Earlier this year, Anara Publishing joined forces with the Indian office of their sister company Horus Music to present a series of Instagram Live events entitled “Music Publishing Simplified.” We know that for independent artists, especially in India, the world of music publishing isn’t easily accessible so that’s why we decided to put together this series of sessions to break down things in easy to digest chunks. If you missed the live sessions, we’re recapping each of them in a dedicated blog.
The Music Publishing Simplified sessions were hosted by Deepa Seshadri and Deborah Smith. Deepa currently works for Horus Music India on business development. Horus Music offers bespoke digital distribution services which allow musicians and labels to sell and release their content and was established in the U.K in 2006. Since 2016, Horus Music has had a presence in India. Debs is the director of Anara Publishing in the U.K. Debs started working at Horus Music in 2012, and then launched Anara Publishing with CEO Nick Dunn in 2017. Anara offers a whole suite of music publishing services to their roster, including admin, sync licensing, A&R and writing camps.
For this session, we were joined by Jishnu and Varun who are part of Swarathma, a Bangalore based band signed to Anara Publishing. The band shot to national fame after a win at the Radio City Live contest where they landed their first recording contract with EMI/Virgin Records. Their debut release, the eponymous Swarathma was hailed as a powerful debut by the band that wore its Indian identity on its sleeve. The band toured several countries, making them a hot cultural export supported by the likes of the British Council. Rolling Stone magazine describes this band as the “sound of guitar, bass, drums and India.”, while putting them on the list of India’s Hottest Bands. Recently, they have landed a sync deal with Apple through their partnership with Anara and here we discuss how to maximise these opportunities.
Catch up on Beyond the Sync with Swarathma on Horus Music India’s IGTV and scroll down for an overview of the session.
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Tell us how Swarathma formed?
Jishnu: Swarathma began in arts college, and then 4-5 years later a band advertisement was put out for more musicians, and a couple more members joined. Since then, the current line-up has been in place for 14 years and we’ve always had a good time working together. Over the years, we’ve experienced many amazing opportunities such as releasing 3 albums and playing 6/7 international tours as a band.
What made you look for a publisher and why did you choose Anara?
Jishnu: There’s a need for independent musicians and composers to recognise that publishing and sync is an important aspect of the business, it’s worth learning about! Do your research, identify who you would like to work with, and apply. Having the right relationship with a publisher can unlock the potential of your music and it can also give you the opportunity to gain potential revenue, opportunities, and exposure.
Debs, what influenced your decision when signing Swarathma?
Debs: Once we heard the music, it was a no brainer! Their music was amazing and once we’d had an initial meeting with them we knew they’d be a perfect fit. It was great to get them on board to help them with the publishing side of their career.
Swarathma’s track Khul Ja Re was recently synced in an Apple ad, how did that process happen?
Debs: The process was fairly organic and came through our network of music supervisors. I initially met the Apple team in LA a few years prior who wanted to connect with publishers representing music from India, so this was a perfect opportunity for us. When we signed Swarathma, I sent over a sampler of their tracks and then they contacted me about using Khul Ja Re for an upcoming ad. The whole process from approving the usage of the song to the advert going live took a couple of months.
Has this sync placement had a positive impact on your music career as Swarathma?
Jishnu: This sync placement has had a huge impact on us a band. Whenever we send out our production showreel, the link to the Apple ad that features our music is always top of the list.
What else do you need to have in place to make the most of having a sync placement?
Jishnu: Gaining this sync placement opened our eyes to the possibility of how your brand can grow with the right opportunities. To start with, we made an effort to increase our knowledge on the collection societies and we made sure that we had our songwriting splits clarified as a band (and that the necessary paperwork was in order).
Additionally, it is important that social media handles are consistent so people can find you when searching for your music online.
What other promotion do you do for yourselves as an artist?
Jishnu: In all honesty, we could be doing more to promote ourselves as sync artists. At present, we focus our work on being a live band, so all the promotion centres around that aspect of our music.
Debs, do all of these things lead to an increased chance in securing a sync license?
Debs: Of course, it’s always good to raise your profile so people are aware of you, however, if the song is right for the sync, then that’s all that matters.
Should an artist write songs with sync in mind?
Varun: It’s totally up to the person and what they want to create. It can be lucrative to make music specifically for sync, it depends if you view yourself as a composer or an artist. You can do both though!
Has the pandemic made you look at things differently?
Varun: The pandemic has been tough, we have had to think of ways to reinvent ourselves, and of course, there’s been a huge loss of live work. The important thing is to keep writing, creating, and believing in each other to move forward.
Do you have any final tips for other indie artists on how to stay relevant over the years?
Jishnu: The answers all lie in the songs and the longevity of Swarathma definitely comes from the songs directly! Sync and publishing are one of the ways that your songs can thrive and remain alive, it also opens your material up to new markets.
What does it take for an artist to get a publishing deal?
We are always looking for new artists to add to our roster. Anara Publishing accepts submissions via the website and you can read our submission guidelines before getting in touch. Please make sure to send streaming links only and remember first impressions count!