Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized ’ Category

All About Music – An Industry Person’s Perspective

I started my career in 1994 as a singer in Bengaluru after I graduated from St. Xavier’s college with a Statistics Major. I left Mumbai to go back to my home in Bengaluru where my family had shifted while I was in college. When I moved to Bengaluru, singing as a career was not even in the pipeline but it happened by chance. A chance meeting with one event organiser led me to  perform in shows with him and with various other event organisers across the country before I met with and played a demo of covers to Suresh Thomas who used to run BMG Crescendo back in 1996.

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Those were the days when a label would listen to a voice and decide to invest in that voice through production, marketing and promotion. The model was quite a simple one. Artist would be invested on and recovery would be through album sales and shows. The artist was signed on exclusively with the label for a certain number of years. All the artist had to do was be present with his/her talent and the rest would be the label’s responsibility and onus to work on. The honeymoon lasted for about 5-6 years and then the scene changed.

A lot has been discussed over various forums about Bollywood swallowing up the space for the flourishing Indie Pop scene over the years by killing it with players like television and radio totally abandoning anything that is either non-Bollywood or not having become big enough through digital to be played.

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And in comes a new player who is known as the Talent Manager to new, upcoming and extremely popular Bollywood Singers – TM Management who decides to take up the mammoth task of bringing a large part of the music industry together under one roof. And how did he do this? Tarsame Mittal, the main man reached out to some of his closest business friends who in turn reached out to some of their closest business friends and in turn used their network to help him put this together. With Tarsame investing and some key players supporting, this conference was bound to make an impact.

All in all the conference was a great success with the number of people that attended it including artists, students and industry bigwigs and the way it was organised. Tarsame was humble and composed throughout the conference.

But here are a few things that one is curious to know:

  • If this was All About Music, where were T-Series, SAREGAMA, Zee Music and Channel V?
  • If India needs to be beyond Bollywood and grow a sustainable Independent Scene too why are labels that claim to be all about Independent or companies that want to do more than Bollywood not do more towards building the scene by going back to what they used to do like when I was an artist?

Authored by Soumini Sridhara Paul – Artist Aloud, India’s Only Premium Talent and Independent Content Platform

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Sound Of India – All That Matters

India is spoken about in every forum and our population of 1.3 billion people never ceases to make people dream of the opportunities they may have across whatever their business may be. But interestingly India rarely gets to showcase itself outside of its own territory in a global forum. When it comes to the SEA region as well, India often gets sidelined with focus laid on other territories including Indonesia, Malaysia, Korea, Japan, China, etc. Ironically, the same was the case for one of the most prestigious and honoured global conferences namely All That Matters that had been running for more than 11 years. Every year there were representatives from India attending the conference as well as speaking at the conference but never was there a focus on the country or a showcase of the same.

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However all that changed at this conference for the 12th year that happened between the 9th and 13th of Sept 2017. This year the conference not only had a special panel called Streaming In India that featured representatives from all the key players from India but also for the first time showcased an exclusive stage called Sound Of India which was Powered by Artist Aloud.

Sound Of India featured 4 extremely uniquely curated artists including Ravi Iyer with Mridangam player, Krishna, Yesterdrive, Fuzzculture and Alobo Naga who between themselves gave a flavour of what India represents musically outside of Bollywood. While India may be synonymous to Bollywood outside of India, the stage, Sound Of India gave Artist Aloud and India a chance to showcase the other side of India which is being built by a few passionate and dedicated players. To have Artist Aloud get an opportunity like this to be representing India is all credit due to Neeraj Roy from Hungama Digital Media who has been the pioneering visionary to support a platform like this and to Jasper Donat from Branded to have given the opportunity on such a prestigious platform like All That Matters that has grown to become one of the biggest global conferences.

This year was just a trailer to what I hope will be an annual affair through which India will see a more unique and exciting line up of artists building the bridge between Indian and International fans. To have Artist Aloud enable that is what will make it even more fulfilling.

 

LA CALLING – A TALENT’S DREAM MADE TRUE

In January 2017, Artist Aloud, a platform for Talent and Independent Content and indi.com, a platform that runs challenges for brands to build consumer engagement came together to create a challenge for music talent who created original content, giving one lucky winner the chance to be flown down for an all-expenses paid trip to Los Angeles and the opportunity to meet with the Grammy Award winning composer, John Shanks who has worked with the likes of Bon Jovi, Backstreet Boys, Jessica Simpson, Taylor Swift and many more celebrated artists.

