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Articles September - October 2023

Capturing The True Essence Of Sound New!

From Lewitt Audio's Pure Tube Microphone to Sennheiser's Profile USB Microphone, these studio microphones offer precise audio quality to the users and deliver crisp, clear sound. read more

Articles September - October 2023

Photo Feature: Studio Showcase New!

From A.R. Rahman's studio in Mumbai to composer Raag Sethi's first Dolby-compliant studio in Gujarat, PALM Expo Magazine's Studio Showcase features the latest studios in India. read more

Articles September - October 2023

Mastering The Art Of Sound With Donal Whelan New!

Whelan talks to the PALM Expo Magazine Team and discusses his foray into the world of mastering, his unique experience at the PALM Conference 2023, and more. read more

Articles September - October 2023

Nx Audio Celebrates Two Decades Of Pro Audio Journey New!

Nx Audio completes 20 years of delivering pro audio products for the Indian pro sound industry. Read about Nx Audio's journey over the last two decades. read more

Articles September - October 2023

Mumbai Studio Explores New Verticals With Genelec Monitors New!

The combination of Genelec Smart Active Monitors and digital audio interface delivered an ideal monitoring solution for BOING Recording Studios. read more

Articles September - October 2023

IRAA Awards 2023: Jury Reflections New!

Read about IRAA Jury's perspective on the bigger questions in the music industry - AI for music production, the status of mega consoles, & emerging trends in sound recording & mixing. read more

Articles September - October 2023

Gray Spark Audio Opens New Studio For Academy Students New!

PALM Expo Magazine Team talks to Ronak Runwal to explore how the newly-designed Studio D is poised to become a recording haven for the academy students. read more

Articles September - October 2023

Firdaus Studio: Building A Sonic Paradise For Recording Artists New!

The Firdaus Studio by A.R. Rahman stands as a beacon of innovation in the music production industry. PALM Expo Magazine explores the making of the musical maestro's magnus opus in the recording landscape. read more

Articles September - October 2023

Naveen Deshpande Elevates Stand-Up Comedy with Bespoke Lighting Designs New!

Naveen Deshpande, a renowned lighting designer, made heads turn through his recent collaboration with India's leading stand-up comedian, Zakir Khan, during the latter's international tour. read more

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11 Questions with Karan Singh---- November December2017 Issue!

The head of India’s premier electronic dance music brand - Sunburn, today ranked among the top 5 festivals in the world, answers 11 questions on the astronomical growth of the global IP in terms of the line-up which includes the most iconic international DJs and artists and the factors which have led to the iconic evolution of Sunburn, putting the festival on the world map.
CEO - Sunburn Global; Percept Live

1. Your father Harindra Singh is a pioneer in organising DJ stage events in India. How is it like working with him and what are the main tricks of the trade that you learnt from your father?

My father is a dynamic individual with an amazing infectious personality. It has been amazing to work with him and learn from him at every step. He takes real keen interest in this part of the live business as well as he sees great potential here. Firstly, in terms of his work ethics he really leads from the front and sets an amazing example for everybody else in the entire organization to follow. Secondly the manner in which he maintains his relationships with people is exemplary. His relationships with people - whether it is an artist, a sponsor or our partners, gives them a real sense of confidence which is extremely important; and I think that’s something I have learnt from him.

2. Sunburn has grown into a global IP. While there may have been several factors which led to this iconic evolution, what do you consider to be the defining moves that put Sunburn on the world map?

Firstly, the whole idea of incepting it and starting this revolution in India was in 2007. That was a big step forward because, before that there were no large-scale music festivals like this in this country. It was revolutionary to recognize the potential, invest in creating that experience and to stick with it, even though in the first couple of years the company did suffer losses. But to recognize what it takes to build the IP and to recognize the potential was a defining move. Nothing happens overnight. We stuck to our vision and slowly the IP got established.

Secondly, 2011 onwards is when after 4 years we recognized that there is a lot potential in other parts of the country as well. It’s a huge country, and not everybody could make it to one particular destination at one time of the year, so we came up with the format called Sunburn Arena. We followed this with other concepts such as Sunburn Campus and Sunburn Reload. Now we have four formats and we have started taking the experience to different places across the country with different artists. We did the first Arena with Avicii and then we did big shows like Swedish House Mafia and Deastro and several other shows. That is when the business got a lot of scale and recognition on the global map. Today we do almost 100 plus shows under the brand of Sunburn alone and bring many world-class artists.

