Indian music industry finds a lucrative revenue stream in social media

Music industry is using social media to create virality, conversations, advtg opportunities, branded content & much more...

e4m by Priyanka Nair
Updated: Apr 22, 2013 8:32 PM
Indian music industry finds a lucrative revenue stream in social media

When Bono, an Irish singer, musician, venture capitalist and humanitarian, said that “Music can change the world because it can change people”, little did he know that music enthusiasts and creators would take his thought a bit too seriously and surge way ahead to promote their tunes in their social media communities.

Today, social media networks have developed huge consumer bases, which are being used by businesses by setting up channels and feeds to engage with customers. Moreover, music is one of the most engaging topics of discussion on social networks globally.

2012 was the year of discovering music in India - consumers finally showed some indication of broadening consumption beyond Bollywood as other genres showed vibrancy. Sean Paul, Enrique Iglesias, Swedish House Mafia, Guns N Roses were few artists who visited India last year. Thanks to social media, conversations around these events not only built up excitement among the fan base, but also expanded the popularity of these artists through these events.

More and more independent artists have been able to find an audience and also monetise their content, albeit in a small way, because of social. These days, Hindi films extensively push their title songs via social media to get instant response.

Considering the noise that social media is creating because of these different tunes, exchange4media spoke to leading music companies and also analysed music-based programmes to understand the ways in which this industry is leveraging the social media platform in their marketing plans...

To create ‘virality’
‘Kolaveri Di’ is one the best examples of how an Indian music label, Sony Music, took a risk and clicked with viral marketing. The idea was simple, but strategic. Shridhar Subramaniam, President, Sony Music - India and Middle East believes that the way music is being consumed has changed drastically over the years.

“The consumption pipeline is a long chain; it begins with the discovery stage. From radio in the earlier days to television to now online platforms like YouTube, the point of discovery of music has changed. Secondly, where are you experiencing music before actually buying it? That has also changed from the Walkman to television to now again mainly on online platforms. Lastly, comes where do you actually buy your music? The days of going to a record store and buying your favourite music has almost diminished, then you had the phase where you could order music online or on your mobile phone via IVRS,” said Subramaniam.

Sony Music’s current project with Eros Entertainment, ‘Go Goa Gone’, has tremendous potential of becoming viral. The two songs that the label has released – ‘Slowly Slowly’ and ‘Khooni Monday’ – are trending on Twitter and have witnessed a great amount of streaming across different platforms. In fact, for ‘Khooni Monday’, the music label released the song on Sunday evening as the Monday blues set it. They also began a CPC campaign stating “if you hate Mondays, then you will love this song while on Twitter”. Their hashtag #KhooniMonday was trending.

Subramaniam further said, “We are the only ones investing around 15-25 per cent of our overall marketing budgets on social.”

To strike ‘conversations’
As per the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), around 67 per cent of social network users in 20 countries discuss music and movies. Apart from offering a wide variety of content ranging from songs, videos, audio juke boxes, trailers, etc., music labels have been building up a strong audience base on social networks like Google+, Facebook and Twitter, etc. Social platforms are also helping in co-creation and crowdsourcing of content.

Shekhar Kapur and AR Rahman launched their highly awaited social media platform, Qyuki, last year, which provides a platform for artists to share content, connect to people with similar creative interests, view creations from various other artists, and collaborate with them to create content.

Commenting on Hungama’s social strategies, Siddhartha Roy, Chief Operating Officer, Consumer Business and Allied Services, Hungama mentioned, “At Hungama, we have explored the medium beyond engagement. For us specifically, the medium also serves as a listening tool. We understand our fan base, their needs and try to deliver as much relevancy in our content and product experience. We make sense of the data and use it to enhance not just our advertising campaign, but also our core music service.”

“We also use social media to reach our consumers and resolve their issues if any. The medium ensures a two-way communication that is immediate. It is an important tool for customer relationship management. Besides this, we have also integrated social as a core feature in our music product - the App and the website. One can listen and share music their friends, and also check out what their larger social community is listening to,” added Roy.

To promote ‘branded content’
Seeking to capitalise on the longevity inherent to musical content, labels and event organisers are seeking to build enduring brands around music platforms, events and services. Several lifestyles brands are associating themselves with live music events and concerts in order to engage with target audiences and create an experiential property. Social media has become a breakthrough point of communication for these emerging marketing initiatives. These arrangements are made for long terms in order to unlock value.

According to the FICCI-KPMG Indian Media and Entertainment Industry report, brands contribute 60 per cent of revenues under a sponsorship arrangement. Properties such as Eristoff Invasion, Bacardi NH7 Weekender, The Great Indian Oktoberfest, and Sunburn have heavily used social media to build these properties extensively.

Coca Cola India’s ‘Coke Studio’ at MTV has established a dynamic music property that brings together diverse artists from different genres and countries to one platform and has set a benchmark for music lovers. The second season was the highest downloaded musical project across all platforms and is amongst the most successful and the highest ‘pre-booked’ album last year on Flipkart.

Similarly, Bacardi India’s ‘Dewarists’, a TV show, won bronze medal at Cannes Lion 2012 Awards for Branded Content and Entertainment category. The show’s official YouTube channel garnered over 1.7 million views, making it the top rated brand channel in the country at the time. Through distribution of the 10 collaborative tracks created during the show, Dewar’s India Facebook page generated over 3.2 million social engagements and over 120,000 downloads.

To build ‘advertising opportunities’
According to the FICCI-KPMG Indian Media and Entertainment Industry report, technological innovation, coupled with creativity and innovation in marketing, is playing a huge role to help these music websites stay in the game. For instance, the website iMusti is offering advertisement free music for seven days for signing up or login through Facebook, followed by a paid model if the customer wishes to continue.

Social music streaming service Dhingana is focusing on social media marketing. It claims to have witnessed growth of more than 600 per cent in terms of registered users in Q1 2012, mainly due to integration with Facebook. Apart from social networking features, it also offers users a personalised music recommendation service. The service allows users to listen to music their friends are listening to, create a music playlist, share it with an online community and get their feedback.

The report also stated that in the near future, brands are expected to drive music properties and create an enriching experience that drives the audience and is at top of the mind for brand recall. Adopting new revenue models in order to generate new revenue streams, music companies are now embracing various digital distribution models and licensing content to online music services.

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