 

The challenge was run for a total of 60 days and the final winner was to be picked by John Shanks himself from a shortlisted Top 10 artists based on the content they uploaded and then based on buzz factor identified through a number of plays, likes, comments, etc. The Top 10 were to be shortlisted by indi.com and Artist Aloud and then shared with John Shanks for him to select the final winner totally based on his personal liking.

 

The final winner turned out to be a person called Aman Pant who was not at all known to either Artist Aloud or indi.com prior to this contest. Interestingly he had seen the ad of the contest on Facebook and uploaded his entry on the last day of the contest. It was only after he was selected by John Shanks and he was contacted by indi.com did we know that he has been in the industry for the past 10 years doing several music assignments in the advertising field.

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The song that Aman created is called Piya Se Naina and was the very first and only song he had ever created of his own. Being a song writer in the advertising line, he had until this point always created music based on a brief given by a client. Piya Se Naina was made almost a year back without a particular agenda. It was Aman’s creative surge that made him get into a recording studio and produce it as a master.

 

Aman informed us that he did not expect anything to come out of him uploading his track. All he did was send the song to indi.com through their platform and forget about it. So 5 months later when he received a call and was informed that he had won a contest that would fly him to Los Angeles, Aman couldn’t believe his ears and actually had his wife talk to the Indi personnel to reconfirm the same so that he was not fooled by a prank.

 

Aman may have been selected as the winner by John Shanks but his trip was dependent on him having a passport and a US Visa, both of which at the time of revealing his win, he did not possess. Aman applied for his passport in the emergency quota and had to travel to Delhi for his interview. Once the passport was done, he had to apply for the US Visa which was not a sure was shot considering the new rules that the Trump Administration was putting up. However, Aman got his US Visa. This was truly Lady Luck blessing him because the person who was initially going to be sent as a chaperone from Artist Aloud with Aman was denied the US Visa. But Aman got it done in a breeze.

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Finally, the day arrived. September 6th, 2017 was designated the day when the meet and greet with John Shanks would happen in LA. Since I already had a US Visa and my colleague was denied, I decided to travel as the chaperone with the winner. We headed out of India on the 3rd of Sept and returned on the 9th of Sept, 2017. Aman got to spend more than 2 hours interacting with John where they spoke about the techniques of writing great music along with the technologies they use and also jammed together.

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The trip was a dream come true for this talent who has been working behind the scenes for more than 10 years and now believes he needs to do something creative for himself. Aman will officially release his winning track, Piya Se Naina across different distribution platforms and also hopes to stay in touch with John Shanks to hopefully collaborate on something new in the future.

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We feel happy to have been somewhat responsible for starting Aman’s journey towards music creation as a self-expression and hope that we can be of help in this new found journey. indi.com is a partner that has shown an immense amount of ethics and integrity towards keeping a commitment and we are proud to have been able to bond so well with the team in India as well as the USA.

 

We look forward to bringing more such opportunities to the talent we work with or with new discoveries and believe that partners like indi.com will come a long way in making sure the talent scene in India goes global.

 

Authored by Soumini Sridhara Paul

Superstar by Mili Soch Featuring Sara G

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From Toronto, arrives singer Mili Soch. Although he portrays himself as a hip-hop artist, the sound on his single, “Superstar”, certainly moves away from mainstream hip-hop. In fact, the sound is closer to what I would refer to as neo-soul, bringing the sounds of classic R&B to a hip-hop age. In support of budding ‘Superstar’ Mili and, in providing the English language singing aspect of the otherwise predominantly Hindi song, is singer Sara G who, combined with Mili’s talent, speak about the “witty love song with references to on-screen and off-screen Bollywood couples”. With its obvious R&B influences, the keyboard-laden “Superstar” is one of a number of tracks that will appear on an EP that Mili Soch is working on for release this year. While not recording, Mili is promoting himself across multiple live platforms in Toronto, including the Desi FEST, Festival of South Asia, and the TD Mosaic Festival, among others.

While there is no doubt that Mili Soch has got talent and aspires to be a ‘Superstar’, there is still much work to be done before he can be certified as one!

– Review by PARAG KAMANI.

Stream & Download ‘Intezaar’ exclusively on Artist Aloud – Talent First App.

Also Available on:
Hungama Music: http://bit.ly/2uo0N1S
iTunes India: http://apple.co/2wWMI0i

Also Available on iTunes International, Wynk Music, Reliance Jio Music, Idea Music Lounge.

