The recently concluded first edition of Music Inc. saw top directors, executives, artists, influencers and musicians all coming together to start a new dialogue on the business side of Music and how we should take it ahead. One such interesting panel held on the first day of Music Inc. was ‘Music in CSR and Social Entrepreneurship’.  The panel was moderated by Nirmika Singh (Executive Editor at Rolling Stone India) and consisted a diverse group of panelists like Zila khan (Founder of Arre Siren), Samir Bangara (Co-Founder & M.D at Qyuki), Anurag Rao (Founder, CEO at Canvas Talent and Director at MARD initiative), Shameer Tandon (Entrepreneur, Music Composer and Curator), Shibani Kashyap (Singer) and Prajakta Koli (Youtuber- Mostly Sane, Creator for Change). 

The Panel started with an important discussion on ‘How music can be used as an innovative tool for not just social change but also sustainable change’. Samir Bangara spoke on sustainability and how to achieve it over a long run period. ‘The Dharavi Project’ (a Hip Hop Music and Dance school for underprivileged youth from Dharavi) was started by the Qyuki Foundation along with Universal Music who set up a trust for the kids to provide them with infrastructure so they can emerge with their talent.

Universal Music and us created a trust. That’s where the sustainability element came in. Now we run a school so we have done more offline than online for them. We have about 55 students. – Samir Bangara

Zila Khan also spoke on sustainable platforms and why she felt a need to start a festival comprising of women artists only. Addressing on that issue, Zila said that Women Artists are sidelined due to overwhelming representation of Male Artists and this has turned into a global issue. Back in India this representation of Women Artists is “embarrassingly small” compared to their male contemporaries. In order to bring a balance to this system and create more awareness about this dearth of Women Artists she started a festival comprising of Women Artists only.

The representation of women on stage for live music was embarrassingly small. It shouldn’t be the case where we need to have a festival like Arre Siren where we have “all women performers” for two days because that is embarrassing too but had to just to balance it out. – Zila Khan

Shibani Kashyap spoke on the issue of social media overdrive and creating an awareness about using social media in a responsible way. She has also released a track called ‘Wanna Be Free’ which is on social media addiction. Sitting right besides her was Social Media star and Youtuber Prajakta Koli aka Mostly Sane who uses social media for a living. Prajakta talked about using social media constructively and how she decided to make an impact after her viewers started writing to her about their life problems like body shaming and depression.

A lot more men and boys reached out to me. I guess women communicate with each other but men don’t go to other men and say “Oh no she said i’m fat, I have love handles” but I also do have a 46:54 ratio of more men on my YouTube. – Prajakta Kohli

Prajakta is the Indian Ambassador for Youtube’s Creator for Change Programme a global initiative where creators create videos on social causes to spread awareness and to make a positive impact on the world. Check out her video on body shaming called ‘Shameless’ below. (Continue Reading below video)

Shameer Tandon spoke on “Social Revolution for Invisible Communities” and the need to start a 6 pack band along with Y-Films comprising of Transgender community in its first year which also won the prestigious Cannes Lions Grand Prix award in 2016. The whole thought process behind it was to give the community a pedestal they deserve and to make heroes of them after years and years of society looking down on them. Shameer also started 6 pack Band 2.0 with children with special needs like autism and other mental disabilities who have a great drive for music.

We didn’t know that a Unilever brand like Brooke Bond would come on board, we were doing this because we believed in it. We never pitched it. It was a very (sic.) radical thinking Brand Manager at Brooke Bond to actually put their money behind this project and we were thrilled!

Unfortunately in India we didn’t see much traction on media. We realized that the impact that it was creating overseas was larger than it did where it was actually most required, which was here. – Shammer Tandon

The discussion moved on to having the right intent and the need to bring in sincerity in Corporate Social Responsibility. Niharika rightly pointed out that “When it is sincere it is most effective”. Anurag Rao joined in the conversation talking about the ‘Men Against Rape and Discrimination’ initiative he started with Farhan Akhtar back in 2012 and how the power of an influencer can help to spread a social message to a large group of people while entertaining them and bringing in a positive mindset towards Indian men.

The panel ended with last one liners from each panelists. Zila Khan encouraged more participation of women in digital, recording and festival spaces and also to use your personal connections for the betterment of others. Shibani pointed out that “Artists are the most earnest activists”  and nothing speaks more powerfully than music itself. Prajakta talked about the importance of having conversations and that being the need of the hour. Samir Bangara spoke about making business personal and straight from the heart. Shameer Tandon discussed the importance of putting extra effort, love and care for people with special needs. Anurag Rao spoke on collaboration between short term impacters and long term impacters in order to sustain and create a viable CSR project.

We are making business personal. We are doing it from the heart. Digital is the biggest sphere that we can open up this entire universe of making business personal and along the way we will be bringing out social change and impact – Samir Bangara


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