Interviews

Building A New Pop Culture In India-Aayushman Sinha

By Loudest Team
March 09, 2022
Building A New Pop Culture In India-Aayushman Sinha
By-Ojasvi Kapoor

Best known as India’s Youngest Artist Manager, Aayushman Sinha is a 27 year old entrepreneur from Mumbai actively involved in the Media & Entertainment landscape. His journey began as a marketer and artist manager at the age of 18 whilst still in college and has grown to build 4 successful startups in varied fields. Aayushman’s vision is to “build pop culture in India”. He is extremely active in the Indian Music Industry and works actively towards his goal of making India an exporter of music vs simply an importer. He joins Loudest for a candid chat about his journey and more. Excerpts from an edited interview:

Q1.Hello! We would love to know about your journey in this industry so far.

I started off at a young age of 18 and have been creating and diversifying ever since. From organizing events at clubs in Mumbai to managing some of the best artists in India, it has been a complete joyride. In just ten years, I have built  four successful agencies in diverse fields like Artist Management and Music Business (REPRESENT), Marketing (BlackCab), AR/VR Tech (Radar) and Venture Capital (Patronus).

Talking about my journey in the music industry, I have worked closely with some of the best names. From  Armaan Malik, Anuv Jain, DJ Chetas to brands like Coca-Cola, Instagram and Triller,  I have worked closely with both artists and brands to leverage content while adding value to brands.

My main aim is to build Pop Culture in India and I will continue to do so across various businesses and work streams.

Q2.What do you think,How artists will take the creator economy to the next level?

The Artist & Creator economy in India is still at an early stage and developing very actively and rapidly. I feel the following factors will play a huge role in elevating the creator economy in general.

  1. Ownership of IP : Artists will become the original rights holders and won’t pass this onto production houses/labels. They will hold on to these and go on to further monetise these across the current digital ecosystem and the much awaited Web3 boom that’s inevitable. Intellectual Property will help artists build generational wealth that they can pass on in the form of assets to their successors. Labels will begin acting more as distributors and marketers who will now focus on Joint Ventures/Licensing and Distribution deals from artists.
  2. Artist Lead D2C Businesses : I foresee a number of D2C Businesses by artists coming up in the next couple of years. These would have lower customer acquisition costs and a solid spokesperson and hence deliver a very successful return to investors. The success of brands like HRX is already testament to this and the stepping stone for artists to now explore this.
  3. Rise of Pop Culture : As pop culture in the country continues to penetrate deeper - affinity will shift from film to more authentic personalities like Artists, Sportspersons and certain factions of content creators. This will lead to stronger fan affinity and also fan monetisation in direct measures like ticket purchases, merchandise, NFT’s, etc. Music is already bigger than film in the West, a similar trajectory will be seen in India soon, we’re confident! We’re already seeing this with the likes of AP Dhillon, Anuv Jain, MC Stan, etc.
  4. Diversion of Spends from Traditional to Digital : There’s already been multiple reports that suggest that in 2022 Digital Advertising spends will surpass television and traditional spends for marketing in India. A big benefactor of this will be the overall Creator economy as brands will look at engaging these digital stars with strong affinity and distribution to push out their messaging.

Q3.So as you are  managing some of the Indian artists, Can you throw light on the changing landscape of artist management?

The Indian Artist Management Agency model in Music was primarily a secretarial role, today that has evolved to a great extent. As artists managers, today we play a very integral role in building a brand out of the artist.From changing the format in which ‘Talent Management’ was approached to becoming more of a development role in partnership with artists and showing great growth for a multi-genre diverse roster of talent - a new energy was discovered as a wave of young entrepreneurs and executives entered seeing this change.Following the new trend, we took a step forward and  converted REPRESENT from a Management Agency to a full service Entertainment Company which would offer a suite of services to the entertainment ecosystem.Artist management today is a very evolved role and will led to immense value creation in the years to come.

Q4.So the dynamics of music marketing is changing,So how Represent has innovated amidst the pandemic?

In the pandemic, we were to first to pivot to a Consulting model helping brands and media companies integrate music into their ecosystem and have consulted and continue to work with the likes of Coca-Cola, Instagram, Triller and Snapchat. From building fresh and original IP, Music Strategy, Talent Relations, Cross Platform partnerships, etc, REPRESENT is now the preferred consulting agency for all things music and entertainment.

The following projects defined a new revenue stream for us and opened doors to an all new vertical at REPRESENT:

  • In week 2 of lockdown we put together India’s First Ever LIVESTREAM music festival #LiveInYourLivingRoom in partnership with Instagram. It became one of their most successful live-athons and gained massive mainstream attention from press and acted as a stress relief outlet for the audiences. Instagram then went onto scale this with us to do 3 subsequent editions.
  • With the ban of TikTok in India, we saw an opportunity for a new entrant to make a move on the 100’s of million MAU’s that Tik Tok had built for short form video content. We partnered with Triller, a US based short video platform, and built a strategy for their entry in India. We signed over 150 Artist and Creators to their platform in 15 days and activated one of India’s biggest influencer marketing campaigns to date. We also facilitated a meaningful B2B collab oration between JioSaavn and Triller where Triller’s feed was embedded on Indian streaming giant - JioSaavn’s homepage and became the video outlet for audio lovers. A mix of the right partnerships, talent and PR lead to Triller gaining 40Mn Monthly active users in India in 60 days.

Q5.Tell us about the  undiscovered potential of India’s music space?

It’s impossible for anyone to gauge the potential of India’s music-scape simply because of the sheer size and talent that we have to offer. While mainstream film music was the biggest player - we now see the likes of regional hits specially from the Haryanvi speaking markets and the rise of strong Independent artists like AP Dhillon, Anuv Jain, etc changing the power dynamics. We’re also seeing Indian music crossover courtesy the likes of Armaan Malik, Tesher, Raja Kumari, etc.

I do feel however the following key milestones and changes will come within the next 2 years:

  • India’s will lead the next century when it comes to music
  • An Indian origin song will be the  1st Global #1 Song across all platforms
  • The ultimate rise of regional music, breaking all boundaries
  • A lot of sync of music from the independent music scene into films

Q6.Lastly we would love to know about your upcoming projects?

I’m very excited and optimistic about the year ahead of us. With the decline (touchwood) of COVID numbers and opening up of things, we’re now able to unlock our full potential once again. I run multiple businesses and have various goals across these, 2022 will definitely be a year to redefine benchmarks. Taking my understanding of both the creator ecosystem and audience a step forward, I am very thrilled to work with artists and content craters to build D2C products and brands. Streamlining launches and building a more process oriented approach for independent artists, consulting some of the best global brands and working closely on Web3 projects is what 2022 will be all about.

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