“My focus is to expand this product (the app) into world markets, mainly US and UK”: Soumini Sridhara Paul, Senior Vice President, Hungama ArtistAloud

Hungama Artist Aloud launches its App in collaboration with BIG FM India. Spanning 40+ diversified languages and 50+ genres such as Pop, Rock, Hip Hop, Folk, Indie, EDM, Ghazal, etc in music and multi-regional comedy talent, this hub for all independent artists across original content art forms will be available on Android & iOS and Hungama Artist Aloud Web. D’Cafe has developed this new app to make the application process more efficient and user-friendly.

Soumini Sridhara Paul, Senior Vice President, Hungama ArtistAloud speaks exclusively with MI about the app and its partnership with the radio platform. Her knack for music has drawn her to work as a women leader. She says “the role has to be defined and not the capability”.

Excerpts here:

Q) How has Hungama ArtistAloud been doing post-pandemic?

Soumini: It’s been quite exciting and challenging at the same time. If anything good came out of the pandemic, it helped us establish independent music and talent much more substantial than we could have ever managed to do. However, Bollywood had gone silent for independent music to be heard. Now it is here on our platform. And people can experience both Bollywood and Independent music together.

Also Read: Hungama Artist Aloud in partnership with BIG FM India launches the Hungama Artist Aloud app

Q) It’s been 12 years for ArtistAloud. Tell us about your journey.

Soumini: We offered a platform to artists who didn’t want to go the label route or were not possibly picked by labels. These artists make content constantly but can’t figure out what to do with it. So we had an opportunity, and we thought of bringing them into our platform. But over the last 12 years, we have been creating and instrumenting new avenues. It’s also the best way to survive because evolution is the key. Isn’t it? So first, we started with the distribution offering for independent artists. We then went into marketing packages, social amplification, ground events, talent management. Also, we did different kinds of IPs with ArtistAloud, whether it was getting artists to perform on the ground or video kind of format.

Q) Though it’s too early. But how Is the response of the ArtistAloud app?

Soumini: I am super excited because this is a new version of the app. We launched an app in 2016. Though with time, we realized that it was too early to uptake. Today, people are familiar with the term independent. They are willing to consider new sounds and discover new talents. It is the reason the ArtistAloud app is witnessing an excellent uptake. The app has more than an 85% five-star rating when we talk about traction. People are giving extremely positive feedback. Before launching the app publicly, we introduced a beta launch in Hungama to see how our employee base inside the company would react to the content. Surprisingly, people who earlier used to listen to Bollywood have talked about our range and how they loved it. And the content is very new. Some people reached out and said that they loved how the app presented the content. It was very motivating indeed.

interview with Soumini Sridhara Paul, Senior Vice President, Hungama ArtistAloud

Q) What kind of marketing steps are you planning for the app?

Soumini: Multiple things are actually in the pipeline. We have digital ad campaigns. We are also reaching out to artists present on the platform and asking them to help promote the app. So their fans could experience the content on the app. Influencer marketing is on the row too. We are mainly looking at a 60% organic and 40% inorganic approach. It is an app with original content. We want people to appreciate original content by downloading the app. The kind of content we are playing and its programming are simply unique.

Q) Tell us more about the partnership with BIG FM?

Soumini: Around June 21, we started a conversation with BIG FM. They invited me for a session, where I had the opportunity to talk about our joining hands and growing the ecosystem with a terrestrial radio partner. We essentially looked at two levels of partnerships. One is on a show that they would create or conceptualize for radio which then is amplified and later played on digital. The second is in terms of the app. We officially launched our partnership in October.

Also Read: BIG FM partners with Hungama Artist Aloud for the launch of ‘The Blue Mic’

The name of the show which they conceptualized is #BlueMic. We partnered with them to bring the Artist, and our content played out as well. It’s a daily show where the artists get showcased as the Artists of the Week. The app is cobranded. It is named the Hungama ArtistAloud app, but one can see both logos when launched. Like a radio station, they are doing their bit of promotion for the app through RJs and Shorts. I hope it will be a long-lasting partnership where the music and the talent fraternity can depend on it.

Q) Women’s day is around the corner. Tell us if the role and scope of women leaders have widened in the post-pandemic world?

Soumini: There are a lot of women in the music and entertainment space. It’s not just about being in front of the camera. There are a lot of women who are working behind the scenes also. We have also seen other players supporting and giving a push to the women creators. But I always say it is not really about the tick towards gender. It is about equality. Some women can step up and take the responsibilities. Then it shouldn’t matter whether it’s women or men. The role has to be defined and not the capability.

Q) What are the future expansion plans for Artist Aloud?

Soumini: I want to see how far the ArtistAloud app can reach in terms of both organic and inorganic. For this, we are getting in touch with every partnership of Hungama, our parent company. We are reaching out to each of them with this platform and its new offerings. The one thing that is working for us is the uniqueness of the content that we bring to the table. We aim to make this a value proposition for everyone, partners, artists, and consumers. Though, it’s too early to set a pattern and follow it. But we are looking for the product to take a good uptake in the coming days.
My focus is to expand this product into world markets, mainly US and UK. In due course, we are trying to add as much Indian content as we can across languages. It will enable us to compete with some of the global brands. Being Hungama as a parent company is also bliss, as there is constant support and help from the team.

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