RadioandMusic
| 18 Sep 2021
Vinit Thakkar: "Digital is the core of Universal Music"

In the Indian music industry market, innovation and experimentation have been the two major challenges haunting for a very long time. Unfortunately, a few labels feared to take the risk but many have adopted to global trends and are raking in moolah. One of the major labels of the country, Universal Music, is extremely passionate on staying apart from the herd.

In order to tap the untapped audience through technology, Universal is determined to gain recognition and make a name in the music market for their digital trends. In a candid conversation with Radioandmusic.com, Universal Music digital vice-president Vinit Thakkar speaks about the technology-driven growth of the company, and shares his expertise on the challenges and future of music digitally.

Excerpts:

Shed light on the present scenario of Indian digital market?

In India, digital is growing around 30 per cent. India has been seeing a tremendous amount of action and activity in the digital space. In fact, some of the best innovations are coming out of this region.  India is definitely on the global map as far as the digital business is concerned.

How challenging it is to stay updated with  the market dynamics?

The digital landscape has changed significantly in the last 18-24 months, it is absolutely imperative to stay updated with the new technologies and platforms. We at Universal Music India are constantly engaging ourselves with technology and platform companies across the globe to keep ourselves abreast of the new developments. Also, one big advantage of being a big global player is that we are also introduced to new technologies by our global counterparts.

How do you plan to drive the growth of Universal Music digitally?

Digital undoubtedly is the key focus area for us. There are three focus areas which we have identified and we will drive all our energies and resources towards these areas. Firstly, our focus is to work actively and closely with all global and local accounts to increase our market share. Our big focus is also going to be working closely with brands by offering complete digital solutions. Lastly, we see a big opportunity in direct-to-consumer (D2C) business. We are aggressively developing our D2C platform which will be at-par with the world class D2C platforms.

What are the major areas that need to be focused upon?

In the context of the Indian market; working with the brands by offering complete digital solutions has not been tapped by most of the Indian music labels. We have been working closely with the brands for the last 18-24 months and have many success stories to share with one of the recent one's being the HP Connected Music.

Have telecom operated services helped label companies?

Yes of course, there have been many examples of Telco operated services outside of the CRBT which have grown vastly and have helped music labels. Last year, we had a great success with Airtel's My Song My Story which was a unique service and was strongly supported by Airtel. We think there is a great opportunity to launch telco services which are around the International Music. There is a ripe market for international music as we have seen increased consumption of International music (in the last 12 months) across many services like Nokia Music, iTunes and so on.

With merger of EMI with Universal, how will things by and large become challenging for you?

For the India and SAARC region, we have seen a seamless integration of the EMI teams with Universal. We think with this merger, we have a unique opportunity to leverage our strength in the International Music and be able to offer interesting products and services for both business to business (B2B) and D2C businesses.

Is Universal planning to focus more strongly on digital?

Universal has always been at the forefront of digital initiatives. Digital is the core of our business and all activities revolve around digital. I can confidently state that we are at least 9-12 months ahead of our competition in terms of digital initiatives and activities.

What is role of digital in music and India?

India is one of the few markets in the world where the contribution of digital music has surpassed the 50 per cent mark.

What is the future for music digitally?

My simple response to your question would be that the 'Digital is the future'. I guess this sums it up in terms of the importance of digital.