Manu Kaushish is an industry veteran having over two decades of experience in digital content monetization and distribution. He has played an instrumental role in bringing music from India into the digital world. He made history by entering into the first major digital monetization deal for Indian content on RealNetworks, paving the way for Indian music to be heard by audiences across the globe.
Manu Kaushish, President of Create Music Group India, has been featured once again on the prestigious Billboard International Power Players List. This is the second year in a row in which Manu has been recognized for his outstanding contribution to the music industry in India and on the global stage.
In a freewheeling Chat with Loudest,He talks about global music trends,market and more.Here are edited excerpts:
Q1.How different is the music industry in India versus the global markets?
The music industry in India has some unique characteristics that set it apart from global markets. India has an extremely diverse music culture and a wide range of regional languages; however the film industry has historically played a significant role in the discovery and consumption of music. Unlike the rest of the world, where genres like Pop and Hip Hop are more popular and profitable, film music continues to dominate the Indian music industry and accounts for the majority of the revenue.
Q2.Is India adapting to global music trends at a quick rate?
India has been adapting to global music trends at a quick rate – with a growing demand for Indie music and the adoption of music streaming platforms. 650 million Indians, nearly half the country’s population, are below the age of 25. Younger listeners are slowly but surely becoming the driving force to bring global music trends into the mainstream. I recently read an article by journalist Amit Gurbaxani who stated that 30-40% of the music that is streamed on Wynk is from independent artists. That is a massive change of the traditional listener base and will pave the way for more global trends to grow in the Indian music space.
Q3.How has the market evolved in the last 3 years and what is the current market growth present for Indian music partners?
During the pandemic, due to a reduction in the production of Bollywood films, there was a gap in new music content being released. This led to more independent music being created and it became more common for consumers to listen to Indies. The Indian music industry has also seen significant growth in the last three years, with the increasing adoption of music streaming platforms and digital music consumption. India is driving Spotify’s international expansion and is now in the top five territories in total users for the platform after just four years of operations. “Naatu Naatu” won at the Oscars and the Golden Globes. “Maan Meri Jaan” by King became a top-30 hit on Spotify through the volume of streams from Indian listeners.
This means that not only is the consumption changing, but the music being created is changing as well. At Create, we are receiving an increased number of incoming requests for Indian vocals, sounds and collaborations from global mainstream artists as well as Sync music requests from Hollywood Films and TV shows. I think that this trend will continue and accelerate in the future and we are well positioned to become a top provider for Indian music for Global licensing.
Q4.How has Create Music Group been growing in India and what are the future plans of the company?
With the acquisition of Nirvana, Create has acquired a great foothold in the Indian music market. Create saw tremendous growth in its music publishing business last year, serving over 100 billions streams on tracks including “Unforgettable” by French Montana and “Love is Gone” by Slander. International streams also doubled in our music distribution business on key platforms like Spotify. We already work with some of the world’s most prominent artists including Jennifer Lopez, Snoop Dogg and Tory Lanez and the goal is now to bring an Indian artist into an iconic global collaboration.
Q5.How has Nirvana Digital grown or benefited post the acquisition?
Nirvana Digital has benefited significantly from its acquisition by Create Music Group. The company has gained access to Create Music Group’s global network of partners including distribution on all major global audio platforms. The company has also been able to leverage Create Music Group’s expertise in the digital music space. Nirvana Digital is now one of the leading music distribution and rights management companies in India, one of the largest Enterprise Partners on YouTube and is well-positioned to grow its business in the coming years. We plan to continue to grow operations in India, focusing on building strategic partnerships and investing in local talent.