Coke Studio Season 10 Episode 1

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One of the most recognized brands in the world of music is no longer just an aerated drink, but Coke Studio which, this year, celebrates ten years of its existence. For those who arrived late, Coke Studio is a Pakistani television series and international music franchise which features live studio-recorded music performances by established and emerging artists. It is apparently the longest-running annual TV music show in Pakistan since 2008, combining genres from traditional classical, folk, Sufi, qawwali, ghazal, and Bhangra music to contemporary hip hop, rock, and pop music.

The tenth season of the Pakistani musical television series began on August 11, 2017, with Pakistani-band Strings continuing its association with Coke Studio as the show’s executive producers, while the show returned with the previous year’s format of music directors producing their own songs under Strings’ supervision.

While the show has been critically viewed for not producing new songs, unfortunately, I may add as that statement is not a fact with two of the four songs featured in Episode 1 being “originals”, namely, “Allahu Akbar” – with music and lyrics by Shuja Haider – and “Muntazir”, with lyrics and music provided by Strings. Whereas the other two selections featured in Episode 1, namely, “Chaa Rahil Kaali Ghata”, is a traditional composition with additional music provided by Sahir Ali Bagga and is a fine soft, mellow track; the other, “Rajnish Hi Sahi”, being a ghazal popularized by Mehdi Hassan, sung this time around by Ali Sethi.

While these so-called “covers” have their own standing among purists and/or converts, for me there is no doubt that the standouts are the newer tracks with “Allahu Akbar”, featuring the vocals of Ahmed Jahanzeb and Shafqat Amanat Ali, which is a fine mid-tempo track; whereas “Muntazir”, featuring the vocals of Momina Mustehsan and Danyal Zafar, who also doubles up in playing a very fluid guitar interlude, is a marvellous up-tempo selection that contains hypnotic rhythmic guitar riffs.

So, in a crux, my suggestion is to skip the media reports on Coke Studio Season 10 Episode 1 and listen to the tracks yourself. You will realize immediately that executive producers Strings have attempted to vary the sounds across the four songs as much as possible and, with the aid of four different music directors, including themselves, Coke Studio is well geared to progress towards another memorable musical binge.

 

– Review by PARAG KAMANI.

Stream & Download ‘Intezaar’ exclusively on Artist Aloud – Talent First App.

Also Available on:
Hungama Music: http://bit.ly/2iKRXd0
Wynk Music: http://bit.ly/2eJXE6B

Also Available on Reliance Jio Music, Idea Music Lounge.

REBUILDING FROM SCRATCH

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1994 was the beginning of the Indi Pop scene with MTV aiming to localize its content in order to make it big in India as well as working closely with record labels thus supporting them. For the record industry, it was a perfect marriage. There were some players in the market that were focused on releasing films, Ghazals, devotional and international music including HMV, Tips, T-series, Venus, Sony Music, Universal, and many others. These players were not really dependent on television to sell their music but realized that to make it big in the local scene they would need to be in bed with television. That led to other players coming into the market who wanted to solely build on the Indi Pop scene through A&R (Artist and Repertoire) like Magnasound, Crescendo, Milestone, Virgin Records, etc. to name a few relevant players. With more players in the market creating new content in audio and video format, there, obviously, was an opportunity for one more channel to come into the scene thus giving birth to Channel [v].

 

Everything was hunky dory. Music was selling. Artists were getting really popular and making money through shows. There was healthy competition between the channels and the music industry was working both with players offering opportunities of content as well as talent showcase. The years 1996 – 2000 gave birth to a number of talents that were soon going to become Bollywood singing sensations. These artistes, during that period, released original and private albums which were not done so to make it their stepping stone to Bollywood. In fact, Bollywood was not even in their minds.

 

So when did Bollywood become the be all and end all or the ultimate goal for a musical talent or a vocalist? To understand this you have to go back to 2000 – 2001. This was the time when satellite TV was booming with multiple channels and consumers were getting addicted to television. Given consumer behavior, the need for these channels to be on top of their game and track TRP became paramount. And with consumer importance increasing in the television space, Bollywood had to make its presence felt on TV if it needed to promote its films and keep the consumer engaged and drive them to theatres to continue to watch films.

