The Exchange 2014 – What we learnt!

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With a power packed line up of speakers, The Exchange 2015 promises to be a memorable event, much like the first edition of the summit held last year.

In this article, we state some of the most notable things from the various discussions during the first edition of The Exchange.

1. The Changing Face of the Music Business – a 360 degree approach

• Changing Face of the business is the changing face of the artist.

• Internet has helped make music more powerful, taking music to even remote places.

• Important to get music out through ‘Playlists’ now. Industry is changing and music companies have to adapt accordingly and change their business model to suit the consumer of today.

• Publishing and streaming income supporting artists in the west now but Indian artists need to learn how they can benefit from it as well. No need to depend solely on income from Bollywood assignments.

• Infrastructure to support artists whether they started yesterday or 20 years ago – Managers, Trade Bodies, Associations for songwriters and musicians.

• Music system much more organised in the west and easier to survive as an artist.

• Music education becoming increasingly important – Have to get the fundamentals right.

• More opportunities in India now, more newcomers getting contracts and getting supported, music labels working hard behind the scenes.

2. An Insight Into The Live Music Business

• Live shows were much more random and disorganized earlier, scripted shows become the norm later and changed the game.

• Sunburn was formed with a very basic idea, hosting a big giant party that India had never seen. The founders were fortunate to get Carl Cox, Goa and the sponsorship money to work out just perfectly and Sunburn was created.

• System is getting better, people are aware that they have to pay more for a better experience and people are willing to pay.

• Delivery mechanism for music needs to be worked on. Better access for music will help improve the situation.

• Currently people paying more for the festival experience than the acts, however the situation is slowly changing and people are much more ‘artist aware’ and are ready to pay for their artists.

• Have to build the culture of going out on weekends. Curation is the key factor, someone needs to work on the artists, the sounds, the lighting etc.

• Not enough consumption for a particular genre to sell out nights every week at a club.

• As an international artist playing in India, you need to apply logic while deciding what to charge as a fee. Can’t be charging astronomical amounts to play on a Wednesday night at a club. Need to work with local partners in making shows successful.

• Internet bandwidth just not in place in India yet and that’s not a good thing since video consumption is going to drive the growth forward.

• Bollywood EDM fusion shows selling out as well which shows India as a market is ready to consume such content.

• Need more venues to support live music in India.

• Hindi independent bands growing in quantity and quality, need to support the great talent coming out of India since we’re doing events locally in India.

• Laws very difficult to follow if you’re running a bar in India. Laws related to alcohol (age limit and even absurd things like number of entrances and exits for a bar) would make bars go out of business and shut down if they were followed to the hilt.

3. Role of Artist Management Agencies

• College circuit has become very popular for gigs.

• Artist management agencies helping colleges curate their music events, acting as effective intermediaries.

• Agencies also helping colleges offset artist costs by helping them get sponsorships to cover the artist costs by brand partnerships.

• Getting the artists’ content out through as many channels as possible is becoming a priority.

• Artists must follow a basic checklist – Updating social media, getting merchandise out, getting music and videos out on a regular basis. Artists hoping to connect to the youth and increase their fanbase.

• Brands paying artists to influence their fan base via basic social media posts helping artists make a quick buck. Artist managers handling these deals as well.

• Role of agencies becoming more dynamic.

• YouTube, Bandcamp, SoundCloud have become effective marketing platforms for artists and vital to grow fanbase.

• To be successful artist managers, you must be able to manage bookings as well as work with the artists on their events.

If there’s one thing that the above material proves, its that whether you are a fresher or not in the music industry doesn’t matter, you have to make it a point to attend The Exchange.

If you still haven’t, you can register for the event here. You can also participate in the contest to win a chance to attend one of the biggest festivals in the UK, more details here.

Shantanu Puro
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