GUEST INTERVIEW: IN CONVERSATION WITH TARSAME MITTAL, FOUNDER, TM VENTURES

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The music business is both interconnected as well as fragmented. It has gone through many transitional phases throughout the second half of the 20th century.

A music related company cannot afford to be one dimensional now. While it may be a safe hand to play, diversifying will help hit the jackpot. Many music companies have and are buying not only rivals but also firms from different verticals with an aim to expand.

One man ‘Connecting the Dots’ of the Indian music industry is Tarsame Mittal.

The founder of TM Ventures, the parent company of one of the most preferred Talent Management Company in the Indian Music Industry, T M Talent Management, has diversified into various key entertainment ventures over the years.

Some of the other verticals under TM Ventures are Create and Collab – A division focusing on creating unique & meaningful concepts around music, one of Asia’s biggest music business conference ‘All About Music’ conference, Bollywood’s biggest Live Show ‘Bollywood Music Project’, TM Talent Management Comedy Division, Entertainment Consultant – A one-stop solution for all entertainment requirements for any event, music business news publication Music Plus and a music label named TM Music.

TM Ventures is also 50% stakeholders in Desi Records which delivered the fastest 1 Billion Youtube song views from India for “52 Gaj Ka Daman”. It also owns majority stake in Barcode, an influencer marketing agency which is the current hot thing and expected to grow.

We at IPRMENTLAW spoke to Tarsame, to gain a perspective about the current scenario in the verticals under him, the upcoming All About Music conference, changing landscape of artist management and much more.

AAM has now become a nodal point for the Indian Music Industry, are you closer to achieving the aim you set out for?

To be honest, our aim for All About Music was achieved in its first year itself. We wanted to get the Indian music industry together every year under one roof to celebrate the successes, hold discussions focusing on every stakeholder of the industry, their problems and solutions. It is our good fortune that leading luminaries of the music industry not only supported us but also helped in creating the All About Music experience. We are pleased to recreate the experience year on year.

Which unexplored spheres of the Indian Music Industry will AAM explore this year?

Every year there are new challenges. Last year our theme was ‘Possibilities and Solutions’ owing to the situation due to the pandemic. This year the focus, among other topics, is on the rise of independent, regional and non-film music. Along with these, the conference shall dwell on the technological advancements and innovations, emergence of non-traditional revenue sources and evolution of artists and the industry during the pandemic. These are a few topics the conference aims to emphasise on apart from other relevant topics.

TM Music is emerging as the label for independent and aspiring artists even from smaller towns. What is the A&R or scouting module that is followed?

Independent music is primarily not released through a music label nor are independent artists signed to any label. TM Music is not an independent music label, as assumed by many, we are a non-film music label. We are working with emerging artists, out of which some artists are signed by us. Our formula is very simple. There is an A&R email address where artists can mail their content to. Our team is headed by one of the finest music producers in the country, Sunny MR and one of the most trusted names in the Indian music industry Atul Churamani. Along with their thoughts, we also consult other internal and external sources regarding their views on the songs we receive. Based on this and after a discussion with the artist, the song is released.

What demographics is the label targeting?

If you look at our journey so far, we have released hip-hop tracks, romantic ones, ghazals and even patriotic songs. The content we intend to release is not targeted at a particular audience. We are focussing on the music and its likeability. TM Music invests in music and releases it.

TMTM is one of the leading artist management firms, if not the leading. How do you ensure that all your artists are content with the management?

Let me tell you the honest truth. It is impossible for any artist management firm to keep all the artists on their roster content with the management. If the majority of the artists are happy with the management, the firm is on the right track. Even if the artist is extremely good and the efforts put by the team are extraordinary, success can still be elusive. Artist management is like marriage, compatibility is what matters in the end. Being an artist first company we pay a high level of attention to them. TMTM is a truly transparent company in all aspects and I can proudly say that we have never cheated any artist. We haven’t signed new artists in the last 4-5 years and the ones on our roster have been with us since years. This shows their trust in TMTM.

Some artists have to be cared for with ‘cottonwool wraps’. How do you deal with them?

You can handle someone else’s ego only when you don’t have one yourself. As a talent manager, one has to understand that every creative person in this world is a human being. No two human beings can be the same. Their vision, priority, likes, dislikes, perception about life, and success will differ. Temperament and ego are also a part of it. When you decide to work with an artist, you have to work with the personality and eccentricity of the artist. Once you understand this, you don’t face a problem. Every human has good and bad traits. The focus should be on the positive things and that’s how we work.

Is 360 degree management the future for artist managers?

100% Yes! I don’t know a perfect artist manager in India currently. We are not a perfect management company either. We started our business by focussing on the Live Show market so as per international parlance we were just booking agents. Over the past years, we have been trying to become a 360 degree management company and are yet to become one. We are 60% there and aim to become one soon.

360 degree management is definitely the future as the music business has become democratic now. Unlike before, now an artist doesn’t need to be signed with a big label to be famous. With the advent of social media, streaming and digital platforms, it is now a ‘Creator to Consumer’ market. The music industry seeks a creator who is loved by the consumers. Now the artists can share their content with a global audience from any place they are located. If the content is good, any artist can become an overnight sensation which was not possible 5 years back.

It doesn’t matter if the artist has a great management team or a big studio setup, what matters is if the audience likes your content and follows you for it.

What lies in Tarsame Mittal’s pipeline?

80% of the revenue income of artists and management firms is through Live Shows. With the Live Music Industry currently at a standstill due to the pandemic, we have to find new avenues and opportunities to generate revenue. I like to work with a big team which doesn’t mean we make a profit in every endeavour. Last year the focus was on the survival of everyone working with us.

We are trying to educate ourselves and cope up with the happenings in the music industry. The immediate focus is achieving 360 degree artist management.

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