After a successful corporate career, Sunil Khanna started his entrepreneurial journey with Topper Learning. In 2014, He founded Songdew with an aim to take independent music in India to newer heights. Over the last few years, under his leadership, Songdew has emerged to be the largest network of independent artists in India with over 50,000 artists on board.
Songdew is a new-age online Music Business Administrator. It helps music creators to distribute, promote, and monetize their music globally. Every artist gets a unique and customized dashboard from where they can access all the functionalities and services offered by Songdew. These include distribution on 200+ music streaming platforms, digital promotional tools, broadcast of music on FM radio, promotion of music on television channel , and various opportunities to license the music and or produce music for the growing list of leading brands in the country, such as MG Motor, Fabindia, Pepe Jeans, and Fabcafe.
In a freewheeling chat with Loudest.in,He talks about how the music industry in India is going through a structural change and how Songdew is helping artists and independent labels grow.
How has the music industry structure changed since the advent of the internet?
Overall, the internet has had a major impact on the music industry, changing the way music is created, distributed, and consumed.. The immediate impact was decline in the revenues of industry, as music stopped selling .But the positive impact was that artists could take music to their fans and were not dependant only on labels.
As times are changing,What are the Changing needs of artists?What do artists expect?
After couple of years , emergence of streaming platforms provided new opportunities to artists to reach their fans and listeners to listent to access the music from one platform.That phase saw the growth of various digital aggregators, distributors who played role in taking music to all streaming platforms.
However, the data shows that merely distribution is not enough. Whopping 80% artists on leading streaming platform gets less than 50 monthly listeners. That means music is distributed but is not discovered. And then when music gets discovered , the next phase of needs of artists is going to be how to make money / monetise their music.
What is Music Business Administration?
Songdew has created a global platform for artists to take care of their music business in totality that means it helps artists to Distribute, Promote and Monetise their music . And thats what we call Music Business Administration- Helping artists in business aspect of the business so that they can focus on what they do best - create music.
So what’s the status of music business in India ,Explain the structural changes in the Music industry?
Music industry in India has been dominated by Bollywood. However, all thats changing fast This is being driven by couple of factors. One, Flim making inIndia has become more experimental. Film producers are now no longer using music to take the narrative forward , Hence , the role of music in films in general has decreased significantly . The content creation outside Bollywood is far far more than whats being produced now in film industry.
Second, music has long tail, youth are exploring all kinds of music from hip hop, to metal , from rock to accoustic . And such a wide range of music consumption can not happen through Bolllywood alone. Hence, the way we see it is Future of Music in India is going to be Music from outside Bollywood.
Tell us the Opportunities for Artists to monetise their music nowadays?
Multiple opportunities are emerging for musicians to monetise the music. That includes streaming royalties, publishing royalties , brand assoications, live events , content production and also acting as influencers. In India, we are seeing huge interest amongst leading brands who want to work with indie artists. And thats good news for indie music.
What challenges does songdew face?
When you are first mover and try to define a new category , it is always challenging. And in case of of music there are various stakeholders - there are brands who could make money, there are platforms - digital or conventional- who could promote the music and then there are music fans who could make a track popular. One needs to have a collaborative approach to make a music hit. The fact is that listeners are "passive" . They like music if it is good and "presented to them. However, they may not make serious efforts on their own to discover great music . And other stakeholders were not sure of the traction indie music could get. So I guess everyone was waiting for someone else to take the lead.
Besides the online platform , we launched a 24*7 video service called Songdew TV , it show cases best of indie music and helps artosts to reach 200 M households. We worked hard with other stakeholders for a couple of years to make them realise the potential of music and significance of the changing eco system of music in India. They have realised that today and thats how they are playing an active role and collaborating with Songdew.
What are the future plans to expand the scope of work by Songdew?
We plan to strengthen and add more services to make the concept of Music Business Administration stronger. These services would aim at finding more ways of promoting and monetising music .In addition to this , we do have plans to focus on more countries outside India to add value to the the artists there.
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