Soumini Sridhara Paul: ‘Monetisation is platform and consumer dependent’

If there’s anyone who has successfully turned their passion into a profession, it’s Soumini Sridhara Paul. Now a veteran at Hungama Artist Aloud, Paul once graced national television screens performing on the Doordarshan show ‘Magic Lamp’in fifth standard. Already then, she knew music was perhaps going to be a constant in her life. In college, she was part of a band called Scream before being signed onto Crescendo Music as an artist and then transitioning to the corporate side in Universal Music’s marketing team. This was followed by a stint at Channel [V] and then an executive producer gig on ‘Amul STAR Voice Of India -2’.

For more than a decade, Paul has actively contributed to Hungama’s growth, now spearheading several verticals. As Senior Vice President in Hungama Digital Media, she leads Hungama Artist Aloud, a talent and independent content platform; Hungama Kids, a platform for kids across age groups. She’s also overseeing Operations and Content Development for Hungama YouTube as well as special content creation and event IP projects for Hungama including brand solutions and CSR initiatives.

Music Plus caught up with Paul to discuss her journey and vision for Artist Aloud, and the state of the country’s music industry.

With content becoming democratic, has that extended to monetisation for artists today?

Monetisation is platform and consumer dependent. An artist may have the freedom to create his/her own content in a democratic manner but there will always be a dependency of a platform on which the artist can generate revenue. The extent of that revenue is of course dependent on the popularity of the artist and the content.

Do you have advice for artists who are not social-media-inclined?

The definition of social media today has expanded beyond just a few apps. There is a social connect in every form of content and platform. For those artists who are not social media inclined, it is necessary for them to be realistic in their expectation towards their approach to popularity. I meet artists very often who are not comfortable with social media and not very active on them either but they compare themselves with artists who are popular and active on social media. The fact of the matter is that an artist has to make himself approachable today to be approached.

What are some of the ways independent music can be monetised by artists?  

Artists have been able to generate revenue through their Independent Music through streaming platforms. While the growth over the last two years has been promising, it is necessary to note that an artist has to look at the music as a marketing tool for his/her art and style that keeps him/her alive in the audience’s mind. Releasing new content helps build fans leading to growth in the artist community which in due course can help build an influencer model for the artist. So, while there may not be direct increase in value for the music, there is definitely direct growth in the artist equity.

Why should artists sign with you guys? 

There are several reasons why an artist should sign with us. We totally respect an artist’s creativity and believe that the artist knows best what their sound is. The artist retains the copyright of the content and is only providing a license for distribution. We are very diligent about processes, paperwork and payments. We offer marketing services to artists that help them grow their image and fan following through various touch-points including placements, PR, Social amplification, etc. We have been around for more than a decade and we are committed to grow this ecosystem which has helped us partner with one of the biggest radio platforms in the country, BIG FM along with bringing in new initiatives which we will be announcing soon.

Artist Aloud started with 30 artists. What’s your roster like today?

Since 2010, when Hungama Artist Aloud launched with 30 artists, we have had more than 2,000 artists who have been associated with the platform across content distribution, IPs, branded initiatives and events. We consciously never signed artists exclusively as we wanted to work with the entire industry and give them opportunities for various projects initiated by us or for those we partner with. We have recently entered the influencer space and are gradually expanding our talent offering and services across all forms of talent, and not limited to music.

Could you tell us about all the services offered today by the company?

Hungama Artist Aloud launched as a platform offering distribution as it was part of Hungama Digital Media and we believed that with 30 artists we could gain attention from the mainstream media to get support just like Bollywood.

However, in 2010, the independent scene from a commercial perspective did not exist. We were the first ones to believe and build a business around it. Today, Artist Aloud has been instrumental in building an ecosystem for the independent space where we offer content distribution, content aggregation, marketing services, social amplification, influencer marketing, talent booking and event IPs and a co-owned IP on Radio in partnership with BIG FM.

What’s on the horizon?

We have three to four exciting initiatives planned before 31st of March, 2022 but they are still in the works. All I can say is that we complete 12 years on 7th Jan, 2022 but we have only just begun.

For more details, visit Hungama Artist Aloud 

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