Apple Music Turns the Spotlight on Indian Artists
Badshah, Madboy/Mink, Divine, Prateek Kuhad and more are set to participate in the music streaming giant’s new India-wide campaign
While Apple Music has lent its global presence to several artists from various countries, 2017 marks the first time the company will be tapping extensively into the pool of Indian independent talent for a nationwide campaign. Centered around six young indie musicians, the campaign features artists across several genres: Bollywood rap king Badshah, New Delhi singer-songwriter Prateek Kuhad, Mumbai rapper Divine, film composer and singer Anirudh Ravichander, singer-songwriter [and frontwoman of alt rockers Mosko] Kavya Trehan and Mumbai-based electro-swing duo Madboy/Mink. “It’s huge. I don’t think it’s sunk in as yet,” said Trehan during the shoot for the upcoming India-wide campaigns. “If a company like Apple Music is going to invest in Indian artists, then more artists and the Indian youth are going to get pumped up about the music we have here.”
While plenty of Indian indie musicians do have their music available on the platform, they have not yet received a massive country-wide promotion of their releases – something Apple Music hopes to remedy as soon as possible. Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, revealed to the Daily Mail in December last year that Apple Music’s global strides included 20 million paid subscribers and 70 exclusive releases from a few of the world’s biggest artists in 2016 alone; some of the company’s successful exclusive number one albums include Canadian rapper Drake’s Views, R&B artist Frank Ocean’s Blonde and American producer DJ Khaled’s Major Key. And all the success, according to Cue, is thanks to the power of streaming – something they want to push more Indian audiences and artists towards.
“Yes records were beautiful, but if you do want to reach more people, then we have to adapt to the digital world,” says Trehan. Madboy/Mink’s Saba Azad brings in a similar point. “For us, to reach out to more and more people across the world is most important,” Azad states, adding, “[Apple Music’s] portfolio is very different from, say, other apps because in India, it’s a lot of Bollywood and they [Apple] are trying to reach out to the younger people who want to listen to independent music that’s homegrown.”
While the company can grant Indian artists an audience of 20 million paid subscribers, increasing that number seems daunting, largely due to the lack of an affordable music streaming subscriptions. Most of the musicians featured in Apple Music’s new campaign have young fans and the music is often lost behind a wall of heavy subscription fees and monthly payments minors and/or students simply cannot afford.
Now, Indian students can access Apple Music’s streaming services on both iOS and Android for Rs. 60 a month by signing up for Apple’s Student Membership, a program launched in 2016. In comparison, the monthly subscription fee for students in the U.S. is $4.99 per month [about Rs. 340].
Madboy/Mink’s Imaad Shah says, “Young audiences are so passionate and something like this provides a direct connection to our fan-base.” He explains that it will give the people who are hungry for music the access they deserve.
Apple Music’s dive into digital India isn’t just skin-deep. The entire campaign for the Indian artists explores a theme of the new emerging from the old; shot entirely on an iPhone 7 Plus by Mumbai-based photographer Ishaan Nair, the campaign features the young musicians at locations like Mumbai’s newly renovated, 108 year-old Royal Opera House. The old-world aesthetic in one crisp, neon-soaked package is designed for instant appeal to the Instagram generation and ignites curiosity about the artists featured. Combine this with Apple Music’s recent app redesign and it could be the birth of a brand new era for Indian indie music.
See more photos from Apple Music’s shoot below:
Photographs by Ishaan Nair for Apple Music.