The story of converSAtions channel by SudeepAudio.com – part 3
Music credits (read part 2 | part 1)
For the last 10 years, every season (1 per year) we are grateful that our close associates agreed to do the signature music for the videos.
The first season episodes do not have any signature music! Best names in Indian music production such as Tubby, Sandeep Shirodkar, Gulraj Singh, Chirantann Bhatt were gracious enough to come forward to help us with the signature tunes.
converSAtions over Zoom (March 2020 onwards)
The last in-person shoot was with industry veteran, Mr. Parag Kamani, on the important topic of copyrights in music. We had already done a 10-episode series with Mr. Achille Forler on this, but that invaluable content being in English, we also had to do a converSAtion in Hindi for this topic. Mr. Kamani obliged, and his video on copyright process has very useful information for all musicians to watch and learn from. He also writes a column named “musical PAsSAges” for this SAundCheck blog. Not wanting to sound too boastful by saying so, but, with regards to the topic of copyrights, the content and information in this column is demystified extremely well covering a wide range on the subject.
Since March 2020, we are unable to freely step out of our houses and we all know the reasons why. It is in such trying times that we either buckle up or get out of the scene. The Zoom application came to our channel’s rescue. We subscribed for the plan since our converSAtions are usually detailed, and 40 minutes of free time is not something that could suffice the online recordings mainly because we’ve always wanted the speaker to be at ease and not under the pressure of time and so on.
Thanks to this feature, one could now have “group converSAtions“. We had one such zoom discussion about working with AR Rahman by music producers – one in Chennai (Jim Satya), one in Thane (Gulraj Singh), one in Andheri (Meghdeep Bose), and me sitting in our Ahmedabad office! Under normal circumstances, I’d have had to call them to some studio to do this session.
Many artists came forward and even shot & sent videos from their homes to us on their own! Very thankful to Ashish Barje, Tubby, Vijay Dayal, Ashish Saksena, Dipesh Varma, Nishadh Chandra, Dipesh Sharma Batalvi, Shadab Rayeen and many others. Do watch their videos on the channel.
Experience over Zoom interviews felt almost the same as done in person. However, there is definitely an additional warmth generated by being present in a recording studio with the artist. Some homely incidents like a pet cat walking across the camera (Shantanu Hudlikar video) made these remote converSAtions even more homely. So i’d also say that doing meetings over Zoom was not only beneficial in terms of logistical cost saving, but also had the speaker in their absolute informal comfort zone.
The revenue share model introduced (Dec 2020)
Personally, i have been a fan of late Shri Verghese Kurien (founder of AMUL). My mother, Dr. Sudha Mehta, had translated his biography in Gujarati from English in 2005, and during the book launch i was privileged to meet him and spend a little time with him one-on-one. His unique approach was to keep the farmers as the owners of the co-operative, and he played the role of a manager! This had been at the back of my mind ever since. Revenue generated on YouTube from our videos is barely an amount to boast about. Why?
- YouTube never discloses its calculations, which they say is quite complex (currency fluctuations, IP laws being different in every country, etc. etc.)
- Views on the channel have not been mind-blowing like they seem to be for music videos… For example: 882+ million for Swag Se Swagat song video, and 55k+ views for the video showing how the song was produced by Meghdeep Bose
After all, the interested viewer base is miniscule when it comes to topics like what we cover on the channel = knowing the journey of musicians and sound engineers, who people haven’t even heard of! Many relatives of these artists also came to know what they do exactly on watching their videos!
Nevertheless, Dr. Kurien’s approach came into play. In December 2020, SudeepAudio.com shared 50% YouTube lifetime ad revenue generated with each artist, who has appeared on the channel. And will continue to do so every year. Each artist was emailed their video link(s) along with its latest YouTube statistics and revenue statement. “Honest to the core”, responded Shantanu Hudlikar.
Many questioned, “you’ve covered our story spent your valuable time, money and effort in doing so. Why are you doing this?!”
Some even responded by saying that “Only this time will I take the money. But no need to give again!”. A few also said, “Sudeep Audio has been donating to GiveIndia.org for software purchases for years. Please donate this amount to them.” Some videos showing product demos or song de-construction, etc. haven’t got monetized, as the copyright belongs to the music labels.
The revenue share amount varied from Rs. 22 (for 1 year old videos) to Rs. 9000 (for ones with views running into lakhs). This split left us with an amount with which we haven’t been able to cover even our equipment cost! Forget the travel and other costs involved.
So why did we share the revenue?
Sudeep Audio YouTube channel has been about building a community since inception. And we are proud to be the pioneers in India with this concept. The ulterior motive was to help people outside of Mumbai, Bollywood being the ultimate aim for most, and to educate students and parents to know and understand about the lives of musicians and engineers. The tutoREals are created to get viewers raise their own work standards.
The revenue generated on the channel is only because of the stories and tips & tricks being shared by artists. Hence we felt it was fair enough to share the revenue – whatever the amount it may be. And we again thank all the artists to make the channel about building a community rather than keeping it individualistic in nature.
At one point, many considered us to be just a YouTube channel! To clarify that false perception, we then added a footnote at the end of our videos: “not just an online store… but much more!“. Since we are primarily distributors and dealers of studio hardware and software.
The IMPACT of converSAtions
The comments on the channel of various artists is proof enough on the kind of impact each video has made. Some studied a formal course and entered this line as a sound engineer due to an FOH video! (e.g. Ashish Saksena). Some want to do work like Bishwadeep Chatterjee. Many are polishing their basics in audio (e.g. from Ashish Barje), and many want to work at YRF Studios with Vijay Dayal. Naming only these artists is wrong on my part, but it is based on personal feedback received from individuals and we would have to release another blog to cover it all. The journeys of Rajiv Bhalla, Seby Fernandes and Hitesh Modak have made viewers shed a tear! The videos of Floyd Fernandes have made people think about dropping out of college and joining music full-time!
Each and every converSAtion has some learning involved for the viewer. So artists not mentioned here, please do not think your contribution is any less and we thank you for the same. Proudly so, one YouTuber (Darshit Nayak with 2 lac+ followers) calls converSAtions as the best channel for musicians in India. Such words and actions concretes our faith in the concept we had set out to achieve of a “community”.
For us at SudeepAudio.com, one big impact made by our efforts is that a book was written on the Indian jazz legend, Mr. Louiz Banks by author, Ashis Ghatak, who was inspired from our converSAtions video with Mr. Louiz Banks!! Ashis very gracefully called us and told us about it, and has also mentioned us as the source in the book itself!!
Going forward, what next?
In the ongoing season 12 (year 2021), we are trying to get one artist to interview another. Dipesh Varma kickstarted the series by interviewing his guru and the legendary musician, Ustad Taufiq Qureshi. Pitch Innovations introduced their product via our channel with an AR Rahman video, for their innovative plugin Fluid Pitch. Besides the ongoing focus on journeys and experiences of individual talents, we will also be working on premium tutoREals on products / concepts.
The channel is being sustained only because of our online store sales of home and pro studio hardware, music software. So do buy products from our website in order to help us go on. And yes, subscribe to it as well.
Thank you once again to all the artists and SAbscribers for being a part of the converSAtions channel growth journey since 2011.
#BeOriginal #BuyOriginal #BuyLocal