Business Today

COVID-19 a game-changer in Media, Music & Entertainment

Poised to become a major economic driver

January 9, 2021 | Updated 19:50 IST
COVID-19 a game-changer in Media, Music & Entertainment
Mayurath Sinh

A young Indian independent music enthusiast in USA, Mayurath Sinh, has turned the COVID-19 challenge into opportunity, another powerful sector of entertainment in which Indians are making their mark. The pandemic has hastened digital transformation to meet the surging demand for special content in media, music & entertainment (MME). The new order includes emphasis on creative content creation, distribution, promotion and monetization. MME, including sports, has already shifted almost completely to OTT platforms. As an independent (aka Indie) artist, Mayurath says that 2021 bodes well for the likes of him in Hollywood, Bollywood and worldwide.

Young Mayurath's story is important because the USA and India are the two worst hit countries by COVID-19, and also represent the largest MME markets, both in creation and consumption.

Mayurath is based out of the entertainment capital of the world, Los Angeles, California. Growing up in India, his heart was always set on music and entertainment. He delivered an exceptional high school performance to ensure his family sent him to Hollywood. Mayurath is among the youngest well-known amateur guitarists and music engineers from India. He performed across India and gained quite a reputation. After securing a Diploma in guitar and music engineering from the famous Musicians Institute in Hollywood, Mayurath got himself Bachelor's in Entertainment Business Studies from the prestigious Los Angeles Film School - Two major degrees in 5 versus 7 years!

Mayurath has interned as well as created some fabulous work with celebrity artists and producers. He is well on a journey of securing a life and good career in Hollywood, having produced solo songs, mixes and remixes. He's also got a good deal in the works, but mum's the word and fingers are crossed for the self-made prodigy.

Mayurath has always been passionate about the intersection of music, technology and culture. He perfected it, says Mayurath, adding that he was able to drop (i.e. create from scratch, including writing, composing, recording, mixing, and releasing the song) a song a day at least for 3 months during the never-ending lockdown. Indie artists like him have shown courage and resilience. Mayurath says COVID-19 for him has been a game-changer.

The Pandemic hit the MME sector in a big way. Traditional entertainment like movie theatres, theme parks, music concerts, and other external consumption models have taken a big blow due to a year of lockdowns and physical distancing norms. Digital production and post-production have saved the industry. It opened a new world of creativity and gave freedom from studios. Mayurath says he's happy working from home!

"The pandemic made many singers park themselves on the sidelines. Touring is impossible. The volume of audio streaming in the US initially fell in the weeks after lockdown. Album release is a risky commercial gamble. More than two dozen artists decided not to bet against the odds. But data from the digital distribution platforms suggest that many lesser-known indie acts are taking the same approach as Younger Hunger: putting out more music than ever. TuneCore, Vydia, CD Baby, Soundrop, United Masters, and Ditto all push music to streaming services for a fee, providing a useful service for acts without a label, or artists who want to retain ownership of their songs. All six platforms have observed surges in activity. The output has quadrupled. I've also written a new album, but the overall mood is still damp. For countless touring artists, the next few months will be desperate. But we musicians are tough blokes; most would survive. After the initial scare, people are focusing back on themselves. Music and entertainment are a big part of the emotional saving grace. Consumption has risen massively. I see aggressive movement on creating content and ensuring quick, quality and cost-effective delivery. Over The Top (OTT) Platforms are already ruling and will only grow and gain scope, size and shape. The pandemic layoffs can be made up by a new skilled force in the new digital order - creative content makers, marketing, distribution etc. The new digital paradigm is no killer. Print, Radio, TV didn't die with the IT and Internet revolution. Change and evolution is necessary," Mayurath says.

He added that "The New Paradigm is just more technology-driven, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Machine Human interface. We will adapt to the new circumstances. What new and good that artists like me dig is that COVID-19 has focused humanity on environment. It's evident that lockdowns are helping reverse climate change. I think you'll see a lot of creative folks homing in on that aspect to carry forward awareness, campaigns and make sure we don't forget we can make the world a better place.

The demand for at-home, in-your-hand and wireless digital media will grow exponentially. It will be an important economic driver. Consumers are loving the OTT platforms. Large screens will adorn homes and together with technology give you all the thrill you need! Also, 5G will be revolutionary and game changing."

"India as a leader of technology-led innovation has no dearth of ideas, materials, makers, consumers, delivery platforms, and market potential. India will also throw up different socio-economic models of content, connectivity and cost. I think Indian technology and business leaders will play a pivotal role in bringing outdoor entertainment and outreach directly to the consumers," Mayurath says.

He added that "India would have 1 billion digital users by 2030. Indian MME consumer market is exploding. Indian corporates need to take a big leap in making and distributing world class content. Online gaming is bound to go through the roof. I see growing synergy between US and Indian MME industries, with collaborations and even M&As. The Reliance and Facebook partnership is the making of a mind-boggling humungous platform of creativity, consumer goods, connectivity and consumption."

COVID-19 also showed the humane side of the glamour industry. In India, individual stars and celebrities pitched in to help the industry's jobless. In Hollywood, studios and corporates helped their needy. Warner Media CEO John Stankey committed more than $100 million to fund production crews. Sony announced a $100 million for affected musicians and music industry professionals. Netflix created a $100 million relief fund to help members of the creative community, particularly those laid off. God bless these people who care for the artists!

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