For us, brand integration comes first: Manpreet Singh Kochar, Founder, A&M Studio

Kochar shares his visions for A&M studio and some the of challenges that the Indian music industry is currently grappling with, including heavy dependency on film music

by Misbaah Mansuri
Published - Aug 22, 2018 8:55 AM Updated: Aug 22, 2018 8:55 AM

With a rich and diverse professional background of over two decades, Manpreet Singh Kochar has worked with the likes of KPMG, Coca-Cola, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Yes Bank and Times Group, to name a few. So it was only natural that when Kochar began working on his own talent management division firm, his past experiences of leveraging music as an effective consumer-marketing tool only helped him pave the way for his new venture. Just six months into this, and A&M Studio has now branched out into Dubai and Canada as well, and has managed to attract the attention of big brands. Kochar, Founder, A&M Studio, spoke to us about his plans for this new venture, the challenges that the industry is grappling with and more.

Edited excerpts:

Tell us about the genesis of A&M Studio? How has the journey been from starting off to registering as an IP?

Even when I was working in the telecom industry, we were doing a lot of work around music. We were doing road-shows with budding artistes. Music was an integral consumer tool to hold it all together. When I was working with a big FMCG brand, we did some high-powered tours. Back then, ‘Made In India’ was the first Indian song to make independent music popular in the country. We did close to 15-20 music concerts during that time.

For one of the BFSI segment properties, we connected with a set of singers and activated these with the customers. I’ve worked with a numbers of artistes, singers and actors. I have also been at the client’s side sponsoring the concerts. So these experiences and contacts only helped when I started my venture.

With A&M, it all began with some jam sessions which comprised 30 per cent professional singers and 70 per cent passionate ones, who are no less than professionals. Slowly, a community of singers came together. We added musicians and registered as an IP called ‘Fusion Nights’ which entailed 50-60 singers. Just six months and A&M Studio has now branched out to Dubai and Canada too.

How has the response from brands been?

The response has been great. We’re in talks with a leading toy brand and brands in the travel and tourism category. A brand which actively sponsors music is the liquor category with which we have already initiated talks, then there is also the microphone and headphones category. Our vision will be to add actors and movies to this going forward.

What is your visions for A&M?

For us, brand integration comes first. Media partners have been brought first. There is exclusive artiste representation and non-exclusive too. There are multiple singers who have been part of reality shows. The aim and vision is to tap the untapped talent which includes singers who are products, but haven’t become brands. We want to make it like the IPL of music. There’s a lot of mix and integration that will be going on.

Tell us about your collaboration with Fever 104 FM.

A&M Studio has collaborated with Fever 104 F.M and most of the singers of A&M Studios are associated with the Fever Unplugged program, which is hosted by RJ Urmin. This collaboration brings forward the singers of A&M studios on a one-on-one basis and promotes them on the channel.

What according to you are the challenges that the music industry is currently grappling with?

I feel that we need to get independent music back. What about independent artistes who don’t want to sing for the film industry but want to sing live or even on TV? It is about channelisation and a non-dependency on the film industry which need to be worked on first.

Tell us about your focus areas for the venture going forward.

10 years from now, we want to be an integrated international entertainment label. In the future, we will look at music concerts as well because 90 per cent of the industry revenue comes from live concerts and 70 per cent of the music industry is integrated within films.

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