Music is being a catalyst for trends on Reels – a conversation with Kabir Chandra, Head, Music Partnerships, India, on the launch of #1MinMusic pop-ups

In the run up to World Music Day, Instagram kicked off a series of #1MinMusic pop-ups, to highlight how music videos can be reimagined with Reels. A selected set of artists will launch their original music, with music videos shot at the pop-up, and release them instantaneously. The first pop-up in the series was launched by the cast of the upcoming Bollywood movie, ‘Jug Jugg Jeeyo’, which included actors Varun Dhawan, Kiara Advani and Anil Kapoor and with an original track created for the Pop Up by Mayur Jumani.

We explored the initiative with some insights in a sit-down with Mr. Kabir Chandra, Head-Music Partnerships, India. A short trip to Meta office was quite exhilarating as we could feel the buzz and the excitement around the launch. It was also particularly interesting to observe the commitment of Meta towards music in general and #1MinMusic in particular. Instagram is, arguably, the most powerful platform of expression globally and it has taken a new leap to empower musicians. Here’s a look at our interaction with Kabir.

With #1MinMusic as an initiative and music in general, where do you think Instagram is looking to take music to?

Its interesting you asked as to where we are going to take music to, because that’s where the concept of #1MinMusic derives its roots from. We are all big fans of traditional music videos ranging from 3 to 4 minutes duration, which we have all grown up watching. However, we, at Meta, realised that the medium is changing with times, and it is not just about these conventional length videos anymore.

Short form videos are gaining popularity and reels are a perfect example of how short form videos are driving the newer trends, breakout performances, etc. So, with this as the backdrop, we wanted to give artists a platform based on our experiential learning from Instagram, to empower them with creating short form music that has the ability to be a stand-alone unit in itself (as an audio and a video). This is how #1MinMusic was conceptualised & initiated and with 200 artists creating & performing, we have a proof of concept as well. Beyond this, the validation is now coming from artists themselves who are excited to create and perform in#1MinMusic. Some of the artists who are a part of the #1MinMusicPop up are Dhvani Bhanushali, Rashmeet Kaur, Oaff (Kabeer Kapadia) and Lotika, Arivu, Akull, Aksh Baghla released his first new release during this pop up and Born on Instagram discoveries like, Tej Muzik, The Humble Musician (Kartik Krishnan) and many more.

Will Instagram act as a pure platform or will Instagram also create revenue models for artists in #1MinMusic?

As a platform our objective is to give artists space to express themselves and put their music out. And like all the platforms, the usual monetization will continue to happen the way it happens even at present. However, what happens with music on Instagram is that it gets discovered by the entities and people who are also operating in offline spaces like events, etc., which in turn generates revenue opportunities for the artists. In a nutshell we see artists getting more developed with our initiative and the platform, when it comes to encompassing the online as well as offline arc of theirs.

Beyond #1MinMusic, we also have a program called Meta Independent Artists Program. Independent artists can upload their music via our delivery partners for use on are platform free of cost and depending on the usage of their tracks within the Meta network, the artists get paid for their song usage. We have tied up with DistroKid and Tune Core for this program and it is giving artists the biggest digital world to explore.

#1MinMusic has 200 artists at present. Will this number remain at 200 or will this initiative be open for all the artists as we go ahead?

We are keeping ourselves rooted to the ground as we go ahead. To begin with, people in general can take inspiration from these 200 artists to create their own music in the long run. That’s where we ultimately want to be, empowering new generation of artists by taking inspiration from these 200 musicians. Also, we must understand that it is a launch and we are looking to scale up. So, when an artist puts up a music with hashtag as #1MinMusic on Instagram, we will be watching that. If the quality is good, it creates an impact, we at Instagram would definitely like to support the artist by enabling higher reach and visibility. As I said earlier, the idea at this stage is to spark the inspiration and to your question (if we anticipate more artists) yes we do and we would like to support and empower more artists as we go ahead.

One important aspect of #1MinMusic is that, while the videos are exclusive to Instagram, the music itself is available on all the major streaming platforms where one can go to his or her platform of choice to listen to the song.

Is Instagram also looking to build an artist management team to support growth of artists?

Instagram is a very democratic platform, and the user controls his or her content on our platform. We are a facilitator and a platform that helps people connect & reach. We have a team that coordinates with creators and media, but we do not have a team that can be identified as an A&R, nor do we have plans at this moment to set up a team of this profile.

Beyond #1MinMusic, what role will Meta play in the world of music?

At Meta, we believe that music is an enabler in making connections. Music, to us, is a catalyst and this why Meta is supporting music towards its final objective of connecting people. We have come a long way from where we started with music. In the initial days, music used to get muted on our platform due to rights issues. We bridged that gap first to enable user experience while sharing, that was the first step taken by us. Then, we saw people sharing their stories and we added Instagram & Facebook music stickers, again, with the aim of enhancing user experience with connecting people. From there on came reels and now we are with #1MinMusic. We look to continue developing better connecting experiences with products like remix, collab, voiceover, etc. to enhance the impact. Audio page for example is a very powerful page on reels, it enables sampling, inspiration, creativity and sharing all at the same time. If you see, music is at the background of all these innovations.

How does Meta ensure that all the music industry stakeholders are aligned with the initiatives being taken by the organisation?

Our initiatives are going in great conjunction with the music industry and its stakeholders. We are a part of the ecosystem and we have partnered with nearly every music publisher, label, distributor, across the globe. The idea is to further expand and strengthen these relationships. We are not only supporting a revenue stream for the partners, we are also one of the strongest discovery platforms for them. Instagram reels is becoming a default destination for music industry, this has been the feedback received from record labels time and again. There is also an indication that Instagram reels popularity and music streams have a correlation. We are a partner ensuring that the correct copywrite owners, lyricists, composers and stakeholders are getting their due share of revenue. We, in all sincerity, have worked together with all the stakeholders and showcased the benefits of a constructive approach over being disruptive for the ecosystem.

Do you see Instagram and Brands coming together to leverage music and help artists?

Music is a catalyst for trends on Instagram. These maybe challenges, lip sync’s or original audio. This is why we even launched #1MinMusic, as it will lead to the faster discovery of new talent, and greater salience for music from established artists. For artists as well as for brands, this means they’ll use it themselves or via creators, to tell their stories. We already partner with brands, connecting them our ‘Born on Instagram’ community of creators,

It was a great interaction and something that came out very strongly was Meta’s focus to create a sustainable ecosystem. Meta has consciously taken steps to work with all the right stakeholders in music environment, also enabling more revenue generating mechanisms for everyone and for all the stakeholders exist in a democratic form. Meta’s intrinsic characteristic is to build connections and that’s where the roots lie. Music fits hand in glove in this bigger vision of the organisation whereby tools have been developed and are being developed to enhance connections and discovery. #1MinMusic is a step towards enabling new artists and artist discoveries, Meta Independent Artist Program is enabling independent artists to become more sustainable, music in general is being given a huge support by Meta in innovative ways towards societal development and establishing connections.

We will talk about Independent Artists Program in more details in the follow up article, till then enjoy #1MinMusic !

Article by Vishwa Deepak Dikshit

Photo Credit to Meta Team

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