Anurag Rao, CEO, Canvas Talent Shares Plans For FY18-19!

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 A Talent Management Firm With An Edge, Canvas Talent!

In 2006, Under the leadership of Anurag Rao, Canvas Talent was created to provide 360 entertainment solutions for clients. Canvas Talent represents some of the talent in India, comprising of film actors, musicians, music acts, artists and performers making it an exciting roster for any events success. They have an extremely successful history within the industry, formed multiple strategic alliances for brands and created multiple unique intellectual properties. Canvas Talent has worked with an array of television networks, media houses, brands and helped them bring their ideas to fruition.

Who Is Anurag Rao?

We can say, Anurag Rao, CEO, Canvas Talent is among the few Artist & repertoire professionals in India. He has been in the entertainment industry close to two decades. During this period, he worked at Groove (India’s first, major record store), MTV (Director, Talent & Artist Relations) and Big FM (National Head – Talent and Film Marketing). During his stint at MTV Asia, Rao conceptualized and played a pivotal role in designing and programming the MTV Asia Awards, the MTV Immies and the MTV Style Awards where he’s also helped feature many Indian music compositions. He’s worked with some extremely talented artists including the likes of Joe Satriani, Trilok Gurtu, Baz Luhrmann, AKON, Pussy Cat Dolls amongst many others.


In the words of Rao himself, let’s take you through the learnings of Canvas Talent from the financial year 2017-18, and the year we all look forward to!

Anurag Rao, In An Exclusive Interview With Shared An Overview Of 2017-18 from his perspective, “There were a couple of radical things that happened in the industry and it is my belief that each of them will reap benefits for the music business and especially the Artist based business eco-system, Said Rao.

–        GST and Demonetisation: this brings more transparency and even playing field with a direct impact on ticket-buying audiences, international artist touring India and declining trend on outright sponsorship model for live concerts.

–        Ticketing and Artist Management:  Audiences are now willing to pay for premium experiences, which are resulting in deeper artist-fan engagement and we are witnessing a shift in the Artist economy i.e. willingness to work on revenue sharing models via ticketing revenues.

–        Video and Platforms: the growing trend of data adoption, live streaming, and rollout of multiple global/local platforms is leading to focused video content, original storytelling and new avenues for creativity. Be it Netflix, Amazon, Gaana, Saavn, Apple or MTV, Book My Show, Insider etc. there is a clear focus on creator and original content.

–        Artist First: With the initial adoption of on-boarding digital audiences, payment wallets integration, digitized libraries etc. business will not be focused on curation, personalization and unbundled content assets. This is good for the overall artist community as it allows to invest in content and take to market in a quick time span.

–        Collecting Societies: With the formation of new IPRS, PDL and such industry-wide reboot, the indie industry is bound to rise alongside the regionalization of content.”

Loudest: What do you see changing the industry in this new year?

        Anurag Rao:   “For our A & R focused business, we see four things will affect our approach towards growth in the new year :

1.     IPR: The artists are getting educated about their rights and responsibilities each growing day. This brings a clear focus on the underline works/publishing business and we see this building a great revenue stream for the talent through performance royalties, synchronization, re-creation of works and new avenues in licensing eg. Imaging, Merchandising, Gaming, Podcasting, Blogging etc. Gig city was a classic example of revenue monetising record label content for the artists.

2.     Artist based Business Models: More than ever the artist will focus on going directly to their fans and will build their own unique identities through a start-up ecosystem. The value of equity will start to emerge alongside the transactional revenue model of royalties.

3.     Live Touring and Global Expansion: digital migration of audiences, millennials, ease of using technology with content is going to flourish in expanding the footprint of the artist performances in a global market. For the talent and IPR we represent, our key performance will happen in India, US, and UK. These markets are where our real fans exist and we are witnessing need of curated local experiences  coming through and are hopeful to double our international portfolio in 24 Months

4.     Collaborations: Cross-border collaborations with music producers and songwriters, is helping change the existing dynamic of soundscaping in India. This will expand audiences both ways and bring in better quality production and increase the scope of collaboration finding its way into mainstream broadcast and digital distribution mechanisms leading to the discovery of new music and acts.

Loudest: What’s in store for 2018, when it comes to music & entertainment business? 

Anurag Rao: A large part of the traditional industry will reboot, publishing will emerge as a key sector, the focus will come back to the artist based eco-system, the regional industry will scale and technology will enable online-offline experiences.

Loudest: What are some new initiatives which Canvas Talent is taking up this new year? 

Anurag Rao: 1.Gig City Season 3 will come back after achieving phenomenal numbers on listenership and digital audience engagements, which are upwards of 6BN so far…

2. MARD Lalkar Concert will go bigger this year and build on the successful talent roster, social messaging with music and Facebook partnership that generated 4.5MN reach in 2017. We will also be working on smaller MARD events engaging audiences and Messaging with artists an content in smaller cities and towns.

3. Repertoire Expansion will happen with the representation of more producers and writers on our roster, including unveiling our works which are being collaborated with international musicians/producers and publishers

4. International Touring is on the rise with our  IP’s that we represent at this point in time, namely Rishi Kapoor show (Khullam Khulla) Javed Akhtar (Untold Stories from movies), Shankar (Storyteller and My country MY music), Monica Dogra & Shibani Dandekar Duo. apart from Ayushmann Bhava and Farhan Live.

5. Farhan Live will introduce new innovative ways of engaging audiences, CSR, brands, and communication through technology partnerships. We have just started our Q1 tour and we have over 20 show until Feb already. 

6. Booking & Brand Solutions– We are Aligning our creative forces with Major brands, advertisers and broadcasters to provide experiential content and entertainment through music, talent, and creativity across various sectors. 

On a closing note, we took back great learnings and insights from our conversation with Anurag Rao. A BIG insight here is SYNC is going to be big, A&R is going to always stay relevant, publishing will be big in the coming time, and yes, music with a social cause there is no other like “MARD” initiative.

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