The Industry can be a better place only when we communicate with each other.....
On the threshold of the 2nd annual All About Music conference we caught up with Tarsame Mittal the organizer who is also the founder of one of the most successful Artist Management companies with a roster of Artists like Arijit Singh, Amit Trivedi, Hariharan, Rekha Bharadwaj to name a few. Here he speaks to Pradeep Joseph about his passion AAM and Music Plus-the online portal he has recently ventured into.
How did Music Plus-the online portal come about? The media business is difficult to make money from…
Music Plus, I have been thinking of for a long time but I was not willing to lose money but when my creativity overtook my financial decisions I decided to leap into them. When would I probably make money from them…maybe never. I really don’t think it will ever make money. Till the time it can help the Music Industry, I will have the satisfaction that I am doing something, I am happy about it.
We don’t take money from anyone, we are an advertisement free platform even if somebody is willing to pay me we are not willing to accept it. Firstly we want to create content that people actually want to read that content, so when we reach that stage we will go to advertisers. We currently have staff strength of 12 members so you can imagine our expenses.
What about the IPs All About Music-The Music Conference and BMP- Bollywood Music Project? These are also difficult to make money from…
We lose money in AAM and BMP also we don’t think we can make money before 3-5 years.
Are you willing to lose that kind of money?
I am trying my best not to lose money. As everything is a habit, people don’t like to pay in India. I know how much hate I get when I don’t give free passes, everyone expects a free pass or registration. Nobody respects the fact that somebody is doing it; there is an effort behind it.
There is nothing wrong it’s a 'culture'. It’s a cultural problem and I don’t like it that’s why I don’t give free passes generally, unless somebody threatens me or puts me in a situation that I have no option, that I give free passes.
Last year at AAM we didn’t give any free passes so you won’t find anyone saying Mujhe pass free me mila. I tell anyone if you are my friend support it by buying passes for it. If you want to learn and network pay around Rs.10-15,000/-. I will still be losing if everybody buys a pass; I have to recover from sponsors.
Why did you want to start AAM?
I will be brutally honest as I can, we are doing fairly well in our Artist Management business and I was stagnant in terms of education I was not able to study enough, of course you can self-educate yourself with the internet but I didn’t think that was interesting enough or that was so exciting. It is not exactly for me, I am a people’s person. I like to meet people share Ideas, experiences learn from as many people as I meet.
I created AAM as a great platform to educate myself. As I came from a poor background I couldn’t spend money on my education so let’s spend money on my education now.
The best part is I travelled and attended lots of conferences abroad. I was always curious why don’t we do it in India, what’s the problem. For the Music Industry to become a better place is only when we communicate to each other.
It starts from the Content creators – The Artists. They have to be extremely educated, know about Publishing, Copyrights, Legal, and Financial it will be easier for everyone to deal with each other. Also why should there be so much ambiguity.
People should be able to connect to each other, learn from each other and I thought that Conferences is the best way to solve all problems. It will be the best way to help each and everyone in the business and also help me. Just like it will help everyone to learn it will also help me to learn. Simple that’s the only reason.
You are paying a big price to educate yourself?
We lost around 35 lakhs last year, I can say that number actually 40 lakhs if I take into account salaries, rent and expenses on the team that works on AAM that’s a cash flow loss. It’s a lot of money and at times I feel depressed that I should have invested the money and be a little safer in life but at the same time I think it is ok.
I am happy on what I have done I feel proud about AAM like nothing else.
They are senior Industry veterans who have also done similar work who would have been millionaires today if they did not invest in their passion?
I feel fortunate that I don’t have big dreams cause when you have big dreams you will push yourself for it. For me I have come from bankruptcy so I won’t mind losing. I only want my family to live well and that’s the only dream I have. I want them to be secure.
If I can make it profitable great but I am not desperate to be rich or super successful.
(Tarsame Mittal interview Part-I)
Located in a former mill, the Mumbai outpost of the US chain of resto-bars has a mixed reputation among the city's musicians. In the first couple of years after opening, in 2006, indie rock acts were often asked to include a stipulated number of cover songs in their set lists. These days, Hard Rock Café, which hosts gigs every Tuesday and Thursday night, sticks mostly to cover bands, with a couple of dates a month spared for indie groups. Skip these gigs, and come here only for the ticketed events, when one of the seating areas is cleared to make room for a larger stage, for performances by Indian indie icons (folk-fusion veterans Indian Ocean, electro-rock superstars Pentagram), international chart toppers (Wyclef Jean, Jay Sean) or club-packing DJs (Bob Sinclair, Paul van Dyk). Be warned, though: the waiters break into a synchronised jig every time the Village People's "YMCA" comes on.
Bombay Dyeing Mill Compound, Pandurang Budhkar Marg, Worli, + 91 22 2438 2888, Hardrockindiablog.com. Open daily noon-1.30am. Performance times and entrance fees vary