Interview By: DANNON MARTIS
Zee Music Company has made giant strides since its inception and the man behind it is Anurag Bedi. He gives us an insight about his journey with Zee, how he deals with the challenges thrown at him, what drives him to deliver excellent content and his views on the current music scenario. Excerpts:
“At Zee there is a feeling like running your own business and this feeling is something to cherish”
You have been associated with Zee since a decade. How would you describe journey till now?
It’s been slightly over ten years since I have been with Zee and it has been a fabulous run with the company. At Zee there is a feeling like running your own business and this feeling is something to cherish. I think largely it is the philosophy of the company that we treat the business as our own. It has been a great run. I still feel today that I am just like a two year old in this company. My journey started out with sales in this company and it moved over to the business roles where I used to run the niche channels and then to the music label we launched in 2014. I think it has been a great run so far.
As the Executive Vice President of one of the largest media companies in India. What are the challenges that you face and how do you deal with them?
Challenges are part of everyday life. So every day is a new day for us. We don’t come planned regarding what’s going to happen tomorrow and how we will deal with a situation. You need to be geared up to handle every situation be it releasing a song today which may work or may not work or a program on television, so challenges are part of everyday life and you got to learn to deal with it.
Zee Music Company was launched just a few years back but the company has grown tremendously at a very fast pace. What do you think has been the reason for this growth?
With Zee Music we were clear from day one that we need to enter this space in a leadership position and that is the approach we have taken. Thanks to all the support that we have got from all our producers and partners. Today we are happy to sit at a position where we have 15% market share of digital music consumption and I think it is a great run that we have had so far. In terms of volume of new films we are clearly the market leaders for the last four years. We have been acquiring close to sixty films in just Hindi, we have expanded to other languages like Marathi, and also we have entered into the Telugu, Kannada, Bengal and Punjab market and of course aggressively entered into the non film music as well. Our vision is to be a clear leader in whichever market and we will get there.
While associating with a movie or an artist, what are the key qualities or characteristics which you are looking for to form an association?
For music as such there is no pattern for prediction of success, but of course the legacy of production houses is something which we aspire to work with. Be it banners like Dharma Productions, Excel Entertainment. Great music comes from anywhere. It is creativity at the end of the day. At times we do look at who are the music directors involved, the star cast involved, who’s the banner involved and yes that plays a vital role in our selection of projects.
What drives you as an individual to strive to deliver excellent content?
I am very passionate about music and I consume a lot of music. I love listening to new music but once a song releases I stop listening to it as I have grown with it for a year or two. For example ‘Tere Sang Yaara’ released in 2016 but we made it in 2014 as part of songs in our bank. So I spend a lot of time on developing content, working with composers, singers and lyricists.
As an individual do you feel you perform better under pressure?
No I don’t think. For me personally the concept of performing better under pressure or not does not exist. I am a passionate guy and I love listening to music. You really can’t listen to music or make music with your team when you are under pressure. Pressure is part of life but ultimately it’s your passion that drives what you can create or partner with or how you go about selecting your projects. We have seen some of the greatest movies not working musically so creativity is such that it is team work and sometimes when things don’t work they just don’t work.
What do you have to say regarding the current music trends and scenario across India?
Well I think we are in a very good space. The consumption of bollywood music is hitting an all time high. Now it all depends on how much time people invest into creativity and making music, whether it is the composers or the directors sitting on those projects and I am sure those results are showing. We have had massive hits like a “Kala Chasma”crossing 300 miliion views, “Laila”crossing 200 million views and we are seeing the consumption with the youth increase. I think we are in great times with respect to the musical area is how I would like to put it as.
Could you shed some light on your upcoming projects which you working on?
We have Aamir Khan’s ‘Secret Superstar’which is a musical. After that we have music of films like ‘Padman’ and ‘Gold’,‘Fukrey 2’, 2 Dharma films , ‘Parmanu’, ‘Captain Nawab’, ‘Gully Boys’ , ‘Pari , Kaneeda several albums and there are a lot more projects in the pipeline.
Since you have been associated with music for such a long time, personally what kind of music do you like listening too?
So my taste of music changes very fast and as I listen to music frequently I get bored of it very fast, by then the new track comes. So there is no answer as to what my favorites are as my favorites change every month. There is no concept of what genre of music I would like because I would rather put out what kind of music people like and if you can crack that then we are home. Music is like water, you cannot stop it, you cannot predict it and it just finds its own route.
Five years down the line where do you see Zee Music Company heading?
Well we see our self as a very strong company in the music & publishing business. We see our self as a leader in the business. Regional is a key focus area for us and the consumption of regional music and content is rapidly growing.
There is nothing I can tell you presently what’s going to happen five years down the line .The good part is something which we are excited about is that the consumer is looking forward to new music; the acceptance of new music is very high and I think if we can put out good, different and new music then it is a great opportunity for us to en-cash upon.
As artists who have been your inspiration?
I have grown up listening to a lot of RD Burman and Kishore Kumar. Also I have grown up listening to a lot of English rock music as well like Pink Floyd and the Doors. My early days of music consumption have been backed by consuming these artists. In today’s time we have great artists and composers who are setting a new bench mark and striking a cord with the youth and I am happy to see that every year we have an emerging new talent or talents as such. Artists like Badshah and Raftaar today achieved a great fan following or be an Arijit Singh who has become a household name today. Zee Music Company has always been supporting new artists and has launched new artists since our first year and we also pick up artists from our shows like ‘Sa Re Ga Ma Pa’ and ‘The Voice’.
Other than working with established singers, you are also focusing on working with new talent who you’ll see as the future?
Yes new talent is something where we are really investing a lot of our time into and I am sure we will see the results very soon.