| 24 Feb 2024
Live Viacom's Jaideep Singh talks about VH1 Supersonic, business ideas and more

MUMBAI: At the second edition of The Exchange, senior vice president and business head of Viacom 18 Media Pvt Ltd., (Viacom) Jaideep Singh joined counterparts from five other organisations on the first panel to speak about 'the real story' of how music has evolved in numbers in an emerging market like India. The entire panel agreed unanimously on how 'behaviour' plays a vital role in the growth of any business. 

Speaking to on the side lines, Jaideep explained Supersonic's two years journey so far, and his expectations for 2016. 

How has Live Viacom grown through the years?

When you are building a brand, there are certain aspects- one of them is focusing on marketing. We had around 160 events last year, whereas this year we'd end up with around 300+ events. So we have almost doubled our scale. The number of cities in 2014 was around 12 to 14. We have improved in this respect  also, with 25 to 30 cities as our possible targets in 2016. All our IPs have expanded in terms of scale and finance. We have seen Skrillex, Above and Beyond, Slash, Rudimental this year and that explains our growth. Not just genres, we are working on getting newer sounds so as not to become repetitive. While we should bring mainstream musicians, we have focused on promotion genres and sub-genres. 


 So does dedicating an entire festival restricted to one genre not allow certain projects grow as fast as Supersonic?

No, what I am saying is it is important to bring mainstream artists, but it is also important to bring the artists playing other genres and sounds. For example, in the electronic genre, you have bass, techno, house. So we take one genre and try expanding it, which is what we did with electronic and something we would do for Rock and Comedy. 

Dance music is acknowledged a lot more in India. Do you see the same pattern continue in 2015?
For our events this year, Skrillex had 12000 fans, Slash had 7000 and more or less, same for Above and Beyond.

 Explain the concept of promoting IPs through colleges.
The strategy is to pick new markets, markets that haven't been discovered yet. The more the markets I explore, the bigger is my brand. 

How has the growth of Supersonic come about?

The heart of any festival is the line-up, then comes the experience, and then infrastructure. In all three counts, Supersonic’s line-up became larger and bigger. Adding to it, the production went to the next level. Larger line up, stuck to the core, addressed all genres and that's how we have been growing. For this edition, we had Disclosure, Zed and Axwell.  Apart from that, we have got the Supersonic App. It has all the festivals across the globe. It is the world of EDM in an app. People can make their playlists. There is going to be a big technology angle, in terms of transaction, experience, whereas, in terms of productions and logistics, new levels of upgrades sre expected

 Please share your views on single window clearance.

I personally engage with a lot of state-related organisations and I have seen there has been a keen interest towards it. People are looking forward to real work. Whether it's Maharashtra or Goa or Delhi, the mind set has changed on the political and bureaucratic front and the process of getting permission is easier. There is no radical change yet, but the movement towards a change has started

Would the year 2016 see Live Viacom giving more importance to certain genres?

We are ideating. We will follow what is catching up and we'll carry it from there. It's essential to understand and grasp the genre that is going to be the next trend. After doing a lot of shows, bringing new genres and sounds in the music space, we want to continue being the first mover in that direction and find talents on the way. Spotting trends is where the success lies. 

European countries and USA festival organisers stepped up their security protocols. Has Live Viacom taken extra steps to ensure Security and safety?

One should never be satisfied with what you have. We do some events globally as well. We got a very strict proper documented security. We ensure we have 30 to 40 percent higher personnel than demanded. We have got people from South Africa and Israel 

What has been highlight of the year for Live Viacom?

So far, Skrillex was one of the biggest tours India has seen. He went to 4 cities. So, in terms of scale, I'd say Skrillex. MTVi Extreme with Slash was iconic. People felt rock is dying, and to see such a huge response was overwhelming. In that regards, Slash was the highlight. 

More IPs, bigger ambitions are expected. Have new sponsors joined in for the Supersonic events?

We have the key sponsors already in the face of Millers and Hungama with a multi-year deal. Adding to that, this season will have 4 or 5 new incomings. Supersonic’s season ends in March, so we are expecting more sponsors to join.

 Are there any new trends that Viacom would like to explore for 2016?

We have explored almost all genres. But we need to do a lot on kids and comedy categories. ‘Emerge’ brand also needs bit of push, and we are working on that.

Do you expect Supersonic Campus Nights to get bigger in 2016? 

We collaborate with 50-70 colleges, every year. In this year, we have done that with 30 colleges so far. As the season ends in March, 40 more colleges are left for the next three months.

Would Live Viacom collaborate with MTV FLYP for live events?
Wherever there's a possibility, we work on it. Whenever a partner needs assistance, we will be there. 

Would MTVi Xtreme continue to be multiple city IP?

Yes. That brand could also see a bit more extension next year.

What are the additional new features for Supersonic Goa?

Production on-stage and delivery will be top notch. As I said before, we are going to focus on the three pillars.

 Event organisers are tying up with NGOs and cab services for a better experience for the fans. Have any similar additional elements have been considered?

We have few arrangements in place and we will announce them soon.

 How has the organisation grown in this calendar year?

It has had a100 percent year on year growth in all IPs, overall business, revenue streams as well as investments, and the number of events. 
2013-14 saw an impressive 100 percent growth, 2014-15 saw us grow at same pace

 As an organiser of large-scale events, what are the general complications you face and how do you overcome them?

Well, there are lengthy processes which can be resolved. We have professionals in place who ensure every rule is followed. Although, there are few policy related things that need to be addressed, speak to the governments to make processes easier. If you follow processes correctly, you can manage your space. I have not found any major stumbling block yet, although the process is tedious.