Digital India is becoming a reality thanks to rapid Internet penetration. This has led to the growth of consumer internet space, thereby allowing entrepreneurs to identify niche areas in every sector, including music.
Today, artists can work independently, both locally and globally. This independence doesn’t only give them a chance to create something ‘out of box’, but also freedom to showcase their talent publicly.
Glitch Lies Here!
The core fact remains – Bollywood is still the king. There is a very limited set of musicians who’ve gone big independently, such as Kailash Kher, Indian Ocean, Parikrama, Avial, and Motherjane to name a few. This poses a major challenge for aspiring singers, thereby generating need for a platform where they can put their talent in front of the audience, get feedback and earn money as well.
A Step Forward
New Delhi-based Muslate, launched by Rohit Goyal in January 2015, is one of the early movers in consumer internet space (specifically music) to tackle these challenges. Muslate has built a unified platform for independent artists and music creators across the globe. It allows musicians to listen, organise, share & promote their music all in one place and get their work distributed and promoted globally.
Backed by NASSCOM’s 10K Startup programme, the startup presently has more than 100,000 registered users and 12,000 registered artists from across 30 countries, and are generating 15 Mn streams per month. It aim to become the de-facto platform for music lovers, composers, artists, and students across the globe in next couple of years.
The portal is also coming up with a mobile app in a next few months. “Though, our web platform is responsive for all devices, one can’t deny the need for an app, if you have about 30% of your traffic coming from mobile devices,” said Rohit.
Why Muslate is Unique?
There are a few startups in Indian such as TempoStand, Muziboo, Radioverve, Artistaloud, etc. who are providing similar services to independent artists. Also, recently singer Shaan, along with his wife Radhika, launched Happydemic to bring performance artists and customers on a single platform.
However, as said by Rohit, none of the available players is complete in itself. “We provide a one stop solution to all requirements of artists, helping them to stay at one platform and avoid hopping,” added Rohit.
The portal supports both audio and video content which can be categorised well under three categories, viz. Original, Modified and Covered. Also, videos can be imported from Youtube. One can add all sorts of information as it’s about creating an album and not uploading just any content.
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Artists can profile themselves on the portal in 4 categories: Solo Artist; Band profiles (tagging other members too); as part of company record label, studios or music academy; and under name of institutions, events and venues.
It also let listeners to host their music library on cloud, so they can access it anytime, anywhere. It is solely built around the concept of enabling budding artists to reach the main organised stream & enable listeners to access their music on the go.
It provides features such as behavioral analytics, which makes it a music discovery platform, where the built-in algorithms help listeners discover new music depending upon their interests and music preferences.
Also, the recommended & personalised live music feed always keep them updated with what’s happening in the world of music. With all the built-in social networking, contribution tagging, and response statistics features for artists, MuSlate is trying to make sure that every artist gets the credit, he/she deserves.
Muslate works on two models. First, it distributes music to online music streaming services like Gaana, Saavn, and others worldwide. For this, it charges them a minimal upfront fees. Also, it receives a commission of around 20 to 30 percent of the royalty amount of the distributed song. Secondly, the portal also provides opportunities to artists for performing in various events. For this, it charges a 10 to 15 percent commission on the transaction.
According to Rohit, others in this sector are earning revenues through unorganised models such as placing event promotions on their platform, organising events, or providing artists for events via their managers, without having any direct link with the artist. “We are organised, and have full transparency on our website. Ours is a sustainable model,” added Rohit.
The Turning Point
At times, one has to pivot from his plan and actions. That’s when right guidance and mentorship is required. Being a B.Tech graduate (from NIT Kurukshetra), Rohit said that it was really difficult to understand every aspect of business. He believes that the biggest turning point in the journey of Muslate was when Sheell Dease, a serial entrepreneur and experienced professional in business sales and marketing, got associated with them as Business and Strategic Advisor.
“To date, every tie up that we have is a turning point for me. Every moment of this journey has taught me something or the other, which not only helped the growth of our product, but also helped me improve as a person, and as an executioner. As a first timer, you commit mistakes, but you also realise, learn and move on. That’s how you grow.”
Hitting The Right Notes
As per Rohit, there are five factors which help him achieve his targets. These are:
1) Adaptability: This basically means focusing on ‘Lean Business Model’, which states that one shouldn’t be waiting for the creation of a perfect product, rather one should let the users and people decide, what exactly is a perfect product.
2) Simplified Product: A lot of times people tend to make things complex when they are targeting a large feature set and a one stop solution, which can go against the usability of product. “We’ve kept a strong focus, that our product has to be simple enough, that we don’t miss upon any of our potential user.”
3) ‘Need’ Of Product: One has to figure out first, whether the product he is creating will add any value to user’s/consumer’s life or not. Otherwise, that means, there is no actual need for such a product, which is certainly the driving factor when it comes to retention of users.
4) Right Time: The success or failure of any product is primarily governed by the time when one pitch in his product. Definitely there are other factors like product quality, technology which plays a part, but time is above all of them.
5) Excellent Team: Last but not the least, any venture cannot be successful without a great team.
The Music Market
According to a few surveys by Artists Associations in early 2015, there are about 90,000,000 independent musicians across the globe, out of which about 15,000,000 are just from India, with on-demand music streaming market growing at an yearly growth rate of 92.8 percent.
As shown in the graph below, the music market which was earlier dominated by physical purchases of CDs etc, will shift entirely to online streaming by 2018.
We speak and breathe music. The need for new music and musicians is always on the rise. The time is ripe for the startup ecosystem to give this need a proper shape. So, startups like Muslate have a huge scope in front of them. It will take a lot to organise the music industry, give everyone an equal opportunity and improve the music discoverability space for music lovers. Muslate has taken a holistic approach towards this mammoth task. Let’s see how well does it deliver in the years to come.