 to 10 artistes and help them create their own material.

Does the Bollywood model work for regional film music?

Both Bollywood and the regional film industry are learning from each other.

What we have learnt is that there is huge engagement among Tamil fans as compared to other industries. The engagement of the fans with the actor and their activity on social networking sites is high. The fans are very dedicated to the actor, and we use the actors fan base to popularise the tracks. This is one thing that the music industry should learn and replicate.

Which regional space has been special for Sony Music?

We have been actively engaged in the Punjabi market in the last few years. It is not a film soundtrack market. There are artistes bigger than the film market, which is a good thing. There are many shows which act as a vehicle to popularise artistes. There are a lot of talents in Punjab and the surrounding region. The other good thing is that the Punjabi repertoire gravitates to Bollywood, which happened in the case of Badshah. Our aim is to grow and remain in the regional space that we are present in for a long time.