What is in an Award?

Starting a brand from scratch can be a real daunting process. Even if you have a big company giving you all the infrastructural support and resources, you know you have to think like an entrepreneur and be not just prudent but creative, innovative and impactful. That is what happened when I joined Hungama back in April 2009. I had met with the MD of Hungama Digital Media, Neeraj Roy, proposing a platform for Talent and Independent content because at that time all I knew was that there was talent making content and there was an opportunity to offer them an official release through digital distribution that Hungama could bring in rather than the artists putting it out on social platforms like MySpace, Reverbnation, etc that were prevalent at that time. I was offered to join the company and build it under Hungama and that is how Artist Aloud was born.

 

For the first three years, Artist Aloud evolved into a platform across a website, social media, content and event IPs and artist programming. As a website, we were largely a virtual address. It was not meant to be a destination on its own. But even though we had not visioned it earlier, we had two App stores namely Intel AppUp and Microsoft that saw our potential and promise in what we are doing for the Independent space and offered to fund the development of a stand-alone destination for Artist Aloud in the form of an App. That to us was the first step towards recognition. It was a testimony to the effort and vision we had built this platform with. It was the first indication that the Independent space needs to have a face of its own even if it is available on mainstream platforms.

 

The birth of the App began with approach and agenda. We knew that we wanted the App to be a stand-alone destination but what we wanted the App to do was a whole different story. An App’s success is in its utility and its ability to make things convenient. We always wanted to be a platform that marries talent with technology. Being part of a digital company, Hungama, it was not just obvious but mandatory for Artist Aloud to think this way.

 

So we met with a company called Fractal Ink who came on board to design the App for us. We spent 6 months discussing, ideating and designing UI and UX. There were several iterations of the features. Artist Aloud has always believed that everyone has talent and with people not being shy anymore to put themselves out there, we wanted to be the platform that would give their original expression a face and a reach. And so the App needed to be a common destination for Talent and Fans. We looked at several elements that we encountered in the real world and aimed to offer it in the virtual world. Some of these included:

 

  • Content Acquisition
  • Book an Artist for a gig
  • Collaborate with an Artist
  • Create an Audio Room to have your friends listen to your playlist with you

 

After 6 months of designing, we now needed to see the whole thing come alive. Enter – Hungama Digital Services. Here was a team who had handled Artist Aloud as part of the creative team of Hungama. Hence they were the right team to build the next version of the platform. While designing took 6 months, giving life to those designs took about 18 months. This was not just because there was a lot to get done but also because we wanted it to be a good experience to the users and hence as far as possible bug-free.

 

After all the sweat, grill, heartaches and excitement we finally launched the App in Sept 2016 across iOS, Android, Windows and Responsive Site available on Mobile, Tablet or Desktop. But launching the App was only the first step. In just one year since then, the App has had more than 6000 artists registering on the App, 50,000+ completely organic installs, 8 mins average time spent and more. And to add the cherry on the top, we have won the following Awards in just one year:

 

  • Winner of Best Interaction Design – Mobile Apps @ CII Design Excellence Awards 2016

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  • Bronze @ Creative Abbys 2017 for Best Mobile Application

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  • Silver @ Dragons Of Asia 2017 for Best Mobile Application

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And that is not all, the App is also shortlisted for the India Chapter of MMA Smarties.

 

So what is in an Award? It is motivation, acknowledgment, inspiration, and opportunity for taking a business to the next level and be committed to what you have to offer to consumers and your patrons.

 

Authored by Soumini Sridhara Paul

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