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)
Those of you who have been around from the 1960's through the 1990's will remember the vibrant live music scene in almost every starred hotel in India. Those were the days when you walked into a nightclub like 'Rendezvous' at The Taj Mahal hotel and 'Supper Club' at the Oberoi Sheraton in Mumbai to see curtains going up on a band that was the prime focus of these outlets. Every seat in these restaurants allowed an unobstructed view of the band that performed every night on resident contracts. Today all this has disappeared thanks to some ridiculously high entertainment taxes on live music. Today, non off these hotels have complete bands playing save for a few that feature small duos or solo singers. The Lodhi in New Delhi, recently listed among the world's best hotels, decided to step in and rewind to the good old days. They got Goa's premier jazz quartet 'Jazz Junction' to move to Delhi on a resident contract and the decision has paid off in terms of footfalls generated by the band. Jazz Junction featuring singer Daniella Rodrigues, pianist Tony Dias,
bassist Colin D'Cruz and drummer Angelo Colasco began playing at The Lodhi in June 2018. Four months into the contract the band generated a sizeable following, with quite a few high profile guests choosing to celebrate their special occasion at the Elan bar where the band performs. Against all odds the rewind option proved to be a huge success and hopefully other properties around the country takes the cue to trigger a whole new revival of live music.