The Radio industry is moving from a Bollywood Driven Industry to An Artist Driven Economy : Nisha Narayanan

‘Indie Hain Hum’ the soon to be aired show on Red Indie, an Independent music platform launched by 93.5 Red FM is all set to catch the pulse of the youth this season, as the channel revolutionizes the radio content programming scene. Explore what the show has in store with Singer-Songwriter Darshan Raval anchoring it, in an interesting conversation with Nisha Narayanan COO & Director Red FM  & Magic FM, who talks about the idea behind the channel’s new content programming, it’s growth plans with Loudest.in.

Narayanan began the conversation by bringing light on the  background behind the launch of the show saying, “Over the years Radio has been blamed to play a lot of Bollywood Music, looking at this scenario Red FM launched couple of IPs like Red Bandstand across the country, in different market places, to do 100 of them during last year. Also, we dwelled in couple of shows which was largely independent music, one being ‘Lal Pari Mastani’ with Sona Mahapatra and other one with Badshah called’ Mera Naam Badshah’, and we received tremendous response as far as Indie music is concerned.

“So, couple of weeks back we launched this sub brand of Red FM called as ‘Red Indies’ which is a platform which supports independent music wherein we will do various things across the year, across the mediums be it digital, onground and of course on the Radio. The idea is to give firstly, the independent artist a mass media platform and secondly, we give listeners a chance to explore new music, adds Narayanan.

‘Indie Hain Hum’  is the first initiative by Red Indies to promote independent music is the show ‘Indie Hain hum’ which is a twelve episode series, which will be hosted by singer- composer Darshan Raval, who will be interviewing and jamming with multiple artists on the show both popular, as well as upcoming artists in the industry, who come and sing good music, and talk about their lives journey. The show is an audio visual delight as it will not only be on the radio but also on our digital platforms too, ” added Narayanan.

Speaking about the show Darshan Raval said, “Music is something that brings people together, it has no boundaries and can be heard in any language. I am delighted that RED FM has started an initiative- Red Indies to support Independent artists like me. ‘Indie Hain Hum’ show will serve as a pivot where Independent artists will come together from all over the country to capture the essence of the evolving music scene in India. Being a host of ‘Indie Hain Hum’, I am truly looking forward to witnessing some new and engaging talent for the discerning music loving audiences.”

Talking about the selection process of the show, Narayanan said “Lot of songs that have been recommended are listener’s choices. When we will be playing Indie music across all our market and stations, nothing stops a listener to share their music and write-in to us, the only thing is there has to be good quality of music, since the best needs to be put out on air, so yes the listeners do interact with the show. The show is both on the Red FM India platform and also on our digital formats.”

Elaborating on the content programming Narayanan said,” We are also playing independent music on our weekends too and we don’t want to make it genre restricted. Since Red FM is a 68 station network it captures music from across geographies of India from Pahari music to Shillong or of South, so why should we restrict our music and that’s our basic premise as far as indie music is concerned. A lot of our curated list that we are planning to do is coming from the feedback of the listeners, who have recommended a lot of Indie artists and therefore we are also in the process of discovering a lot of artists. So we are trying to tab an unorganized space, where a lot of artists don’t have an access to bigger labels but are excellent musicians.”

Talking about the Red FM’s strategy to grow,”What we have been doing as a strategy is that we have been building communities, so a lot of IPs  have been built both on air or on ground, like the ‘Yellow taxi music festival’ is all about the folk music. While the ‘Rider music festival’ was about the super bikes and the whole experience of bikes and music and the ‘Sunday breakfast rides’ which catered to the biking community. When you build IPs based on communities which are loyal to them, it creates a great impact and if you get awards for those,it makes it very special and humbling as we feel we are getting recognised for our efforts.”

Narayanan points on the transformation that the channel envisions by saying, “Today the industry is moving from a Bollywood driven industry to an Artist driven economy, since many Bollywood songs have been taken from Indie songs and we want to be part of that journey. Last year we did a folk music festival called ‘ Yellow Taxi Music Festival’ brought diverse music be it  from ‘Manganiyar seduction’ from Jodhpur to Bowl artists of Assam.I feel we have reached a threshold where we have got exhausted of too much of Bollywood music and it’s time to expand ourselves and help listeners to explore  a wider range of music which is already in the  country but needs more acceptance. I believe that somewhere we need to blur the music divide between Independent music and Bollywood, as we just need to have great music to enthral the listeners.”

Talking about Growth and Innovation for the channel, Narayanan says,” We are just not the radio station and we are an entertainment hub as we have multiple touch points not only being on Airwaves, we do a lot of concerts, events, on-ground activities and digital too, so a 360 degree movement is the only way forward. We have created major IPs and are doing  a lot of festivals. Our Digital is growing too as we have over 4 million subscribers in our digital platform which doesn’t play any music, and has a lot of snack-able content only, which still  makes us big there.”

Talking on the promotion plans and brand associations for the show ‘Indie hain hum’,and for Red FM this festive season Narayanan says,” We have got a fantastic response and all our slots are full and it’s very interesting to know that there is a huge market for Indie music and there are sponsors on board, the industry and the advertising community has been very supportive, the great thing is that Indie music is young and vibrant and so a lot of brands associate with that TG. The numbers are very encouraging so much that we were thinking of extending the duration of the show which is as of now for 2 hour show,12 episodes, and so the entire promotion is for 13 weeks”

“There will be a lot of marketing support across all cities all Hindi speaking markets for the show Indie Hain Hum. The show will cater to the radio listeners of all ages, but the show will target more of the younger generation who listen to a lot of independent music, and don’t consume radio especially in urban cities, Narayanan adds.

Present at the launch party were Independent artists who will be featured  in the show to include Neha Bhasin, Jubin Nautiyal, Raja Kumari, Lisa Mishra, Kaam Bhari aka Kunal Pandagale, Slow  Cheetah aka Chaitanya Sharma and Lisa Mishra.

Author

A Hindustani Classical Vocalist and a Musicologist. Pursuing Ph.D. in the same from Delhi University. Presently working with exchange 4media writing across domains ranging from Digital, Marketing, Advertising, Events, Music, Artforms, Artists and lots more... Getting better with time!

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