iconimg Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Nirmika Singh, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, March 11, 2013
If you want to get an independent musician talking, ask him/her about their struggle. With the heydays of non-film music long gone, and Bollywood ruling roost today, it’s almost impossible for bands to find enough platforms to perform, let alone get a record deal and manage enough funds to shoot a video.

But a new initiative launched by three entities, called Contrabands, aims to change things. Music label Universal has partnered with TV channel VH1 and live gig venue Hard Rock Café (HRC) to give artistes an all-round push. While the label will scout for upcoming talent from the indie space and publish their music; VH1 will work on and broadcast their music videos; HRC will offer the bands a venue to reach out to an audience.

GuitarDevraj Sanyal, MD, Universal Music India and SAARC, who is also the frontman of metal band Brahma, says, “As a musician, I know how much we had to struggle to get support for our albums. So, Contrabands is conceptualised to help real talent go all the way.”

The channel, too, is looking at the initiative as a unique opportunity. “We’re extremely excited to take these musicians to the next level,”says Ferzad Palia, senior vice president & GM – English Entertainment, Viacom18.

Although HRC has been responsible for providing a platform for many bands, this is the first time the venue will be part of a tripartite accord to “catapult an emerging band to success and introduce their sound to the Indian audience,” according to Sanjay Mahtani, from HRC.

The first act that will be pushed through Contrabands is EDM-duo Lost Stories. “We are looking at targeting four-five bands in the first year and 8 in the second. The idea is to be diligent in supporting them, so that by 2015-16, some of them will become big. There is no restriction in terms of genre if their music is great and people like them,” says Sanyal.