“We focus on digital to promote non-film music” - Vinit Thakkar

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EMI Records India recently launched its own unique platform VYRL Originals which completed six months on 12 July. Every month, a single was released with the latest being Aaya Na Tu by Arjun Kanungo and Momina Mustehsan.

EMI Records India was launched in May 2015 by Universal Music Group in collaboration with film director Mohit Suri. This venture marked the return of the iconic EMI label to India, which developed a new platform to promote non-film music. spoke to Vinit Thakkar, the senior vice president, Universal Music Group India & South Asia about the idea behind launching VYRL Originals, challenges they faced and their marketing and promotional strategies.

What is the main idea behind launching VYRL Originals?

The idea behind launching VYRL Originals was to create a unique platform to promote non-film music. Through this unique platform we have been releasing one brand new song every month which launches simultaneously across all platforms- digital, TV and radio. The property launched on 12 January 2018.

What kind of mentorship or support does VYRL Originals provide to the debut artists?

I believe that our partner, Mohit Suri is one of our biggest strengths. Up until May, most of the artists we’ve worked with have been newcomers. He’s been a great mentor to all the artists who have created content for VYRL Originals. Right from the composers, lyricists to the singers, each of them have been carefully worked on and handpicked by the director himself. Also, all the technical infrastructure and support that is required for an artist to create world-class content is provided by EMI records India.

What are the challenges you faced in the music industry and how did you overcome it?

We started EMI Records India almost three years ago when there wasn’t as much non-film music being released. Very few non-film songs actually made it to the mainstream commercial charts across platforms. Traditional mediums like television and radio were also giving preferential treatment to Bollywood music. So one of the biggest challenges we have faced so far is to reach a larger set of audience in India.

But thankfully with a lot of support from audio streaming platforms and our exclusive partner Fever FM for VYRL Originals, we have been able to reach out to a wide audience. Effective use of social media platforms has also helped us a lot.

What are EMI’s promotional and marketing strategies to stand out of the crowd?

Every song has a different story to be told. We do a complete integrated marketing campaign. Our main focus is digital as we believe that our target audience is active on digital platforms and it’s really important to reach out to today’s youth who use these platforms to discover new content. This is followed by television and radio promotions. We also engage with a lot of influencers who help us create a buzz around the song and the artist.

 What is the cost of releasing one single?

It is difficult to put a number to it as there are many elements involved in putting together a single. There are several costs attached, right from the audio to the visuals to the marketing and promotional spends.

How do you keep a track of the song being played overseas?

We are a global company with a global footprint. All our content is deployed through a global supply chain and that helps us with all the information that is needed with regards to the content.

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