Music streaming

Why Darbu, Mizoram’s First Music Streaming App, Is Focused On Musicians

It all started one summer day in 2014 with a conversation between two friends in the Chhinga Veng locality of Aizawl. Eight years later, the same house in Chhinga Veng is where the team behind Darbu, Mizoram’s first music streaming app, hold their meetings and plan their upcoming projects.

“We wanted to create a platform for musicians. We were talking about the lack of platforms for singers and musicians. There was no app or website at Mizoram where artists could sell music. Before, people bought songs on CDs and cassettes. Now all singers have is YouTube. And with Mizoram’s small population, few artists accumulate enough views to earn a living from their profession,” said Lalrinnunga, the CEO of Darbu. IsMojo.

But back to 2014 for now. While the two friends had an encouraging discussion, they had their doubts and skepticism. There were many questions on their minds such as the unavailability of quick payment platforms such as Google Pay, which was not as popular in 2014. Although the conversation was encouraging, they made a decision rather difficult: the timing just wasn’t right. .

Then came 2020. The world was facing lockdown. People from all professions have suffered from the pandemic, including the music industry. As people searched for alternative ways to support their art, app-based movie streaming platforms were introduced to Mizoram. This encouraged the friends to return to their dream project.

Darbu’s first official team meeting was held towards the end of 2020 via Zoom, perhaps the most famous pandemic-promoted platform. The team initially consisted of three friends with a common love for music, who were later joined by four technical experts. They held over twenty meetings to discuss how they were going to get started. After discussing the nature of the app they were going to introduce, around the beginning of January 2022, they started developing the app, and “Darbu” was launched on May 20, 2022.

“We are not looking to / take advantage. We love music and we do it for music,” Lalrinnunga said. A Blues fan, he started a band in college and continues to hang out with his favorite tunes in his spare time. He works as a project coordinator at the Entrepreneurship Development Center in Mizoram.

“Professional singers are now hesitant to even produce albums due to the lack of profit-generating platforms and options, and this hurts us as music fans. Mizoram artists derive little profit from singing in live and stream their songs on YouTube. Only about 10% of our artists accumulate enough views to profit from their YouTube videos. Our goal is to create an additional platform for them without disrupting the path they are already on.” , did he declare.

The founders of Darbu not only plan to introduce new and trendy music to the current generation, but they are also undertaking projects to remaster old and classic Mizo tunes, which were released before digital platforms hit. enters the game.

Their love for the history of Mizoram is also visible in their name: Darbu refers to a Mizo musical instrument consisting of three brass gongs used in traditional dances. The music streaming app has one purpose and one goal: to help singers earn their due. In the app, listeners can purchase a song for Rs 15 and an album for Rs 150. The songs released must, however, be Darbu exclusive releases. While an artist would get around Rs 30,000 for a million views on Instagram, the artist could sell his album on Darbu and earn the same if 200 people buy the album.

This approach aimed at ensuring a fair appreciation of musicians has not gone unnoticed by young and old musicians. C Dinthanga is a magazine editor and songwriter with over 100 songs to his name. He sings 80s tunes and believes in Darbu’s potential, saying, “I’ve been dreaming of something like this for a long time, but I never thought it would become a possibility. The era of cassette tapes passed us, then the time of record players passed us, now songs are simply shared via USB stick. I find it wonderful that a meaningful initiative has been taken. It will be a new chapter for artists. Even I contributed some songs, and now I will have an income from those songs. We are talking about YouTube and other platforms, but Darbu will be able to take an initiative more systematically.

“It will be a platform that can be shared and accessed by Mizos around the world, it is a step forward for us as the people of the state. People who listen to Mizo songs from any part of the world can listen through Darbu. I wish this type of platform had been introduced earlier. But now my dream has come true,” he added.

When asked if he thought the era of cassette tapes or the era of technology like Darbu would be more influential, Dinthanga replied IsMojo“I think it will depend on the song. If there is a very good song released exclusively through Darbu, it will be influential and profitable for the singer. Darbu will be a great blessing for the singers.

Around 90% of the revenue will go to artists, while 10% will go to app makers. “Initially, we planned to ensure 100% profit for the artists but we realized that we would need 10% minimum to support ourselves. We do not focus on the profits, we focus on the artist said Lalrinnunga.

The app will also feature artist merchandise like keychains, mugs, and t-shirts for sale. Currently, Darbu has a collection of approximately 1412 tracks from over 275 Mizo artists. Three exclusive albums and one single have been released through the app.

“We have a lot more users than expected, artists are also showing interest in the app and contacting us,” the founders said.

One of the co-founders, who is also the creative manager, William Lalrindika is, like Lalrinnunga, a music enthusiast. “I started listening to songs around the age of twelve, and I haven’t stopped. I started listening to songs that our uncles used to listen to like Guns and Roses, and then I started to develop my taste for music in different genres. Since I can remember, I listen to music about 4-5 hours a day. It’s my fuel and it gives me a sense of peace and purpose,” he said. he declares. IsMojo.

“Our shared love for music has gone a long way in our coordinated efforts and enthusiasm for creating this app. It is our common passion that has been our strongest motivation. That we as friends are working together on this project is already a huge success for us,” the founding friends said.

Rpa Ralte, a famous singer, songwriter and music producer from Mizoram who produced the majority of the top songs of the last year, said about the app, “If this app is accepted as expected, it will be the one of the biggest progressive milestones for the Mizo artist. It will go down in history. But if it doesn’t go as planned, the hype can die down over time.

He also commented on how Darbu will give new life to artists, saying, “I have a lot of hope in Darbu. Nowadays, technology is developing at a rapid pace and artists have to find ways to earn their hard work through these technologies. I am very happy to see that there are now ways for artist Mizo to earn a living through music. Ever since we entered the digital age and it became easy to share data in seconds across different devices, our artists have had no platform to earn a living. This is why artists have become disrespectful. Some people refer to artists as “famous people with no income”. It is true in some respects. Fame does not bring financial gain. But if there’s a platform to showcase and sell our work, people will know that we’re getting revenue, and that can instill respect for artists in people’s minds.

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