2018 has been an eventful year for the music industry in India and we have noticed some trends making headlines and for good measure.
As the Indian music industry grows to become a behemoth with revenues growing from Rs 570.7 crore in 2016 to Rs 725.6 crore in 2017, these phenomena are paving the way to create a unique standpoint for the businesses.
Punjab became the forefront state to produce non-film music
The reality is that Punjab’s music industry has a hold on the country’s listeners like never before. Punjab listens to today what will be viral in India tomorrow. According to an ET report, in Mohali, 20 songs are written, composed, recorded and released every day, by some reckoning. There are some 400 registered labels, with some 20 leading the pack. At approximately Rs 700 crore (including revenue from songs and live-events), it is almost five times the size of the Telugu music industry, the second-largest market in the category.
The rise of Indian hip-hop
Badshah’s hit non-Bollywood single ‘Mercy’ and his Major Lazer collaboration with ‘I Wanna Be Free’, as well as Ranveer Singh’s rapper tribulations garnered the spotlight this year, but it was the hip-hop underground that produced some of the year’s most exciting music. ‘Gully’ rap star Divine topped the charts with his single ‘Farak’ and made a Bollywood debut with the Nucleya collab ‘Paintra’. New Delhi rapper Prabh Deep released one of the best albums of the year called Class-Sikh while Naezy toured the UK. Artistes like Swadesi, Khasi Bloodz, Enkore, Kru172 and Seedhe Maut released music and took center- stage in clubs and festival stages.
The streaming success
Coupled with falling data rates, the rise of mobile is bringing over 60 million people in India onto streaming services every month. According to a report, KPMG estimates that the Indian recorded music business will reach $300 million in annual revenue in 2019. With companies like Gaana, Saavn, JioMusic and now Spotify in the near future, the streaming listener is bound to be spoilt for choice.
Crowdfunding and self-release of albums by artists
Outside of the Bollywood ecosystem, there are only a handful of online tools for emerging artists to self-release and interact with their fans to create an ecosystem. Saavn has its own A&R team in New York City and collaborates with independent artists on marketing campaigns through its Artist Originals program; while Hungama, its competitor, runs a similar initiative called Artist Aloud. Crowdfunding site Wishberry and Ketto have become a known option for creative entrepreneurs in India, including but not limited to just musicians. Artists like Tejas Menon crowdfunded their album through Wishberry which takes 20% cut from the total amount collected.
The rise of Music festivals and concert series
Festivals have been coming up across the country, but the scene is still less than a decade in the making, and may already be facing saturation from different genres. Local promoter and management company Only Much Louder co-organizes EDC India and organizes the Bacardi NH7 Weekender, while Road to Ultra was recently stopped in Mumbai and Delhi. Sofar Sounds, a VC-backed music events startup headquartered in London, UK operates in 12 cities in India and has played a substantial role in putting independent Indian artists on the digital map while being a volunteer-based organization in the country, depending on contributions from its supporters. There are more examples that are promoting independent music as an alternate form of entertainment; the more the merrier!