Expert’s Pick – IPRS

Expert’s Pick

Grab The Moneyball… Before It Falls

This session of EmpowerHERMUSIC is titled ‘Grab the Moneyball! Before it Falls!!!’ featuring Soumini Sridhara Paul, Senior Vice President, Hungama Digital Media Entertainment Private Limited, and Heena Kriplani, Head, Tunecore India. The discussion aims to help artists/music creators scout new revenue-generating avenues, explore the role of a music label and an aggregator in an artist’s success, and guide the artists to brand themselves for maximum monetary utilisation.

Artists/Songwriters/Creators are now exploring the DIY route to directly streaming their music online, licensing their content online, moving away from the traditional mediums while being ready to experiment. 

Here below are a few observations and guiding points by the panelists.

How has the A&R changed over the years?

Talking about the current role of A&R in India, Heena mentioned, “The role of A&R is still pretty important, and has only expanded from its traditional manner. Artist managers and even smaller indie labels are playing the part. “Agreeing with her thoughts, Soumini added, “The traditional role of managers has evolved and is no more restricted to just booking shows or recordings for their artists. It is now following the western concept where a manager not only handles the daily work but also is instrumental in grooming and promoting the artist.”

How important is building your brand as an artist?

With social media and streaming platforms playing an all-important role nowadays, building a fan/subscriber base, having a strong social media presence has become imperative. Especially with many labels using these platforms to scout artists from across the nation. 

“Artists no longer need to hang around in-person to get noticed. The music world is no longer restricted to geographical boundaries and artists can now reach out to their end consumers directly. The artists are now networking differently and are super savvy,” feels Heena.

Taking insights from her personal experience as an artist, music label executive to now running Hungama, Soumini said, “We educate artists that their investment should not be limited to just creating content. If they don’t invest in themselves, why would somebody else?” Taking it further, Heena noted, “Tunecore is a total DIY platform but that doesn’t mean the artists rely on it completely. We can help them out but they still need to work on building their image as a brand. They can always approach us with their requirements and we are glad to help out. First, they need to be clear in their mind as to what do they want to do and become. Be authentic and polish yourself. Faking yourself won’t last long.

What are the other avenues an artist can explore to monetise?

With the changing landscape, just being passionate about your music isn’t enough. The shrinking boundaries have increased the competition but also opened up newer avenues to monetise for the artists. They no longer have to lean only on shows and recordings. But how does an artist do it successfully? Is there a to-do list? 

Sharing her ‘laundry list’, as she calls it, Heena said, “There isn’t just one avenue anymore where an artist can make big money, of course, there are exceptions. Now it is a volume game, an artist might not make a huge sum from a single source but little amounts from various avenues. Stop thinking about yourself as only an artist. Be astute and find out about things, avenues, and opportunities you don’t know about. Distribute your music through the best distributor for you, as it is the base for everything that can follow. Secondly, sign up with a PRO agency. Thirdly, learn about monetising on YouTube, Facebook, and other similar platforms. Be seen on stage. It may not be only a live show but anything else. Look at brand affiliations by reaching out to the ones who match your music and image. Approach the OTT platforms with your content.” Giving her two cents on the same, Soumini added, “The social media presence also helps in advertising your content at a cheaper price. Sync is a gamble as maybe at times OTT platforms will not pay for the content but still it can help spread your music and garner following.”

Getting followers on social media has become relatively easier now. How can one utilise it to get maximum traction?

Brands do look at the image and social media following of an artist before signing them. This makes it imperative for artists/creators to be visible and popular on social media to attract brands. But how does an artist gain popularity in the crowded market?

“Fans want to know about what the artist is like in real life. Make your social media handles about you as an individual. Music becomes the tool to attract followers but your content will make them stay. There is a luck element involved too and it is a non-stop journey but without talent and hard work this is all useless,” stressed Soumini.

“To be building a social media base is vital. Unlike earlier, fans now want to be a part of your life as social media has made it possible. So it is important to be the ‘real you while interacting with them or just posting content. Along with social media, also concentrate in creating a listener base on the Digital Service Provider (DSP) platforms,” concluded Heena.