Bollywood & Beyond – India Trade Mission 2019 Blog


MPA Publisher Member and MPA Futures Group Chair Deborah Smith (Director, Anara Publishing) joined the Indian Trade Mission from 26th to 30th August 2019. The mission was in partnership with the Department for International Trade (DIT), AIM (Association of Independent Music) and the BPI (British Phonographic Industry). The aim of the mission was to enable UK music companies to network and explore business opportunities in the world’s seventh-largest economy. Debs shares her experience of her time in India below:

I’ve recently returned from a productive and enlightening trip to Mumbai as part of the Trade Mission to India hosted by the MPA along with DIT, BPI and AIM. Whilst I’ve been to India before, this was my first time attending on the trade mission and it didn’t disappoint. I came away from the week understanding more about how the wider music industry operates within India and was also able to get up to date on trends within the market.

Additionally, the mission is a good chance to connect with your fellow UK companies. It’s funny how sometimes you travel halfway around the world to do business with people who are based just a short train journey from your office! This year, we were also joined by a delegation from Norway for the week so there was a real mix of companies who attended. If you’re looking to boost your international contacts, the trade missions run by the MPA are certainly something to consider.

The week itself comprised of a variety of events. This included talks with companies from within different sectors of the Indian music industry such as those working at streaming platforms, publishing companies and in the live industry. We were also invited to a networking reception at the Royal Norwegian Consulate to connect with companies from both Norway and India. 

The focal point of the week was the All About Music Conference which brings together the whole music industry based in India. Across the two-day event there were a mixture of panels, workshops and speed networking sessions to throw yourself into. If you want to learn first-hand how the music industry in India truly works this is an event you should add to your calendar.


Bollywood and Beyond

The first word that comes to mind when you think of India is probably Bollywood. This is a thriving industry which accounts for around 95% of the Indian Box Office. There are also a number of independent productions that are now being made locally in India for platforms such as YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime. Films and music go hand in hand, so there is a need for original music. Towards the end of the week, we visited Whistling Woods which is a renowned film school based in the heart of Bollywood. Here we got a glimpse into how productions are made and were given a very interesting lesson on the history of Bollywood.

Coming back to the music industry, this isn’t just digital focussed but mobile focussed, too. There are a whopping 450 million smartphone users in India with this on course to grow to 850 million by 2022. Locals have access to some of the cheapest mobile data in the world. Pair this with a love of music and this has paved the way for local digital platforms like Saavn and Hungama to thrive. Apple Music is well established in the market and Spotify has recently launched.

There is a flourishing live music scene within Mumbai too. During my time in the city, I was lucky enough to be able to visit a couple of local venues to see some Mumbai based artists perform. There is an appetite for a wide variety of music, from singer/songwriter, rock all the way through to EDM.

Whilst music publishing isn’t as established as it is in the UK, there are a number of opportunities to explore which have been highlighted to me by attending the trade mission. I hope to be able to visit again next year to build upon the relationships I have built this time around.

By Deborah Smith (Director, Anara Publishing)

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