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Music Inc. 2019: How To Grow Your Business

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It was a day of discussion on music. Panellists at the Music Inc. 2019 spoke on an array of topics and finally, it was down to the business of business. 

Moderated by Manav Dhanda, CEO, SAB Group, a panel comprising of, Manda Thakur, COO, Times Music, Shreyas Srinivasan, CEO, Insider.in  and Rajiv Indimath, EIR, Mumbai Angels held a discussion on – “How to grow your business in the Music Industry”

The discussion opened on a pertinent note – “Who is the real big daddy of the music business, is it the artist, the label or the platform?

To which panellist Mandar Thakur replied, “It will always be the artist, let there be no doubt about that. In any business or any form of creation, the creator takes first place.”

But Shreyas believes it’s cyclical, “When you are young it is the platform but once the artist grows it’s probably the manager or the business around you. When you are grown up then it is the artist.”

According to Rajiv Indimath, “It is situational leadership. It starts with the artist but that needs to be monetized. That’s where the business value gets embedded in the creative value. “

On comparing business to what it was five years back, Rajiv said, “It has evolved from being one way to two ways. There has been a shift of power from the creator to the user.”

For Shreyas, “About ten years back there was only one way to be cool- by being in a rock band. Today you could be cool by being a gamer, comedian etc. there is a larger cultural evolution where people have access to a lot more forms of entertainment.

Mandar, on the other hand, believes that the biggest change has been the end of the dominance of Bollywood over music, “The music industry has emerged from the shadow of the film industry. Also in the last 3 years there has been a 20% year on year growth and that means we have a standalone industry, the independent music sector has stood up on its own and consumption , led by Jio, has gone up to such a level that 3 out of the top 5 artists on YouTube are Indian artists. The line between a user and creator is fast diminishing“

Manav then asked the three panellists what they felt about how a creator can make an impact as an artist and also be an entrepreneur.

According to Rajiv, an artist and a business team needed to create an understanding between themselves in order to succeed. However, Srinivasan had a contrarian view –“if you want to be an artist, that gets paid, then you need to understand the business as well.”

The moderator further asked the panellists to compare the Indian Music market from the evolved western global market – to which Mandar said, “The West is an artist-driven economy – whereas in India the music industry had pretty much started off as traders and that is precisely why the Indian industry is lagging behind. But with the emergence of independent music and technology, we have seen a change. I believe in the coming years we won’t look very different from the western world. According to Rajiv, India needed music accelerators models like that in the US.

Wrapping up Srinivasan shared the mistakes from his experience in the music industry, “I’ve always overestimated what one can do in a year and underestimated what you can do in ten.”

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