| 24 Feb 2024
We have one of the best collections of music in Punjabi, Bengali and Northeastern music: Mandar Thakur
(Photo Credit: Mandar Thakur's Facebook page)

MUMBAI: Every form of art thrives on patrons, since the time immemorial. Earlier the royal courts to music labels today, good music or art has always been given a solid platform, by the time relevant patrons. While the popular belief is that pop music has always found its way, it’s actually the regional music that holds a lion’s share in the market, and labels don’t shy from promoting it either.  One such music label is Times Music. In fact, it is not a glorification to attribute the label as the leaders in Regional Music.

“Times Music is one of the very few early national level labels with a macro and a micro-rooted vision of how the music industry will pan out over the next few years. Regional music has been in our blood way before it became a ‘cool’ must-have item,” says Mandar Thakur, COO, Times Music.

He also sites the reasons for regional music to be in such demand, “Digital and telecom expansion is already high and is going to be further very high in the regional markets. Look at Jio - their data play is a game changer by any global standards and has completely got Indian consumers hooked on data like humans need water. Connect those dots and you’ll get your answer.”

Being a part of the Times Group conglomerate, Times Music has always been the preferred choice for most of the artists and channels. The Chief points out the obvious and more, “I’d say, for most regional companies/ channels/labels we are the best option to collaborate. We aren’t film music obsessed and our global digital distribution and music publishing network, with a high level of marketing access (since we are housed in the Times Group), ensures a superb fit and compatibility with great regional companies and their ear for local music. Sensitivity to regional music is the key here. Today we have one of the best collections of music not only in Punjabi but even Bengali and Northeastern music.”

One such collaboration has been with Speed Records, the leading most Punjabi music medium. The YouTube channel, that is a collaboration between Speed Records and Times Music, has recently been acknowledged as the most sought-after regional channel and the first one with a subscriber base of jaw-dropping 10 million. Mandar shares his insights about the success of the collaboration, “Truth be told - it’s the incredibly talented team at Speed Records that’s hands-on from a creativity perspective. The talent that Speed Records signs on and market them loudly is a key factor that draws subscribers to the channel. Backed by Times Music’s industry grade understanding of YouTube’s back-end play and understanding of how the different elements come together within the YouTube ecosystem - we have a winner.”

He Further elaborates, “Times Music’s legacy has been breaking great music, great songs and working with amazing artistes. With the same spirit, we have collaborated with Speed Records to bring some monster Punjabi hits to a wider national and global audience. Punjabi music and culture have an intense vibrancy that is reflected in the artists and music coming out of the region today and is fast becoming a massive cultural choice for younger consumers similar to Bollywood. We are delighted to work with the incredibly talented team of Speed Records and the achievement of being the first ever regional music channel to cross 10 million subscribers on YouTube reflects that.”

Speaking about the presence of Punjabi Music, he says, “Punjabi hip-hop influences Bollywood endlessly and is the only genre after Bollywood with a high level of traction. Within that we are partnered with the best label there is in the region: Speed Records.”

While the word “Regional Music” encompasses a huge spectrum, folk music is a part of it, which possibly is waning out. Mandar shares a perspective about Times Music working towards Folk Music, “No one needs to give any attention to anything more than what they like, love and are capable of. It’s as truthfully simple as that. A music label is a business of passion first - it’s not a charity that every form of music needs to feed off. Secondly, there are experts and expert labels in every genre and I believe every label should focus on what they know and do best. Times Music and Speed Records as individual entities are successful for that reason.”