 

Initially, this led to 30 – 60sec TV commercials being aired as trailers of the film by the film producers. But gradually the record labels who bought the rights to the music from the film producers started putting out songs of the films for the same duration that started getting played between non-film video content. This was the beginning of the end for non-film video content and local talent. Films were shot in 70mm and on large landscapes with picturesque quality while non-film, even the most lavish ones were being shot on 16mm at the max. The disparity was obvious. With satellite continuing to boom and the consumer having control of the remote (for changing the channel), non-film did not have a chance to survive because TRPs showed that it was directly proportional to the quantity of film content.  Hence music channels that built their entire viewer base on Indi Pop talent and content gradually stopped supporting the same and were more responsive to film content.

 

Some of the record labels that had built their business completely on the Indi Pop scene couldn’t survive with no media support while the bigger labels, that were able to evolve, grew beyond the Indi Pop scene. And so by 2004, the Indi Pop scene, that had launched some of the biggest names that were now big in Bollywood, pretty much died.

 

There were several platforms like MySpace, Reverbnation, Soundcloud and others that were picking up globally as well as local talent within India which started using these platforms to put their content out. With the advent of YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, talent was able to put themselves out there with no restrictions including singing other people’s songs. At the same time, GECs (General Entertainment Channels) started attracting talent through music reality shows where it was not just about talent but about drama, stories, and dreams. But all of this was doing nothing to revive the space for non-film content or A&R because even with so many platforms and reality shows the only content that was getting more and more popular was Bollywood. If anything good came out of this, it was that artists were taking control of their music and using a DIY method to put themselves out there. This was even to the extent that artists gave up on the belief that music can make money through consumers buying it like it did in the late 90s and instead were ready to put out their music out for free and make it popular by getting more and more people to hear it so that they could make money through shows and perform their songs to an audience that is already familiar with their work.

 

If all was going well, why would Artist Aloud get a chance to survive? The only reason for that was because an Artist may have had control of his content and the freedom for creativity but it is not an official release if it is not officially released by a company that puts out other artists content too and generates revenue for the artist along with promoting the artist.

 

Artist Aloud gave birth to several other players and also revived the non-film scene that was pretty much dead when it launched in 2010. The platform actually made other players that had been dormant for a while sit up and notice the artists again. While Bollywood has now become a global phenomenon, the non-film space in India is going through a rebirth and as anything was broken takes longer to be rebuilt as against something new, this too needs to be given time. Content in 1994 – 2000 was growing at a slow pace and only through a linear format while right now there is not only a large amount of different content but also formats including linear, digital, etc.

 

Talent is everywhere and creativity is in the hands of the common man. It is no longer a privilege of only a few. Hence Artist Aloud is democratic and allows anyone with great content to put himself/herself/themselves out there with complete control of content and creativity and freedom of expression. So, be original and download Artist Aloud – Talent First App.

Reviewed By – Soumini Sridhara Paul

#MTV #IndependentMusic #ArtistAloud #BollywoodSongs #SocialMedia #MusicDownload

Intezaar by Piyush Gupta Featuring Chinmayi Sripada

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Hailing from Pilibhit, formerly known as Hafizabad, a city in U.P., Piyush Gupta is a music director who usually composes music, writes lyrics, and also produces his songs. I have been following his career through a trilogy of songs which commenced with “Jaanu Na Main” [about “Falling In Love”], followed by “Jane Kab Phir” [about “Missing In Love”] and “Bahon Ke Darmiyaan [which celebrates “Kissing In Love”], all of which have been impressive so, it was with much anticipation that I heard his latest effort, “Intezaar”.

Piyush does not disappoint.  The amalgamation of a contemporary theme in “waiting” and a simplistic production containing acoustic guitar, flute, and mild keyboards is precisely what makes the song distinctive. The song continues to sound fresh because of Piyush’s writing, and singer Chinmayi Sripada’s strong singing, both of whose talents combined makes “Intezaar” sound intimate and immediate.

Piyush Gupta has become an expert of sorts for producing/arranging uncluttered pop that requires no deep thinking for enjoyment and, even though his songs/renditions may be considered light, nothing changes the fact that the tracks that emanate from his roster remain pleasing to the ears. It is with much “Intezaar” that I look forward to Piyush’s next song!

– Review by PARAG KAMANI.

Stream & Download ‘Intezaar’ exclusively on Artist Aloud – Talent First App.

Also Available on:
Hungama Music: http://bit.ly/2uxDQxl
iTunes India: http://apple.co/2fApoxN

Also Available on iTunes International, Wynk Music, Reliance Jio Music, Idea Music Lounge.