The Indian music market is at a very unique stage right now. While the local independent artists are churning out more and better quality content, the international ones are queuing up to tap the market. The number of independent music labels is increasing and even the major players have taken note of the rise in consumption of independent music. With the streaming world opening up, our audiences are much more evolved now. There has been an upward trend in the consumption of international music. According to a report by Hungama, the consumption of international music is only second to Bollywood in India. It is not English music alone that is grabbing their attention. The consumption of music in languages like Arabic, Spanish, French, Turkish and Portuguese along with English showed a growth of 2.3X and had a 13 percent share of the total volume of streaming music in 2018.
Independent music in India
A few independent labels are catering to this segment. One such independent label is Mumbai-based 9122 Records. The label and marketing services entity curates international independent artists from around the world. Debuting with DJ Snake’s ‘Premiere Classe Records’, the label is looking at getting more international talents to India.
“We are curating and finding some good international talents in the independent space. It is difficult for them to get into the Indian market if they are not backed by a major label. This is where we step in, we sign the artist, get them here and get the audience to know them,” explained Sunil D’Sa, Founder 9122 Records.
The entry of global streaming services along with the local platforms has been helpful for independent music. Independent music now has a 16%-18% share in the streaming sector. This share was pretty much at 5%-8% 2-3 years ago. This is pretty significant in terms of the volume it can generate.
“At this point it is best for artists to invest in themselves and build their profile. The opportunities are not just in streaming revenues but the live circuit will also become more aggressive. There will be more live shows than earlier,” asserted Sunil.
“This is the time for both, independent artists and labels, to invest in themselves and nurture the space. It is around the corner where this will become a playing field where independent music and artists will start making money. Not just through the streaming sector but also through alternative forms of revenue viz. advertisements, creating music for the OTT services, etc.”
The trend of collaborations
The international music space is definitely growing and this is helping Indian independent music to grow as well. The rap scene right now was not possible a few years ago. There has been significant interest built over time and now many new artists are coming up. Artists are now eager to experiment. They are moving out of their comfort zone to dwell in other genres. The independent artists are now backed by music labels unlike earlier. International artists are open to collaborate with their Indian counterparts. In the international space almost every second song is a collaboration. Either between 2 established artists or new ones.
“Collaborations are the trend today and will remain for a long time. It opens up so many doors and introduces your music to audience beyond your reach. It will help a lot in the independent space as we go along. That is definitely a part of our strategy. The space that we are in brings great opportunities for us to provide our independent artists an exposure. Our first project should be out in a few months,” said Sunil.
How soon and big will independent music grow is something to wait and watch for. Right now it is just a small part of the music industry which is ruled by Bollywood music. Will it grow big enough to be a parallel to Bollywood in the music economy? Only time will tell.