| 20 May 2024
We look forward to spending more time in different markets and interests: Pratiksha Rao, Twitter

Social media platforms possess an unparalleled power of spreading the content to places neither the mainstream media nor word-of-mouth does, with such sheer effect in short time. Twitter, one of the leading social media giants, acknowledged the very fact and has indulged in ensuring its users' content can be accessed from remote places where internet has just made its way into the households.

A few weeks ago, through a joint initiative between Rolling Stone India and Twitter India, a similar example was witnessed live during #RollingWith’s second episode featuring the emerging rappers from India. The example appeared in the form of a fan from a remote rural area of Bihar who asked the rappers a genuine question through Twitter. To everyone’s delight, the incident proved how rap has grown lately, and the role social media has played in its journey. But that stands true for genres beyond rap too.

Social media giant ‘Twitter’ in association with Rolling Stone India recently launched LIVE engagement program #RollingWith, for artists from the independent scene and their fans. Looking at the content and the response, the initiative seems to bore fruits and to know more about the future plans of Twitter music, we got in touch with Pratiksha Rao, Head-Media Partnerships, South East Asia at Twitter. #RollingWith is a bi-monthly curated initiative that brings relevant musicians to Twitter’s Blue Room (a room set for small gatherings focusing on conversations, music and Q&As) that kick-started with UK-based boyband The Vamps. sat down with Rao after the third effort under the initiative that featured Delhi-based songwriter Prateek Kuhad, and Rao and her team organised an intimate get-together of journalists and Kuhad’s fans in Twitter’s Mumbai office.

On being asked about their development in Asia, Rao mentioned about the different opportunities explored in different parts of Asia. “In Singpore, we hosted a concert for 200 people with an extensive one month planned activity, but nothing like #RollingWith. This concept is our first attempt and if it goes well, we may expand and try new possibilities.”

Talking about #RollingWith, she mentioned that the ideation and curation for this creation is handled by Rolling stone. She further added that “Every artist has a different audience and so we did not set up any benchmark. We’re doing it for the first time. We make sure artists have a lot to talk about and have a lot to discuss. This is a great way for independent musicians to interact with the audience, an approach to show the ‘interactive’ side of their lives.”

But how curious is Twitter to expand beyond the independent scene? Are they creating an engagement opportunity for artists from other genres and their fans? Twitter worked with the likes of Rahmans and other established artistes of the country where the respective gigs have been Periscope’d live. The practice also continued with independent artistes who have used the platform to crowdsource their lyrics to the next single, and even attemped collaboration and remixes. One such fine example is the conversation that was recorded live between Daler Mehndi and Deadmau5 during the producer’s India visit.

Rao understands the fact that the existing team would rather focus on efforts like #RollingWith than execute large-scale live initiatives on its own considering the resources as a necessary mean to step into the live music front. Twitter India has also acknowledged the huge following some of the artistes from the non-metropolitan cities representing non-mainstream genres posses and does not rule out the possibility of working with these musicians on a similar effort. Observing the loyal and ever-growing popularity of musicians from the South and Punjab on Twitter, Rao accepts there’s a lot of ground to cover and several similar efforts need to be explored.