| 24 Feb 2024
Artist management in India is still in a nascent stage says MixtapeÆs Naveen Deshpande

Naveen Deshpande, founder of artist and event management agency- Mixtape, has watched the company grow gradually over the last few years. From starting out with just artist management, the Mumbai-based firm has gone on to explore other areas of the indie music industry, and recently celebrated its fifth anniversary. In an interview with, Deshpande, who has worked in the event and music industry for quite a while now, talks about Mixtape’s growth, artists and upcoming plans.


Mixtape celebrated five years, in five cities with five gigs. How big a challenge was it putting everything together?

It was not really a big challenge as such. We work around the year with all the venues where we did the showcase and they are all very supportive about everything we do.


How many people did you plan to reach out to through these gigs?

The idea was to invite everyone to come for the showcase gig so that they could check out the artists. We kept the entry free for all the shows and had about 300 people on an average for each of our shows.


What are the challenges in organising a free entry event?

Our showcase gig, in particular, was part of the Mixtape 5 year anniversary celebration and we wanted everyone who has worked with us in the past to attend the event, hence the entry was free. In a general scenario we keep our events ticketed.


Many musicians think music should be free. Do you share that opinion?

If you look at it, a musician puts ‘x’ number of hours and ‘y’ amount of money in making an album. I feel it is fair to ask for a price for all the hard work any musician puts in. The reach with giving your music away for free is definitely large, but there are smarter ways to engage people in buying your music.


Has India grown out of the free ticket tendency for the live market?

We are yet to develop a ticket buying culture. I feel it is very important to buy tickets for any kind of event. Sponsors can cover only a certain part of the expense but the main revenue is generated through buying tickets. Good turnout with purchased tickets will also encourage promoters and will help in the growth of the live events sector.


How much has Mixtape grown over the last five years?

We started off as an artist management company, which still remains our forte and over the five years we have branched out to doing events/productions, bookings for more than 60 artists across genres and for various clients, including corporate giants and created tours for Indian/international artists across the globe.


How many artistes have you signed for Mixtape since its establishment?

We manage 9 artists exclusively, which include Monica Dogra, Indus Creed, Whirling Kalapas, Scribe, Bhayanak Maut, Frame/Frame, OX7GEN, Donn Bhat + Passenger Revelator, and Sky Rabbit, and book over 60 artists non-exclusively across genres.


How many more artistes do you plan to sign this year?

We recently signed Frame/Frame and are in talks with a few more artists.

What has Mixtape’s unique feature been all these years, which differentiates you from other companies?

Artist management in general in India is still in a nascent stage and I feel every company existing in this space has done a tremendous job towards their artists. I do not really see any differentiation. In fact, I am proud to call the others my colleagues.


What kind of response have you got for Ground Kontrolle?

We have received great support from the industry. In fact, Ground Kontrolle is the first ever lighting and AV design company in India, and we already have a big set of clients within three months of our launch.


What other plans do you have for Mixtape in the near future?

We are working on developing our own IPs. We are working towards brand tie-ups for our artists and our IPs. We plan to expand our artist roster by 2016 and look forward to get a horde of amazing artists for tours in India.