From All About Music's virtual 2020 edition, key insights into eight aspects of Indian music industry

The three-day event was the biggest instalment yet, and as always, featured an impressive list of international speakers and an insightful if somewhat familiar selection of Indian ones.

Amit Gurbaxani August 30, 2020 16:02:37 IST
From All About Music's virtual 2020 edition, key insights into eight aspects of Indian music industry

I’m one of the few people who spends more time inside the conference room at music conventions than networking outside. That’s because I try not to miss any of the talks, discussions or interviews during which an interesting data point might be dropped like a gold nugget among a minefield of anecdotal information and opinion. So when the organisers of All About Music, the country’s largest and most prominent music conference, announced that this year’s edition would be virtual, I was among the few delegates who wasn’t going to miss the hobnobbing outside the hall. The three-day event was the biggest instalment yet, and as always, featured an impressive list of international speakers and an insightful if somewhat familiar selection of Indian ones.

I am now guilty of being among those names you see every year, and this time around, moderated a panel titled All About Growing Indie, during which artists such as Kashmiri folk-pop singer Aabha Hanjura, drummer Jivraj Singh of pop duo Parekh & Singh, and hip-hop producer Sez on the Beat provided insights into their respective experiences of working with multi-channel networks (use them as enablers but don’t depend on them), labels (artists can benefit from those that serve as collaborators as opposed to controllers) and management companies (find someone who shares your vision) to further their reach. I’m paraphrasing what they said to a large extent, and barely doing justice to what was an engaging 45-minute session during which I learnt a lot from them about their careers as well as from their co-panelists, Rohan Jha, the head of Sony Music India’s pop music division (yes, the majors consider some of their acts “independent”) and Dolby Labs’ director of music partnerships Karan Grover, about their approaches to indie.

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The event gave indie music as I know it its share of the spotlight at All About Music, which largely focuses on the more mainstream aspects of the industry. As I did last year, I’m summarising my takeaways in the form of some of the statistical data shared by the speakers:

Overall industry performance

20 percent

The average rate of growth of the value of the Indian music industry over the last three years, according to Mandar Thakur, the COO of Times Music. (In 2019, the rate of growth actually fell from 25.4 percent in 2018 to 18.7 percent.)

45 percent

The amount by which music streaming grew in the first half of this year, said Sony Music India’s managing director Rajat Kakar, citing a report that’s yet to be publicly shared. (The income from streaming now accounts for 69.5 percent of our music industry’s total revenues.)

26 percent

The amount by which radio listenership has increased in the last six months, as per Nisha Narayanan, the director and CEO of Red FM.

Short video-sharing apps

50 million

The number of monthly active users new short video-sharing app Moj says it acquired within this first 35 days of launch at the end of June.

25 million

Number of downloads of American app Triller recorded in India within the first two weeks of launch, as shared by CEO Mike Lu.

Live music industry

80 percent

The share of revenue talent management agency Kwan’s clients make from corporate and private events, as per CEO Vijay Subramaniam.

Rs 2,300 crore

The amount the live events industry pays out to music performers every year, said Sabbas Joseph, director of Wizcraft Entertainment.

Film music

10-15 percent

The proportion, on average, of a film’s production cost that gets covered by the licensing of music rights to labels, according to Vikram Mehra, the managing director of Saregama and the chairman of the trade body the Indian Music Industry (IMI).

40 million

The number of subscribers Shemaroo’s Bollywood classics channel Filmi Gaane has on YouTube, making it the third most popular music channel in India after T-Series and Zee Music Company.

100 percent

The year-on-year growth in terms of both streams and revenue for India’s 'No 2 label' Zee Music Company between 2016 and 2020, stated by business head Anurag Bedi.

Non-film music

2

The number of “pop superstars” India has produced in recent times, namely rappers Badshah and Yo Yo Honey Singh, according to Universal Music CEO and managing director Devraj Sanyal. Both Badshah and Singh work extensively in Bollywood and “non-film” music.

12 million

The number of subscribers rapper Emiway Bantai has on YouTube, which is by far the most for any Indian independent artist and over than a million more than playback and pop singer Neha Kakkar, who also received a Diamond Play button from the video streaming service this year after her channel crossed 10 million subscribers.

From All About Musics virtual 2020 edition key insights into eight aspects of Indian music industry

File image of Emiway Bantai.

45-50 percent

The portion of time film music takes up of “non-film” music singer and composer Vishal Mishra.

171

The number of entries the organisers of All About Music received for their Pitch Your Non-Film Songs To Music Labels panel at which 10 composers showcased their work to music companies Jjust Music, Saregama, Sony Music, Speed Records and Universal.

153

The number of entries the organisers of All About Music received for their Pitch Your Music To Filmmakers panel at which 10 composers showcased their work to directors and producers such as Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari and Siddharth Roy Kapur.

Regional music

4x

The growth in the consumption of Bhojpuri music on Hungama Music over the last year, said COO Siddhartha Roy.

2.3x to 2.6x

The growth in the consumption of Haryanvi, Bengali and Odiya music on Hungama Music over the last year.

90

The percentage share of “non-film” songs in the Bhojpuri music market, according to Roy.

70

The percentage share of “non-film” songs in the Haryanvi music market.

Devotional music, folk music and ghazals

5x

The watch time for Shemaroo’s devotional music songs compared to that of its retro Hindi film soundtrack repertoire, said COO Kranti Gada.

70

The percentage share of folk performers among the total number of musicians in India, based on a study conducted by non-profit organisation Anahad Foundation, which works for the welfare of folk musicians.

2

The percentage share of the Indian music industry’s revenue earned by folk musicians, as determined by Anahad Foundation’s study.

>1,000

The number of entries received for annual ghazal festival Khazana’s talent competition this year, the majority of which were from singers in their early twenties and thirties, said organiser, veteran vocalist Pankaj Udhas.

Gender diversity

<60 percent

The proportion of females among the heads of department at Times Music, as shared by COO Mandar Thakur.

35 percent

The proportion of females among the staff at Times Music.

7 out of 20

The number of panels featuring only men or 'manels' at All About Music 2020.

2 out of 11

The number of keynotes by female music executives at All About Music 2020.

3 out of 6

The number of 'in conversation' interviews featuring female artists at All About Music 2020.

Amit Gurbaxani is a Mumbai-based journalist who has been writing about music, specifically the country's independent scene, for nearly two decades. He tweets @TheGroovebox

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