| 19 Apr 2024
We want to give opportunities to local independent artists to grow within the TuneCore/ Believe ecosystem says Heena Kriplani

MUMBAI: TuneCore South Asia head Heena Kriplani future plans for music artists in India at TuneCore. “We aim to build TuneCore to be the destination where artists can start, grow and manage their careers, while working to level the playing field for all independent artists”

She also expressed her thoughts on how music industry grew in the past 20 years, “I think the most important change is that the power is back with the artist”. 

Check the interview below: 

What are the future plans for music artists in India at TuneCore?

When we launched our India platform in July of 2020 the goal was to deliver a truly localised global resource that serviced Indian artists and focused on their specific needs. Happy to say that our unwavering focus has proved fruitful. We’ve grown exponentially and taken our artists with us. And they in turn, have taken us with them. Our successes and growth are closely linked. Our artists are a source of incredibly productive feedback and insights that we weigh, process and have productized.

Our focus stays the same, to help artists distribute their music to local and worldwide audiences. I don’t believe that will ever change. What might change is what that looks like. For instance – our earlier model was pay-as-you-go. And that worked perfectly for a long time. But with changing needs of the artists and many conversations with them we realised that a low annual fee Unlimited plan was the call of the day. We were quick to assess, act and productize. In 2022, introduced Unlimited pricing- An opportunity to make and distribute as much music as they want with no limits and total independence.

Last month, we achieved the milestone of $3 billion earned by artists (since the company was founded in 2006), reinforcing our status as the world’s highest paying distribution service for self-releasing artists.

We’re also big believers in nurturing local talent. That too will remain our focus. We’re keen to provide instruction, inform and educate artists on the many nuances and aspects of distribution, promotion, and all other facets of the music business. We’re keen to make the independent artist truly independent and that can only happen when they’re informed and able to plan their own careers.

We want to be partners to local independent artists as their first step into their music careers and give them the opportunity to grow within the TuneCore/ Believe ecosystem.

Would you like to share a few success stories of artists who have been associated with TuneCore?

In December of 2022 we achieved the milestone of $3 billion earned by artists since the company was founded in 2006. Artists using our platform have cumulatively achieved 500 billion plus streams and 700 million plus downloads to date. Our mission is to support self-releasing independent artists and provide them with the tools to grow their careers independently. This applies to every artist across the world, but for me – it’s especially true for the Indian artist. We want music creators to know that TuneCore is where you go to make money

India is a key market for TuneCore and we’ve already seen good things happen. 2 examples; let’s look at Ritviz and Anuv Jain. Ritviz retains the distinction of being the most-streamed independent artist in India and has crossed 200 million streams. Anuv Jain has more than 500K subscribers on YouTube and more than 10 lakh listeners on Spotify.

By offering a wide array of resources to aid music creators at all stages of their careers, TuneCore has created a platform where artists receive not just world-class distribution services, but a support structure for long-term career growth. 

The Global Music Report (GMR), published by the IFPI states that the nation’s recorded music market grew by 20.3% to $219 million or approximately Rs 1,620 crore and we held our place as the 17th largest market in the world. The IMI report shows that the lion’s share of this growth - 86.9% - came from streaming.

We’re determined to do our bit to keep this pace going by making sure that we’re delivering music and making this a viable source of income for our artists.

In your experience, how has the music industry grown in the past 20 years?

I think the most important change is that the power is back with the artist. The importance of and dependence on gatekeepers and middlemen is now limited. The internet and subsequent connectivity has been the obvious gamechanger. We’re no longer handicapped by access to and movement of the physical format. Fans in Naples, New York and Nashik can all access the same artist at the same time. We’ve also seen a melding of musical genres for 2 reasons mainly, one - the impact of new influences and exposure on the creator, and two - because artists are no longer restricted by boxes and label. You’re allowed to express yourself in the language, genre(s) and pace you want to. Lastly, the ability to interact with your fans. The power of Social Media is multi-layered. Our musical heroes used to be far-away, mystery shrouded, larger-than-life figures who we knew so little about. Now your favorite artist and bands are talking to you, sharing bits of their life and engaging with you. We went from the musician fan relationship being a one way discourse to a two or multi way conversation. To me, this is incredible and empowering.

Do you think individuals could make a career out of Music? What would you advise the younger generation/GenZ?

Yes! There has never been a better time. If you truly believe in your talent, you have something unique to say and you have the perseverance and staying power required, then you most definitely can have a career in music.

As far as advice goes – I believe It’s important to have a basic understanding of the business you’re in. I know that artists want to be artists, and while no one expects them to be project managers and marketeers – it is important that they grasp the fundamentals of the music business. And they don’t have to figure it all out alone. There are guides, blogs, support systems, industry experts, YouTube tutorials – all available for guidance and advice.

Also, artists should plan their release like they plan their music. Give it the same thought and care that they would the production of the song. Choose a distributor, set a release date, upload their music, set up artist profiles, pitch their music, set up socials and reach out to press. That’s the checklist in a nutshell.  

And lastly, I’m a firm believer in identifying concrete goals on the onset. As an artist, if you’re chasing an elusive ‘success’ you’ll never know when you’ve attained it. Keep objectives in mind – it could be the number of followers, number of streams, UGC content created, revenue earned, live shows played… any metric that works for you is good. This way you can define success and increase your reach by attaining tangible milestones and resetting the goal.

You are an advocate for Music Education and information. Is this still a focus and how does TuneCore plan to grow in this area?

We deliver information in various ways. Our one of a kind TuneCore Rewards program is based purely on education and artists can access masterclasses of several music related topics. We also have India specific artist advice on the site blog from industry experts like Mae Maryam Thomas, Amit Gurbaxani, Achilles Forler and Aishwarya Natarajan. We work with YouTube influencers to create language specific and language agnostic videos on various topics. We do many 1-2-1 mentor sessions, conduct workshops and panels for artists. We feature bite size, easily digestible advice pieces from DSP reps and artist managers on our IG page tunecore.Ind. We have a best in class customer support team who can answer questions that artists mails in their preferred language. We use social media as a means to share information. We’ve tied up with state governments run organizations and begun mass education for their artist community.

What we’ve learned is this. It isn’t enough just to impart information. It’s important to make sure that you’re delivering it in a way that it can be grasped and then used in the real world. In the future we want to get better at this, because there is always room for improvement.

We aim to build TuneCore to be the destination where artists can start, grow and manage their careers, while working to level the playing field for all independent artists.