WOW Awards Witness EEMA Dialogues on Entertainment Curation-Collaborating to Design Original Content

Business Events | July 9, 2018 | Feature

WOW Awards and Convention Asia

The artist segment, one of the key pillars of the event industry, is also one of the most neglected. While the problems of artists are often highlighted with respect to remuneration and client pressures, one of the key challenges artists face is often glossed over – that of original content curation. The EEMA Dialogues session at WOW Awards and Convention Asia 2018 witnessed a discussion between artists, artist management agencies and EEMA members on the topic:  Entertainment Curation: Collaborating to Design Original Content. 

Led by Sabbas Joseph - Director, Wizcraft the panel saw a discussion on the different facets of the industry. It's all about that one brief that makes the event stand apart as with a strong brief the content curation can be strong. The discussion also highlights the challenges in original content curation and how do artists get past those challenges. For the panel, the Speakers for the EEMA Agencies were Vijay Arora - Founder & Director, Touchwood Group; Rajeev Jain - Director, Rashi Entertainment; Ankur Kalra - Founder & CEO, Vibgyor whereas the Speakers for the Stakeholders were: Anant Kamal - DGM, Sony Music; Gitikka Ganju Dhar - Emcee, TalkTheStage; Avinash Bidaia - Partner, KWAN;  Subir Malik - Founder, Parikrama. 

Original Content vs Pricing

That original content, content with a difference is the need of the hour cannot be denied. But again, there is the question of pricing. For agencies as well as artists, it is often a choice between one or the other. However, moving by industry trends, it is the originality that seems to be winning the race. Ankur Kalra and Rajeev Jain highlight the importance of pricing right and yet, innovating.

Ankur Kalra - Founder & CEO, Vibgyor

“You either have a really good content offering or you have a really low price. Honestly, at the end of the day these are the only 2 options that people from the industry have. We either offer the client something completely random that comes out as ‘unique’ in the market but at a budgeted price or we offer a higher price along with something specially curated, something original and exceptional that will also be beneficial to the client himself. We always try to do the latter whenever the client has the paying capacity. We try to position ourselves outside that price game. That is always the point we look at when we are creating entertainment. You create something original and you’re able to command a price for it.”

Rajeev Jain - Director, Rashi Entertainment

“Either it is the price or it is the creativity. You can derive a price out of the client but you need to balance it with amazing creativity. It is very different in modern times now, where the agencies are getting the artist at a particular rate and also then looking at the content of the artist. When you invest in talent, the better price is ultimately what you get. The connectivity with the client is also important. You need to give good services, good respect to the artist at the event and you’ll get a better price the next time. We try to market talent at a good price.”

Redefining Themselves

For an artist, each time they step up on stage, there is the urge, the challenge to do something different. To prove themselves. But is this even acceptable or does it bog down the artist’s creativity and put undue pressure in the long run? Tackling the question are Gitikka Ganju and Subir Malik. 

Gitikka Ganju Dhar - Emcee, TalkTheStage

“A show cannot commence without an anchor and an anchor is a category that is most used. There is a commitment every artist has. I will always give my 150 percent every time. It does not matter how big or small the fee is. For me, once I get up on stage, each event is just as important and every member of the audience just as special. My stage is my temple. If you are going up on a stage for a new client every time, how can you take the same you up there? You have to try and push yourself. You cannot be in the comfort zone. What can you do to customise your service, to suit their requirement? It just starts with a commitment - a very clear commitment to deliver something different, something new.”

Subir Malik - Founder, Parikrama

“We’ve made it big without a music label, without a lot of monetary investment. We followed our passion with what we should do. The only way we marketed ourselves was whether there are 10 people or there are 500 people, we look at everyone as a potential client. The entire focus was on unique and good content creation. A lot of the younger bands today only want to play one cover - be perfect that is what they demand. What I always told my managers that you do one cover but balance it out too. If you have a wider variety, you have more of a chance of getting better shows.”

Artist Management – Is It All About Labels or Does Originality Stand A Chance?

For artist management firms, it is always a fine line they tread as introducing newer artists also means an investment, an anticipation of future returns. Avinash Bidaia and Anant Kamal discuss this aspect of the artist management industry.

Avinash Bidaia - Partner, KWAN

“We define ourselves as a Marketplace for entertainment and popular culture. We represent almost all kinds of artists across a lot of different segments and we do not cater to only one segment when it comes to dealing with the clients. Coming to the in-house effort, we have constant endeavours to improvise in terms of ideation. This is only possible with artists who are creators. The artist needs to have an intent to do something different, to come up with out of the box ideas. The challenge for us is to market those ideas. Appreciation is also important for the artist and that is another challenge we face.” 

Anant Kamal - DGM, Sony Music

“At Sony we essentially wear two hats - one is the creators and also one of the artist managers. For us, management is about creating fresh content. We constantly try and figure out what the audience needs. Each artist we have is different from the other and there is no internal competition among the artists. We sign them and we work with them, we believe in these talents. That we have the publishing might and the legal infrastructure, does make getting stronger artists easier. It’s also a win-win for the artists. There’s 2 things to this - one is the artists and the music that is also making a lot of value.”

Wedding and Corporate Space for Artists

Vijay Arora discusses how the wedding space and the artist management phase can be bridged at the same time to get the best of both. 

Vijay Arora - Founder & Director, Touchwood Group

“We have different divisions for our talent and each of these divisions do not intermingle. For us, artists with talent are always something we would love to invest in. When people come to events, they take back varied experiences and the artist is one of those. There needs to be something that connects everyone, that touches everybody. We use a lot of "envitainment", instead of a stage performance. That is a term we have coined. We would like to do something where we go into the crowd, we go into the public and we do something with them. We involve their input and give them a final product that is beneficial for them.”

The EEMA Dialogues session at WOW Awards and Convention Asia 2018 witnessed a discussion between artists, artist management agencies and EEMA members on the topic: Entertainment Curation.

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