‘Distribution and marketing are inextricably linked in an already over-saturated market,’ says Chandrika Shah, Horus Music India

Established in 2006 and operational in India for the past six years, global music distribution and label services company Horus Music was one of the first to offer unlimited distribution to its artistes in the country, allowing musicians to retain 100% of their rights and royalties. Headquartered in the UK, Horus Music has expanded to territories like India, Nigeria, Brazil and Poland, while they’re also looking to develop a presence in Asian markets such as Thailand, China and Korea.

Chandrika Shah, Horus Music India head

Today, the company offers their clients three simple methods for music distribution. Artist and labels can choose from an annual subscription starting at just £20 or approximately Rs 1,900 per year; a pay-per-release option; or for higher level clients with custom music tools services, packages are available on a percentage basis. “Offering different options for distribution gives us the flexibility to assist artists at all levels in their career,” says Horus Music India head Chandrika Shah in an exclusive chat with Music Plus talking about the Indian market. “They could be serious musicians or hobbyists. New or established. Regional or national. Instrumentalists or vocalists. Classical or pop. Horus Music truly has something for everyone”. Excerpts from an interview.

What are your thoughts on India as a market for Horus Music?  

India is an extremely popular market for Horus Music. With so many independent artists focusing on non-film music, we saw a particular increase off the back of the pandemic in the number of artists looking to release their music and break into the industry. As India’s music scene is typically dominated by Bollywood, it’s been great to see a new era emerge for non-film musicians and Horus Music India have been able to provide a space to champion these artists’ careers.

What are some challenges that you face when distributing an Indian artist’s music and how are you circumventing them? 

With the increasing popularity of social media and a large number of musicians breaking out through viral videos on Reels and YouTube, we often find many artists believe they can follow suit and put out their release without a marketing strategy. Distribution and marketing are inextricably linked, in an already over-saturated market it’s more important than ever to ensure artists implement a proper marketing strategy when releasing their music. Horus Music India provide a number of marketing services from Playlisting to bespoke digital PR packages to help support artists and create a clear direction for their music.

The industry has seen a recent increase in content ID abuse, with artists receiving samples/beats/riffs from producers or websites distributing non-exclusive beats to ten different artists, all of whom use the same beats and upload it to YouTube, violating their fair use policy. This can often mean we’re unable to distribute to content ID systems including YouTube Content ID which can lead to artists limiting their reach.

In India, music rights are still controlled by labels, making it difficult to obtain a licence for cover music. As licenses aren’t readily available for artists to purchase in Indian territories, artists often submit their tracks without a licence which can result in infringements from the label.

Our ‘Music Distribution Simplified’ is an ongoing project which educates artists and labels on topics such as selecting the correct distributor, going the DIY route, marketing & promotion plans, music rights and why it’s crucial to keep them, royalty payments, and preparing for a release. We continue to educate our artists through webinars, regular blog posts and social media, providing honest and transparent advice to help successfully pave their careers as an independent artist.

What sort of trends can we anticipate in music?

Trends within the music industry come and go very quickly. Currently, within music tech, companies are focused on NFTs and Web3 and we have been approached by numerous companies in this space proposing collaborations with our artists and offers to create NFTs. However, the hero of the hour is the new wave of content creators who radiate a strong and positive do-it-yourself attitude, inspiring and encouraging us to keep doing our jobs.

What are the sort of technologies are you dependent on in terms of pushing music discovery in India?  

As distributing music digitally is now readily available to anyone, Horus Music’s direct partnerships with DSP’s mean we cut out the middle man and are able to drive our artists directly to our store contacts, providing more opportunities within services such as playlisting for independent artists aiming to get heard above the noise. Although social media has become heavily saturated, it still plays an integral role within music discovery especially through short format videos apps. Having remained closed off to independent artists for many years, radio and TV are now opening up to more independent music which is a great way to discover new releases and ensure our artists are heard.

How can music distribution transcend traditional platforms?

Short-format video platforms are running the social media space and home-grown apps such as Moj and Josh have been able to capture a significant market share. There is a lot of value in partnering with these apps and we are constantly working on expanding our distribution portfolio to include new opportunities for our clients at no extra cost. As the industry evolves to bring new opportunities forward for musicians, we try to remain a step ahead in securing deals which can directly benefit our artists and help them accelerate their career.

What’s next on the cards for Horus Music? 

This year we are focusing on expanding our partnerships and offerings for our artists and taking a deeper dive into what our clients are really looking for from their distributor. We are keen to play an active role in developing India’s independent music industry, whilst ensuring our artists have a real understanding of the technical works of music distribution from royalty payments to lead times and what to expect from the back-end process. We find a lot of companies fail to be transparent with their clients on major factors such as royalty reporting, so Horus Music has made it our priority to provide other distributors the chance to level up their offerings through our white label services. Our ‘My Client Zone’ technology allows distributors to offer their clients a dashboard to keep track of their music, daily analytics, monthly reporting, alongside many other features. We hope this will bridge the gap between the bigger companies and smaller regional players, ensuring that all independent artists have access to a dependable eco system. 

Our main objective for 2022 is to assist independent artists in breaking into the worldwide market. We’ve secured success putting regional content on international playlists and bringing some of our artists, such as Nigavithran, Namit Das+Anurag Shaker, and Seasonal Affected Beats (Tarun Balani), to online events such as Liverpool Sound City. We’ve been hard at work developing new distribution and marketing packages suitable for artists of all levels and hope to continue to meet our clients’ needs as we expand.

Visit Horus Music for more details

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