3. The IP has captivated fans by bringing on to the big stage the most iconic DJs and artists. Can you take us through the IP, specifically in terms of association and bringing down the big DJs and artistes? How challenging is this?

It’s been challenging for sure, specially, in the early years to convince artists to come to India. India was never on the map for global touring. Artists came to Asia but never really considered India as a tour destination. To really connect and convince these artists to come to India and sell them on the experience of Sunburn was a task. However, once any artist who has ever come to India with us has loved the experience. We have offered them amazing hospitality and they find that the Indian fans have amazing energy that they don’t see anywhere else in the world. Once an artist comes down to India, then to bring them back again becomes much easier. Over the time obviously even our events, our festivals, the production quality and the complete experience has elevated to greater heights. On the production front we are pretty much near International standards now because all the inventories are available in India and the partners we work with have also improved the quality of their inventory over the years. We are now at this stage where the experience we offer is truly world class as compared to any of the biggest brands of festivals, anywhere else in the world. Obviously that also helps in convincing new artists.

4. What is your perception of the Global market for the Big Stage EDM Events & how does India fit into this Global Scenario?

India is a very important market now. With a lot of hard work, Sunburn fortunately is one of the largest in the world today and it is recognized among the top five music festival properties in the world. We do a lot of headline tours with the biggest artist. Just in the last 12-15 months we have done tours with Hardwell, David Guetta, DJ Snake, Martin Garrix, Mike Tompkins and many more. We are touring with Kygo in the last week of November. So, most of the top artists are coming down to India and they are obviously recognizing India as a very important market. And the kind of fans that these artists enjoy in India now is phenomenal. India is one of the top communities for them as well, so, I think the country is very, very significant on the global map now.

5. Goa has been the favourite venue for Sunburn, but it moved to Pune last year. What has been your experience organizing Sunburn in Pune? Do you think fans would love it for Sunburn to go back to its original destination?

We decided to move to Pune because of a lot of factors and we believe that it was a good decision and a good move for us. We have had a very strong response and the move has definitely made the experience and festival much more accessible and affordable for people and that was one of the key factors. The show has scaled up and we have to definitely bear in mind the numbers and make sure that accessibility and affordability is taken care of. In Goa, during the last weeks of December, both factors became quite prohibitive for people. So, Pune definitely again opened up the market even more for us, plus the experience that we gave last year was amazing and anyone who came to the festival walked away with great memories from it. It has been a strong move and this year we will be continuing in Pune.

6. What are major challenges you face as an organizer in India, which may probably have hindered Sunburn from growing into an even bigger big stage event?

In India, there are still a lot of challenges. The framework for getting permission for licenses is quite challenging and moreover it is different in each state; and there is no one consistent process that the organizers can follow. If that was smoothened out then I am sure that it could help all event organizers, not just us.

Then, infrastructure is also a challenge. The right venues – event-ready venues, are lacking in India. Most of our events and festivals are put-up in large and open grounds where we have to work on the venue; we have to make the venue ready for most of our events. We have to sort out lot of things like parking, access and sometimes even leveling of the land.

If you go to several other countries, even in Asia, they have much better infrastructure which obviously helps organizers a lot and enables them to invest their time, resources and money into other things, like programming, content, experience and marketing.

Lastly, I think that affordability definitely remains a concern as well in India. We have scale over here, we have huge numbers of youth, who are interested in this kind of music or interested in these kinds of festivals, but if you compare our average ticket price with any other market its far behind. Therefore sponsorship is the important source of revenue in India. And again, we are really fortunate to have really good set of sponsors and brands that are supporting us since many year and we really work very hard to add a lot of value to their brands.

