Midem brings together international players across all fields of the music industry and puts the spotlight on companies with international footprint to understand, not only how and why they’ve decided to open headquarters outside of their home country, in some of the most exciting music markets today, but also how their activities have been impacted by the Covid-19 crisis.
In this exclusive interview of Horus Music’s Director of Music Nina Condron and its Head of India Business Malini Hariharan, deep dive into the behind the scenes of how this music distribution and label services company based in the UK launched its business in India.
Who are you and what is Horus? In which territories are you present?
Malini: My name is Malini Hariharan and I am in charge of Horus Music India‘s business.
Nina: Hi, my name’s Nina Condron, I am the Director of Horus Music ltd a music distribution and label services company and I’m based in the UK. As a company we have a truly global distribution network and were honoured by Her Majesty the Queen of England and the UK Government with The Queens Award in International Trade in 2017. We’ve set a niche for ourselves by focusing on the more ’emerging markets’ particularly Asia and soon in Africa where we’re currently looking for heads of business in China, South Korea, Nigeria and South Africa.
India is a booming market right now, with a lot interest from international companies, but that wasn’t yet the case when you started to grow your activities there. Why did you decide to work with India and what were the first steps you took to enter the market?
Nina: In all honesty, before Nick Dunn (CEO) and I went to India in 2014, we didn’t really know that much about the market at all and this was the reason we decided to go. We attended an overseas music mission hosted by the BPI and DIT (British Phonographic Industry and Department for International Trade UK) and before our return in 2015 we’d managed to secure deals with all of the DSPs and were the first international partners of some of the DSPs we signed with. We decided to set Horus Music India pretty much as soon as we got back from that initial trip as it was clear to us that there was a gap in the market in the independent space. We were the first Western artist aggregator to enter the market and the domestic distribution services available weren’t offering good value for money or transparency for independent artists, so we felt we had a real chance to make a difference. Horus Music India now works with all of the top independent (Non-Bollywood) artists including; Taba Chake, Blackstratblues, Tarun Balani, Brodha V. Plus mainstream artists like Kailash Kher, Arijit Singh and Neha Bhasin.
We know India’s demographics makes it one of the most exciting high potential markets for digital, especially as the new indie scene emerges. How has the Indian music market changed since your arrival and how do you think it’ll evolve in the coming years?
Malini: When we first started in India the market for independent, democratised digital distribution was largely under-represented and unknown.
Historically speaking India has deep-rooted, multi-cultural musical roots, that extend into all parts of daily life including but not limited to religious celebrations, entertainment, education, rural life etc. What with technological advancement these are increasingly finding their way into discovery through the various digital platforms that exist.
Needless to say that the next few years promises to yield many exciting artistes and ideas from the Indian musical landscape all of them getting an unbiased, equal opportunity aided by the Internet.
What have been the main challenges of sustaining your activities in India? How did you overcome them?
Malini: One of the challenges working on the ground has been working with artists who have a lack of exposure to the shifting gears of the music business worldwide from physical to digital. However, we have seen this is not so much as a challenge but rather an opportunity to dive in and enable and nurture the creative community with a wealth of information and resources that a company possesses. To this end, we conduct workshops and webinars on Copyrights, Publishing and even the basics of distribution.
5- How has Covid19 impacted Horus – both in the UK and in India? What do you think will come out of this crisis, especially for the artists you work with?
Malini: India is still primarily a country where an artist earns majority of their income from live performances. In recent years there has been a burgeoning demand for live acts at festivals, college circuits, corporate events and even weddings. The arrival of Covid19, unfortunately, has cancelled live events for the foreseeable future and that has left artists staring into further uncertainty, in an already fast-changing and volatile industry. While some artists have channelled this energy into creating new music, the others are settling into the new reality.
It’s hard to put a finger on the exact outcome, but I believe there is bound to be a lot of creative output coming from artists not only in India but across the world. This calamity has affected humanity in a way that perhaps only art can explain.
Nina: We’ve been very fortunate as business has been really busy, more artists stuck in lockdown have used their time productively by creating music. It’s been great to see how many artists have adapted to doing online live streaming shows and we’re working on a take-over of Guest House next month showcasing our Global and Indian artists and whilst the artists are performing fans can donate money and everything that’s donated is split between the artists performing on the night, plus they can sell their Merch etc so keep a lookout for that. We’ll also shortly be announcing a partnership with a company to offer our hardworking label services artists advances to help them through this tough period.