RadioandMusic
| 30 Nov 2021
Sound.com's journey from small gigs to Commonwealth Games

MUMBAI: The journey for Warren D'Souza with his company Sound.com started in 1998 and his first event he rented out sound equipment for was Valentine's Day. His memories of his first gig have not faded even a bit, "I did it for Rs 12,000. I clearly remember the sum and the moment the cheque came into the bank we spent the money for better cables," said D'Souza.

Sound.com, winner of best sound rental company three times in a row, was founded by D'Souza with only Rs 5000 in his pocket. The challenge back then for him was finance but now the focus of the company is brand building and brand equity. "The challenge in the 90s was finance and I boot strapped it until now. At that time you did not have the money to purchase the best equipment. That time my aim was to earn and help improve the products and services," he said.

The company grew organically and by 2002-2003, it started growing exponentially. "Unlike other companies, we were the only company who were not behaving like vendors but like service providers. At the time vendors did not change their business model and this helped me grow as we were very consumer oriented. I took services very seriously and that is how we were able to achieve what we have today." Initially, ‘Sound.com' started doing small gigs and functions in Gymkhanas, then rented music instruments for conferences, product launches, and concerts and so on. It also rents out equipment for television awards and film awards like Stardust and Filmfare. The budget of sound for any award function came be anything between in 2-6 lakh based on the production for awards.

The company has been associated with Filmfare and Stardust from 2006 and 2007 respectively and it continues even today. Founder and MD of Sound.com D'Souza said, "We have the ability to work with a property for a long period of time. I had done sound from the second edition of Sunburn. I have been with Sunburn during its major growth period- 2008, 2009 and 2010."

Today, the company has been associated with gigs for artistes like Sting (Jodhpur), Norah Jones (Delhi), Carlos Santana I F1 Rocks (Noida), Yanni (Colombo), Bryan Adams (Hyderabad), Armin Van Buuren (Mumbai and Goa), AR Rahman Symphony Tour (India), Avicii (Mumbai), Scorpions (Shillong), Paul Van Dyk (Mumbai and Goa), Tiesto (Mumbai), Pandit Ravi and Anoushka Shankar (Australia and New Zealand).

It also rents music instruments for festivals like Sunburn, NH7, The Big Chill Festival, SulaFest, Oman Tattoo (Military Music Festival, Oman) and so forth.

The company which has bandwidth to do a couple of festivals together, has in past few years reached a state where they only set-up the main stage and other stages on large-scale festivals. D'Souza added, "I always believe in allowing the locals to grow. They can be very helpful as they know the place and they help bail me out of situations and also help local companies to grow."

The turning point for the company was when it was selected for the Commonwealth Games. "The opening and closing ceremony of Commonwealth Games put us on the map. The country has never seen a global event as spectacular as this before. We are the only company from India to win the tender for audio in the Commonwealth Games as every other department was won by foreign companies and that was the biggest prize for me and Sound.com." Sound.com has been associated with IPL Opening Ceremonies 2013; World Economic Forum, Davos; India Calling, Hollywood Bowl, California and more.

Along with its traditional businesses, Sound.com plans to expand in other areas as well. The company is planning to develop a music property where the artistes come perform and it would be shoot. The company has also been conducting workshop for various clients. Sound.com conducts workshop for School of Audio Engineering, Digital Academy, and Event Management Association of India. Sound.com contributes to the community with such acts. "Most of the audio Engineering school' placement agency send their staff here. We have music schools from various parts of India sending their students here to Sound.com."