7. Due to challenges mentioned above do you find it easier to do shows outside India?

We have not done too many shows aboard. We have done only couple of shows in Dubai, Colombo, and Nepal. Definitely in a place like Dubai, which is more organized, and a more developed market, the processes were much easier. India has its own pros and cons. There are lot of advantages also, which is why we are doing this and seeing lot of potential in this space and have been successful in building a global brand out of India. There is a huge market and demand and there are so many markets within India. The only other country besides India, where you can look at 10-15 markets to do large scale shows is maybe the US. So we really look at our brand as a live media asset. In this day and age, major consumer brands are looking at new ways to connect with the youth because the traditional medium of print and television are getting less and less effective. That is where platforms like us are coming in, because we provide a fantastic platform to connect and engage with the youth.

8. How has your audience changed over the years and how do you see the EDM scene in India 5 years from now, especially in the two and three tier cities?

I think that the audience has definitely evolved and developed. In the major cities the audience knows much more about music and artists. They are on the lookout for new experiences and new artists. We have taken the Sunburn experience to different cities. We did Hyderabad for the first time and the government has recognized Sunburn as a huge contributor to the city and to the state as well. We then took the experience to Calcutta, Chennai and other cities. I do see a good demand, which is only growing and people are enjoying these experiences and wanting more and more of it. In smaller two and three tier cities, we do smaller events via the Sunburn Reload format which again garners great response from the audience. Even five years from now I do see a strong and burgeoning scene and I see a lot of different markets in the country that would be active for a brand like Sunburn.

9. India being primarily a Hindi speaking country with hardcore Bollywood music lovers, how has EDM music managed to gain popularity with the younger generation? Do you think the Indian audience really understands EDM music or do the majority of them come for leisure?

I think EDM resonates with the Indian youth, because that kind of music is very energetic, and as I mentioned earlier, many DJ’s have also said that the kind of energy they see from Indian fans in India is completely amazing. I have experienced festivals all over the globe and the energy the Indian youth has is definitely far more than other countries. So I think that is one of the reasons that this kind of music really resonates and connects with the youth in India.

If you study the trends in terms of listenership - whether it is on radio or on streaming services, EDM is the top genre out of all international genres. So, clearly, it is this kind of music that is really connecting with people and therefore we don’t think that this is a passing trend at all.

10. What do Indian DJs lack which is hindering them from making it big on the global stage at International EDM festivals. Is it lack of technology, resources, education, passion or talent?

Not at all! I think it’s just a matter of time. We already have seen quite a few Indian DJ’s performing at global festivals. Indian DJ’s have a huge fan base and if you go to the top 100 on any of the streaming services, you will see original tracks of Indian artists showing up over there. Even Sunburn took 4-5 years to establish itself. It takes time, nothing happens overnight. There is lot of talent in this country like Nucleya, DJ Shan, Sartek, Anish Sood, and many more. Also, I think what Indian artist are also doing is, focusing on traditional music that appeals to the Indian audience. When the Indian market is so huge and there is so much untapped potential in this country, for us as a festival brand and for an Indian artist, obviously it make sense to first try and cater to our own market. The first step should be to have a strong, loyal fan base from all markets in India and that takes a lot of time. That takes years - it has taken us years.

11. Please enlighten us on the Sunburn Loyalty reward program and what are the key highlights of the upcoming December show that fans can look forward to?

Sunburn Loyalty program is something that we are working on right now. We would launch it pretty soon, hopefully before the festival this year itself. Because we do so many shows and have 100 plus shows across the country with loyal audience, we have been trying to work on a solution to reward them for their loyalty.

We have a really interesting and eclectic line up for the December show. We are fortunate to get the number one DJ in the world right now - Martin Garrix to spend New Year’s Eve with us. We have DJ Snake performing for the first time at the festival. We also have Indian favorites Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike; then we are also doing something a little different - we are curating more live music as well this time. So we have Clean Bandit as one of our headliners as well, plus we have more headliners which we will announce very soon. For the first time we have a total of 6 or 7 headliners for the festivals over four days. Usually festivals in India don’t have more than one headliner per day. We have gone all out this time. Apart from that, we are really investing in experience as well, and one of the main stages is going to be the biggest stage ever seen in the world. The size, scale, technology, production, special effects, production will take your breath away. We are entering into a new decade as it’s our 11th year, so we intend to take production and technology to the next level - something that has never been seen in India before.


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