The concept of a pop band has been successfully explored, time and again, by the music industry. The audience has been receptive to it and some of the boy bands have maniacal fan following.
From the Jackson 5 to Boyz II Men or Backstreet Boys to One Direction, these bands have set new records for sales. In India, the pop band concept was explored to the hilt during the 1990’s Indi-Pop hysteria. Silk Route, A Band of Boys, Euphoria and the lot took centre stage.
Circa 2010, 4 young boys set out on a journey to become the biggest pop band of India. They, Sanam Puri, Samar Puri, Venky S and Keshav Dhanraj, christened themselves as SANAM.
The boys started off with 2 albums of original music titled – ‘SQS Supastars’ on Times Music and ‘Samar-Sanam’ on Saregama. Later, they created their own YouTube channel.
“We put up a few videos of us rehearsing popular Bollywood tracks at the time. We uploaded our music videos covering old hits in our own style. This got the ball rolling for us. We realised that YouTube was an excellent platform for a band like ours,” said Samar Puri.
Taking the Indian pop band global
The internet is now the key to the global stage. While the key is available, the door still needs to be unlocked. SANAM and team have been extremely successful in this regard too. They have utilised the internet to build a personal connect with their fans. The boys do a live chat whenever they have a song/video release. Their team shares their personal pictures while on the road for a show or just chilling out.
“We don’t have an elaborate strategy per se. We do what is comfortable for us. So the growth has been purely organic. We try to be as consistent as possible with our releases on our channel SANAM,” elaborated Venky S.
Along with other social media and streaming platforms, YouTube has been instrumental in providing upcoming artists the required eyeballs to project their talent. The band carries the tag, ‘YouTube Sensations’, due to the millions of views their videos gather regularly.
Highlighting about this, Keshav Dhanraj asserted, “The platform has helped us build a subscriber base slowly but surely right from the get go. I’m sure it would have been a different for us if not for YouTube so we’re grateful for our journey so far.”
Adding, “With YouTube, there are no gatekeepers. So to be successful, you need to have good content, consistency & perseverance.”
Monetising the fame
The fame garnered through social media has to be milked. The age of physical sales is all but over. The online popularity has be converted into digital and concert tickets sales to sustain as a band. The various spheres of music marketing converge into developing the pop band into a brand. Monetising the views, likes, streams and followings is what the ‘5TH SANAM’, Ben Thomas does. He and his team at Kurian & Co. Talent Management plan the year according to the band’s musical/creative direction.
“The role of management is very crucial for an artist’s growth. Ben has played a very vital part at every step to keep us motivated and opening up avenues,” opined Sanam.
Apart from his management, Ben ensures the boys are focussed on their music. He has developed an environment where every member is open to new ideas, criticism, acknowledges and respects each other.
“All said and done, it is most important to forgive each other for errors. We have to be uplifting and kind to each other through disagreements or tough times,” advised Ben.
The pop band has its pot brewing with a lot of exciting new projects. They have, along with five global artists, partnered with the International Cricket Council for the Cricket World Cup 2019’s fan anthem. Apart from this, there are new renditions, collaborations and an album with original music in their pipeline. Their focus is on their upcoming tours & performances.
“Live concerts are where it is at. True musicianship, the scope for improvisation. As entertainers the ability to surprise a crowd and get them involved in the performance is a test for us,” asserted Venky.
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