Having emerged as one of the most recognisable and adored names in indie, Raghav Meattle is now setting his sights on giving back to the scene. At the helm of Big Indie Bang, a platform built to cater to the country’s unique indie landscape, he hopes to draw upon the endless streams of untapped talent bristling right under our noses, and set it free to do it’s thing.
In tandem with Gaurav Wadhwa, CEO & Founder of BGBNG Music (the driving force behind Big Indie Bang), Meattle operates from the belief that indie music is the future. During the lockdown, he interacted with over 600 artists during the lockdown via Instagram live, Raghav was able to zero in on their most emphatic obstacles.
Held back by insufficient funding and resources, independent artists are left to home-produce music and leverage private social media – which doesn’t do in terms of reach, popularity or revenue. Exceptionally good music is left unnoticed due to insufficient recording experience and marketing support, leaving talent to languish in obscurity.
Big Indie Bang seeks to correct the imbalance by giving artists the right mentorship, tools and marketing support to take them beyond their core fans and niches. To quote Raghav, “We want to get behind young artists creating fresh sounds.”
The eventual aim is to brand, produce and present indie music as a legitimate alternative to Bollywood music, as mainstream but with a different intentions and aesthetics. The label’s (and Raghav’s) dedication to uniqueness is steadfast: “Right from making collaborations happen, video narratives, sounds etc – I’ve been doing this for very long and have a deep understanding of what’s truly Indie. We’d like to stay away from manufactured music, formulaic stuff!”
This is largely a function of their highly specific approaches to each artist on their roster. For example, their first release Khoye Se by SHOR did come with an expertly produced music video. But Raghav believes there’s more to it than traditional accompaniments. Youtube ads don’t do much in a landscape already dominated by star-spangled names, so Raghav and his cohorts took to other avenues.
By pairing up with an Instagram travel blogger on a giveaway to anyone creating a reel using Khoya Se, the track gained considerable traction. Over 350 reels popped up, and the song gained more eyeballs and ears than it would have on more saturated platforms. Additionally, it let people write their own stories around the song.
If the numbers are anything to go by, Big Indie Bang is off to a promising start. Only 5 releases old, the platform has generated over 2.5 million streams on streaming services, and over 3 Million views on Youtube through diverse marketing activities. Apart from the success of Khoya Se, Ramayana by Akshay The One trended at #34 on YouTube with over 120,000 organic views on Day 1.
However, Raghav and Gaurav (CEO of Big Bang Music) are looking beyond stats to focus on community. “The dream is to create a community/family of artists who are self-sustained and constantly collaborating with each other. We want to build an ecosystem that builds on each other’s strengths. It can be really lonely being an independent artist, and we want to give them the right tools to be able to scale.”, says Raghav.
Raring to go, the label puts her back into “talented artists who have the ability to blow up and make them reach audiences beyond their core fans. The idea is to sample the music to as many people and hopefully, change the definition of what’s considered commercial in our country.” And there’s plenty to look forward to. Big Indie Bang is en route to at least 6 or 7 more releases this year, with ongoing projects involving Sanjeeta Bhattacharya, Hanita Bhambri and a slew of hip-hop artists.
Sounds ambitious? Well, Wadhwa is certainly painting a grand picture, “with a 360 push any artist can become mainstream. It’s all about sampling to the right set of consumers. There’s untapped potential for what we call niche artists. There should be no small, large, niche , commercial in art.” However, with Meattle’s on-ground experience and Gaurav Wadhwa’s industry smarts, it’s safe to assume that the pair know what they are doing.
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