RadioandMusic
| 21 Aug 2019
Soumini Sridhara Paul: "Artist Aloud will continue to innovate"

As pioneer digital platform Artist Aloud (AA) nears its third anniversary, it has succeeded in establishing itself as a byword for the country’s indie music.

Backed by Hungama Digital Media Entertainment, a major online music site, AA has a number of properties- TGIRF, RockStock, LaunchCast and New This Week. And with the recent boom in indie music, AA has stepped up its innovation in promoting new talent and content. To make the site financially feasible and make it worthwhile for the artists, AA is tapping into multiple revenue streams. It has also partnered television players like CBS Spark and TATA Sky for content telecast. It is also holding talks with music channels 9XO and Vh1.

While the road ahead is long and many challenges lay ahead, the platform continues to innovate and expand to attract fans of non-Bollywood music, potential investors and partners. Radioandmusic.com caught up with AA’s associate VP Soumini Sridhara Paul on the indie scene and Artist Aloud.

Excerpts:-

How did Artist Aloud come in being?

Artist Aloud was not started to make money but provide a platform for indie artists to make themselves heard. By providing such a platform, artists could now work on their craft, while AA looked after the promotions. We work with the artists and vice versa. The raison d’?tre of the AA is to connect artists and their music without interfering with their creativity and moderate the content.

What are the changes you have seen since AA’s launch in 2009?

Indie music is back and is here to stay. Now anybody who can sing and play a chord is making music. The boom in indie music has also revived the importance of the Artist & repertoire (A &R) professional or talent scout of the music industry. We want to work hand in hand with our artists and take it to another level.

As a platform, what does AA offer to artists?

We take artists to all touch points in the digital, apps and mobile platform, giving them access to technology.

AA had no binding contract with artists which prevents them from signing with a label and the site’s revenues are shared with them also. What AA does is formatting and content production. 

What are the revenue streams for AA?

To make the site financially feasible and make it worthwhile for the artists, AA has partnered television players like CBS Spark and TATA Sky for content telecast. We have also recently announced our ‘LaunchCast’ property that shows videos of artists recording and performing their songs. We need to keep (developing) formats in mind to keep the music alive. Financially the site is attracting all kinds of revenue. We are investing in things people may not understand. The most successful model is also a way of life.

What is the status of the music industry in general and where does AA come in the picture?

In reality, there are only around 20 known artists in the industry and the rest of the indie talent are there for listeners to discover. What AA did was that it revived the space for non-film music in a structured manner. For consumers, now they have a choice of how and where they want to consume the content.

The current boom in indie music has encouraged more artists to come up with new material and styles.

Some key achievement in these three years that takes you down the memory lane?

Some of the key achievements of Artist Aloud is our ability to constantly innovative and evolve that has resulted in media and brands associating with us. Most unique out of them include the properties WebCert and Music Day which were not only unique in its conceptualization but were also unique in execution. With some of the biggest talents associating with us we were able to bring technology to entertainment and vice-versa. In the year 2012, we did what no other player in the independent music scene is doing, which was creating chat shows, unplugged performances and artist profiling on the digital space. We believe this has been one of the biggest catalysts for digital becoming synonymous to independent music.

What have been the major hurdles/ challenges in getting AA where it is today?

Hurdles and challenges are there in every business today. You can be a brand who has been around for years or someone absolutely new, the challenges of capturing the user’s attention is always of prime importance and as hard. As far as Artist Aloud is concerned we always knew that this is a long tail business and it will need to continue being invested into. We have knowingly been very prudent with our budgets and we know that in the long run this will prove fruitful to us.

Where do you see the future of Artist Aloud?

The next two-three years will be the defining moment for Artist Aloud. Our focus is on building Artist Aloud across all possible digital touch points now and in the future where in Artist Aloud becomes a way of life and people can decide how they want to consume its content. We also plan to go beyond music as Artist Aloud does not restrict the word Artist only to music. But of course for us it will always be Music First.