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Episode 14 (ft. Amit Gurbaxani): What India's music industry can teach us about paid YouTube views, musical regionalism and the productive uselessness of charts
Mumbai-based music journalist Amit Gurbaxani joins this episode to discuss the latest trends defining the Indian music business. We start by examining the implications of Amit's early reporting on Badshah and Sony Music India, who openly admitted to buying views on YouTube in order to "break" the platform's record for most views in the first 24 hours —a practice that YouTube formally banned shortly thereafter. We then expand to wider industry issues, including but not limited to how language might be more important than genre in determining an artist's success in the Indian music market; why the terms "non-film music" and "independent music" are both flawed in an Indian context; what the first-ever India charts for Spotify and YouTube, both launched this year, reveal about local music-industry trends; and why charts in general have always been meaningless — and why that isn't necessarily a bad thing. At the end, we discuss whether radio payola and record labels launched by film studios are overrated or underrated.
Garrison Snell, Founder & CEO of Gyrosity Projects, joins this episode to unpack the opportunities and challenges that independent music marketers face in the modern industry landscape. We discuss the ongoing consolidation of marketing agencies and consulting firms both inside and outside of music; why now is not the best time to start a new music-marketing agency, and where the few remaining gaps in the market might be found; how record labels are now competing with music-marketing agencies for work, as labels move towards a more service- rather than ownership-oriented business model; the impact of automation on music marketers' jobs; how the gig economy transforms the way music marketing is done, often for the worse; and, importantly, why artists should care about all this in the first place. At the end, we argue why Spotify's acquisition of SoundBetter and Netflix's new reality-TV music competition "Rhythm + Flow" are both overrated.