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Changing beats for changing times: Gaurav Wadhwa, CEO & Co-Founder, Big Bang Music

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The COVID19 pandemic has forced the human race to lock-up!  With ‘distance’ at the heart of this dialogue, what keeps human connections alive? Music has that potential. Music has light woven so inextricably within its essence, that it might be the formidable cure to the aching hearts and minds, on the other side of this dark patch – the universal healer to bring humanity together.

It never seemed real, until it was our turn!

The oncoming Recession is predicted to be worse than the great depression, not sparing the music industry. With venues shutting down, artist tours derailed, festivals cancelled – the industry is reeling from the shock.

While live entertainment was the first to take the hit, the lives of daily gig workers, support crew, session artists and booking agents are hugely impacted. Audio & video releases have dropped, radio listenership has reduced – offline traditional artists have no way to be heard. With streaming offering dismally low royalty, artists and labels relying on live gigs are left undeniably vulnerable.

The Sudden Peak Of Live Streaming 

Artists jumped into Live Streaming Gigs – Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Tik Tok offering the obvious “first aid”. With artists broadcasting live from their bedrooms, fans have a new way to interact and are excited by this direct access.

Artists are adapting to the “Tik Tok way of life”, from exploring dance routine for their songs to joining the handwash challenge– they are trying it all. Tony Kakkar’s Tik Tok Live Concert witnessed a viewership of almost 1 million people, this happens to be bigger than most concerts or live shows.

Many brands have bravely jumped in to support and leverage the digital experience, by sponsoring digital events.

This is proving to be a great way for artists and live IP curators to maintain a connection with their fans. One may argue that this is an opportunity rather than a setback. But is this sustainable and as engaging? These are answers that cannot be answered in binaries.

The “Essential” Reform

The pre-pandemic way of life is long gone, and a wider reform is essential. There is a future for telematic or remote performances, which has to go beyond solely benefiting social platforms. Evolving digital innovations, changing human behaviours, resetting business strategies and redefining ‘immersive experiences’ will see new partnerships emerge.

1) Remote collaborations have to be achieved on a large scale. Music Software & Tech will play a key role in accelerating this over the next 6-12 months.

2) Touring & Live Gigs will no longer be the most popular revenue stream | The live entertainment industry will need to invest in virtual experiences which provide equivalent results.

3) The rise of music in Brands & Advertising | Exploring new revenue models, monetisation of recorded music through advertising will have to be multiplied. Ways of bringing new advertisers into the music ecosystem will have to be explored to grow the average revenue per listener. Better ad experiences and opportunities for brands will be critical.

Post-Pandemic Era | Adapting to the consumer mindset 

Shifting consumer mindsets will define the post-pandemic era for the music industry. Nothing will be the same again,

1) Shift in Top Charts | A slowdown in the Film Industry, will see a shift of bollywood songs in the top charts. Loud club dance numbers, might give way to softer playlists suitable for easy home listening. Artist and music discovery will rise with more time in hand, with niche/ underground genres and artists claiming more spots.

2) Evolving Fan-Artist Engagement Online | Artists will experiment with newer platforms to connect with fans (such as Twitch a live gaming platform). The need of the hour is improved interactive tech solutions for high-quality, intimate digital music experiences, to allow artists go beyond current limitations.

3) Change in Content Formats – Music Videos will evolve beyond commercial mainstream narratives. Animation, graphic interpretations, drone captures, DIY techniques and informal crowdsourced content will present creative tools.

It is incredible how music is bringing communities and the world together in this time of peril, that too with impressive scale. Balcony concerts from around the world and the Global Citizen One world concert being great examples. Initiatives like Stayin aLive Foundation in India are looking towards music to heal and unite – humanity at large. This essence of communality made possible through music offers us collective strength now and will continue to do so in post-pandemic life.

In the wake of this pandemic, a shift in the music industry has begun- Artists and their audience are ‘people’, once again – not just numbers. While innovation is necessary to unlock new business opportunities; optimising music’s power to unite and heal is the real key for future success.

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