| 18 Apr 2024
Jammin' with Qyuki's Samir Bangara: The process behind project's instant success
Samir Bangara
Samir Bangara

MUMBAI: Art is creating something out of nothing, and selling it, right? Well, did Qyuki create something (Jammin) out of nothing (per se)? That’s debatable for various reasons, but the agency has surely managed to sell its latest creation – a series of collaborations between established musicians of the digital and Bollywood space. Three weeks since the release of the first collaboration under the Jammin project, the initiative has crossed four million views through the three videos uploaded on the respective YouTuber’s channels.

The collaborators include established music producers like Salim-Sulaiman, Mithoon and Clinton Cerejo, names that have acted as catalysts and provided the necessary push. Seven more videos will be uploaded till November 2016, and it’s safe to conclude that the collective views would surpass popular imagination. How did these YouTube ‘stars’ manage to garner as many views in a matter of days? Shraddha Sharma’s most viewed video took five years to amass twice as many views compared to her latest collaboration with Mithoon. Know more about the analysis, science and the thought process behind Qyuki's latest project Jammin' in an exclusive interview that's Suhas Thobbi had with one of the company's founders - Samir Bangara.

How has the response for 'Jammin' been so far?

With every track, the views are improving. The views are much more, there’s a gap with what’s showing and real-time views.

Such a concept had never been tested in India earlier. So how do you know what to expect?

We have a good sense of what to expect, a good sense of numbers. And the numbers have blown past our expectations. These numbers in three weeks is a huge deal, not easy at all.

Why did you decide to exclusively launch on these stars’ channels?

The idea was to be a lot more open and democratic. If we had uploaded the videos on the Qyuki channel, we would have hijacked their views to build our own channel.

But that wouldn’t have been technically unfair, right?

There are two ways to think about it. It’s, maybe, the norm for the owner of the project to upload the videos. But we are pushing the artiste through this idea. None of our talents have Qyuki logos. The consumer is not the audience, the creator is our audience. We thought this was the fair way of doing it. Qyuki is creator-centric.

At the end of the day, you need to promote Qyuki in some way. What options did you use?

 All our offline activities are Jammin’ related. We are promoting Qyuki indirectly, of course. Qyuki Music is for those who don’t have channels, and want a one-off thing. If anyone has their own channel, we encourage them to put content on their Youtube channels. There’s a channel called Jammin and it will have the playlist. Jammin also has a website. So even if you go through the channel, the views get transferred to the artist’s channel. It’s a different thought process.

What was your idea of success for the first two weeks?

Reaching a million views in a week was our definition of success. But we did that in a day or two. Marketing effort is essential. Or else, the artistes would have done all of this by themselves. Shraddha Sharma recently said she would have never got access to Mithoon otherwise. These music directors have a long list of artistes asking them to listen to their music. Qyuki manages all of this for the artiste. We give them a different level of access.

What is Qyuki’s gameplan?

Qyuki is building a media company that is grounded in digital. We are not building a digital media company. Our ambitions were never only to be on digital, but all travel paths will start there and it will cover all forms of media after that. All beginnings will happen on digital. Jammin starts with digital, has a live event. In future, we will have TV or radio partnerships as well. We are creating a presence on all other platforms.

We did another format called Project X, sponsored by Mercedes, now aired on TLC and another show called Boss Dada on NDTV Prime. All traditional media worked in a particular pyramid format where, at the bottom was film content, then TV content, then live entertainment, and then came digital. Digital was the home for the old content. Qyuki has turned the pyramid upside down.  It’s a reverse osmosis, beginning from a digital thought of every content. Using analytics, we discover the scale of the content. Upon further analysis, we figure out other possibilities regarding the same content. For example, now, Shraddha is managed lived by Qyuki.

We call it the inverted media pyramid, starting with digital and then going through other media. The business model is online to offline. There’s no business enhancement for offline to online. Recording a gig and putting it online would not manage as many streams. Going online to offline is interesting - once you have discovered what’s working online, you can make that work offline. Youtube stars have better search results than traditional singers putting out songs online. We start digital, go live, and then go to TV.
The more popular Shraddha or Sanam are online, more the possibility of booking them offline.

What has been the most Jammin’-related search online?

Two weeks ago, Bob Marley’s Jammin’ appeared whenever one searched ‘Jammin’ on YouTube. Now, if the user searches for 'Jammin’, our videos appear at the top. Managing content in the format that digital understands is where Qyuki excels at. If we don’t manage our content with Jammin, we won’t be able to market it offline. The search-ability of the content is essential, these are finer aspects of analysis that we focus on. Technology and distribution on multiple platforms are key factors.

Marketing on TV is easy. You get a flat rate for a 9 pm slot and you pay for it. There’s no rocket science in it. In the digital world, it’s a bit more complicated.  Digital marketing is all about understanding technology. The first 36-48 hours are very important. Those are the birthing hours. We upload the songs on their YouTube channels, we optimise it.

Anybody who logged in on 25 August and subsequently seven days later, would see Jammin' as the masthead. 

So how does Qyuki generate revenue from these talents or IPs?

Apart from the obvious revenue generation, organic advertising – branded content brings money. Shraddha Sharma did the Colgate project. Our IPs like Project X keep generating the revenue for the agency. The YouTube sales team sold a big ticket sponsorship model of Jammin' to brands. Signature did a master-class as a part of the project. Even Airtel would be executing projects as part of the partnership. These two are funding Jammin’ properties.

Our job did not end with getting the talent together for Jammin’. We optimised their content too.

Has Jammin’ opened up an alternative to reality talent hunt shows for musicians to showcase their talent?

Well, by doing something like Jammin’, if we have helped 5000 artistes get discovered, then that’s fantastic. The format for the first Jammin’ concept is a celebration format. We would like to do many more things. We are also open to talent hunts.

Youtube is so large that it can’t go on to a microscopic level to find talent. That is why Google and YouTube have set these spaces. Google is in the business to power content, not create it.

What could the upcoming editions of Jammin' look like?

Music is the largest segment, but not the only segment for Qyuki. Jammin’ would be heading to south India soon. However, we can provide more information only when the time is right.

There will be other formats of Jammin’. Collaboration was just one form of Jammin’. We are exploring more ideas. The current Jammin’ is a celebration format. If we can have a Jammin’ talent hunt, why not?

What more can you tell us about the main event at NSCI for Jammin’? 

Oranjuice Entertainment will be organising the grand event at NSCI Mumbai. The YouTube and Bollywood musicians involved in Jammin' would come together to perform their respective collaborations. 

Jammin' main event will be held at NSCI Mumbai on 11 November 2016.