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A New Agency Partnership Promises More Top Artists Make Their Way to the Country

U.K.’s Atonal Music Agency ties up with Bengaluru-based Gravity Talent with an eye on bringing down international acts

Anurag Tagat Jul 31, 2019

Plini toured Bengaluru, Mumbai, Hyderabad and New Delhi in March 2019. Photo: Randy Edwards

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The last decade has seen a multitude of rock and metal bands come down to the country – from one-off headline shows to tours – but India has always been an uncertain for major booking agencies in Europe and the U.S.

This is what Brighton, U.K.’s Atonal Music Agency’s Liam John Byrne has gathered from speaking to fellow industry folks. He says, “The main concerns with the Indian market has been reliable promoters, fulfillment of contracts and most importantly, payments being made to the artists.”

After working with festivals and promoters in India, Atonal has now entered into a partnership with Bengaluru-based Gravity Talent, whose founder Subhash Rao manages bands such as fusion rock/metallers Pineapple Express, rock band Switcheroo and was involved in booking metal supergroup Nitro’s India shows in 2017. Rao says, “Promoters (in India specifically) sometimes spend weeks to months trying to connect with the global artist agents and managers before they touch base. This partnership assists the promoters as well in cutting out that delay and being able to work efficiently and comfortably with the much wider network created with this partnership.”

While plenty of deals to bring down artists to India perhaps fall through even before being announced, 2017 saw at least two cases of international metal bands such as Intronaut and Gorod complaining about non-payment of dues by promoters in India. Byrne says there are horror stories about bands being left in the lurch by Indian promoters “which will be told for many years to come unfortunately” but adds that this partnership aims to move forward. “We’re looking to build the brand as a safe and reliable company to give international bands access to the Indian market. It’s time to bring the country into the 21st century of doing business.”

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Rao says the companies also want to ensure there’s a fair price point for both artists and promoters. “The added challenge here would be of having an artist be able to see the value and market that India has to offer. Being one of the most populous countries in the world, and an industry that’s rapidly expanding in the country, it’s always great to get in early,” he adds.

There’s bookings and confirmations falling in place for the next 18 months, according to Rao. While Atonal previously worked with Australian prog artist Plini (for BlueTree’s tour), their roster includes metal artists such as Marty Friedman, Monuments, SikTh, Animals As Leaders and many more. Rao adds, “As long as there is a demand, there will be a supply as well.”

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