Image credit: Naveed Ahmed
How is music developing in India, how are digital platforms used and where does the short video fit?
A recent conference bringing together bigwigs of the Indian music industry with executives, labels, artists and other prominent figures from 14 regional music industries in India and beyond. At the fifth All About Music fair, experts and industry figures discussed the current state of the Indian music industry and its direction. We’ve summarized some of the key points that Music Ally went into in more detail here.
Digital music consumption on the rise in India
India has been named by many as one of the most important growing markets for digital music as the country increasingly embraces streaming services and short video applications. The country is renowned for its extensive use of smartphones and India’s love of music is catching up with the availability of unlimited tracks through digital services like streaming platforms and download stores.
The pandemic has led to even faster adoption of digital services where there was already a rapid increase of younger generations in streaming services and entertainment applications. As mentioned at the talk by Vikram Mehra, President of Indian Music Industry and Managing Director of Saregama, older generations have started to catch up with trends and consume more music content as well as video content in short and long format. .
While Indian audiences in their 50s, 60s and 60s were “very worried about embracing digital technology” before, it appears the pandemic has given rise to the exploration of new media. Mehra said: “The positive change that has taken place in the elderly who have joined the digital train is irreversible change,” adding that this is “great news, because remember, all the things that go wrong filmed for us, the concerts do not occur, the theaters do not open, the public performance not taking place, are all reversible.
As the music grows, it seems that there is a growing interest in original Indian music, with a particular love for film music, but traditional folk music and Indian pop music are on the rise. booming. Warner Music India Managing Director Jay Mehta says: “At present, international music contributes about 13% of global audio music consumption. In the last three years the contribution in percentage terms has decreased, but in terms of volume it has only increased. “
The popularity of short video and its problems
The adoption of new technologies is not limited to an increase in the use of music platforms, but particularly of short-lived video applications. In fact, a recent study showed that 60% of those surveyed by IFPI had used an abbreviated video app in the past year. The country loves the format, being one of the biggest users of TikTok before the app was banned. Interestingly, this ban only increased the use of short videos, but with a brief drop as users took to Triller, Instagram Reels, and other alternative short video platforms. .
Unfortunately there seems to be a devaluation of music with the proliferation of short video apps. With the popularity of these apps and their inherent use of music in user-created videos, there has been a tendency to place full weight on one track in a short sample rather than making full songs with so many care and attention for the entire room.
Rapper and singer Haryanvi KD Desi Rock said, “Before, artists wanted their whole song to be really good, from start to finish. If a song was good, it would become popular through word of mouth. Now there is only one promotion medium, mostly Reels. Since then, every artist, whether a writer or a singer, has thought, “Fifteen to twenty seconds of my song should be good, I don’t need anything else.” If the song is featured on Reels, it’ll be fine on YouTube. ‘
“There are a lot of songs that are huge on Reels but when you watch them on YouTube there is no life in the rest of the song.” Speaking of YouTube, paying for views has become common practice among artists in India, says Anand Chabria, partner of regional language label Anand Audio. He reveals: “It’s like an open secret. Everyone knows it. If a song is good, what’s wrong with giving it a little push?
“For example, ‘Pogaru’ from [the 2020 film] Karabuu, who was actually promoted. About seven or eight million views have been shown on YouTube. Today, that song has 256 million views. Can’t spend 256 million views, right? But that initial push was necessary. Only the first seven-eight million views have been paid. Once YouTube retrieved it, other apps retrieved it and automatically the retention period increased.
There is also huge potential in the short video to be used for the promotion of music, which has been exploited all over the world. This is something that Soumyajit Modak, Music Director of MX Takatak, believes Indian artists do not take full advantage of. He claims that they don’t think of themselves beyond distribution platforms, just downloading music to them instead of participating in it themselves.
Modak said, “Music makers are looking for short video platforms with a very limited focus. They just watch it [for] release music and help non-musical creators recover and make it [it] viral. What they don’t understand is that they can become really crazy creators themselves.
“[Like, for] example, Yashraj Mukhate. Last year he made a video and today he has gone from musician to music maker. It’s a case study for all young musicians [who] need to do much, much more with their music. By distributing [it], how do you become this star? [If your music is] in the background you are like a playback singer. In the end, if it’s Shah Rukh Khan [performing] to your song, Shah Rukh Khan becomes famous.
Connect all of India
While India is a huge newcomer to the digital platform arena as the country massively uses smartphones and connects to the internet, the question arises of going beyond the big cities. As they become a well-connected country, more distant towns and cities, even remote towns, are lagging behind in terms of online infrastructure and this can make it difficult to connect or access usable internet speeds.
Connecting to digital services is more difficult for people in remote towns and villages. As digital access spreads across India and even the most remote cities are connected, this will undoubtedly lead to increased music consumption further afield. However, it is difficult to bring these areas to the same level as more developed hubs. All About Music curator Roshan Abbas said: “Sometimes we look at this democratization [of access in India] from a very urban angle.
This can cause difficulties for Indian artists who are less urban when it comes to promoting their music online. With the proliferation of social apps like Instagram and TikTok used to connect artists with fans as well as the power of live broadcasts, a lack of internet connection can make or break an Indian artist’s chances of being heard and played. ‘to have an impact.
Other difficulties encountered by Indian artists and their music industry
Live broadcasting is made even more difficult by the problems of obtaining rights from Indian labels. Paytm Insider Live Entertainment Business Director Varun Khare said, “The structure is so different from the West in India because the publishers are the labels.” He mentioned the difficulty they encountered during an advertising campaign in collaboration with Jim Beam. They worked with artists to cover their favorite songs for the campaign, but ultimately had to settle for the artists they could license rather than have a free choice. He adds: “In a few cases, we went back to the artist to say, ‘Sorry, this is not your favorite artist. [but] we have the rights for this artist ‘.
Then there is the glaring lack of a live music industry in India. While it is true that the majority of music consumption is not in popular music but in film music (i.e., theatrical and other performances are in high demand), it exists without any doubtless a thirst for live performances in India, it is just too far away in the minority to really provide the facilities.
Scooter Braun spoke about the difficulty of adding India to their tour list, saying, “Here’s what’s interesting about India; It is this massive population that loves, loves, loves entertainment and music. I never understood why you are able to create studios and Bollywood and everything, but there aren’t enough big venues. It’s very difficult to properly run a world superstar that you can see on stream, who deserves to be there a lot more.
“The infrastructure is not configured correctly every time we come. It’s not like there isn’t enough wealth to do it. I’m waiting to see when that happens because I think you’ll see the global music market come in a very different way when live is easier to do.
To get your music on the biggest apps like TikTok and Instagram Reels and streaming services like Spotify, JioSaavn, YouTube Music and many more, go to RouteNote and download your tracks for free.