One Big Idea by Pawan Jailkhani: Why we think Indipop may not be beyond salvaging

11 Feb,2013

By Pawan Jailkhani, Chief Revenue Officer, 9X Media Group


Music is one of the oldest genres in the Indian television space. What started out as a two-channel category has now grown to about 60 national and regional music channels of which Hindi music forms a formidable chunk. Today, these channels are dishing out back-to-back movie songs, but their airtime was once ruled by the Indian pop music fraternity.


The early 90s were a defining period for the Indian music industry with artistes like Alisha Chinai, Anaida, Baba Sehgal and Lucky Ali becoming household names; but they faded into oblivion just as quickly as they rose. Many believe that the age of Indipop has passed for good; but has it? Every now and then, an album by the likes of Kailash Kher, Sonu Nigam, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan or the Pakistani group Strings makes us wonder. So here are six reasons why we think the genre may see resurgence:


1. Limited opportunities in Bollywood: A deluge of talent hunt shows has provided the platform to showcase India’s talent but has not provided the means to sustain them. While some break into Bollywood, the rest are left high and dry. Associating with fellow talent could help these artistes carve out a space for themselves.


2. Technological advantage: What once led to the industry’s downfall could well be its saviour. Social media, video sharing sites, online releases and viral popularity (eg Kolaveri Di) can be tapped to reach audiences.


3. Different people, different tastes: Global exposure and access to variety has led to immense fragmentation. There is a market for everything as long as the talent is good and differentiated.


4. Digitization: As digitization grows, disparity in distribution will diminish, compounding the need for differentiation among music channels. Finding and supporting new talent could be the next wave in the industry.


5. Independent artistes and bands: Many Indian rock bands and independent talent have developed a loyal fan base in their geographies. A music video could give them the exposure for national and even international recognition.


6. Copyright Bill: The new copyright bill makes it possible for artistes to generate royalty revenues from multiple avenues. This should generate more confidence in the industry’s ability to survive.




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