Thanks to Vijay Basrur, your MP3 player will soon be playing the best in indie music. All at the convenience of a click through the music portal, OKListen (.com), which hosts a collection of albums and singles by bands from across the country, and are all available to download at a cost decided by the band itself.
“An avid music enthusiast who is willing to pay for new music being created by independent musicians has very limited choices,” says Basrur, former CEO of a gaming company. “Through Oklisten (.com), we intend to offer not only choice but also the convenience of purchasing the music anytime, anywhere.”
Apart from popular bands like Indian Ocean and Raghu Dixit, the portal also features new artistes including Pragnya Wakhlu and Vipin Mishra. They have a variety of genres such as Rajasthani folk music from Amarrass Records, Finger Strumming guitarist Imli Imchen, Auroville Fusion band Emergence, the versatile Geetu Hinduja and the talented Jason Zachariah.
“We initially approached artistes who were being written about and wrote to them directly, like Gaurav Jagwani of The Yellow Pages. We contacted him on Twitter, started a conversation and he loved the idea. Their debut album did very well,” says Basrur. “We check for quality of sound, of music and whether the band has taken the effort to promote their music to friends and family when featuring them on the site. After all, if people are open to pay for the music, then it better be good,” he says.
OKListen (.com) has proven to be a boon for new bands. The music makers couldn’t agree more. “The site makes our music easily accessible to everyone. For musicians who don’t have deep pockets to make CDs, even though they are more appealing, the digital space is perfect,” says Yellow Pages’ Gaurav Jagwani, who has sold around 50 copies of his album.
The site has already crossed 3,000 downloads since its launch last month. “We give the musician complete transparency over the distribution process. They can view their sales on a real time basis along with monthly payouts directly into their bank accounts, which other distribution platforms don’t offer. The musician earns 70 per cent of the net revenue,” says Basrur.
In a first for the band, Indian Ocean uploaded three albums on the site, of which 16/330 Khajoor Road, their latest album, is only available via OKListen.com. The main draw is a bonus CD, which has the last remaining works of Ashim Chakravarthy. It has a few scratches made by the four, some studio recordings and a couple of unreleased songs and is available for free only when you buy the Khajoor Road album from the site.
“Most of our fans use phones to listen to their favourite music, so it makes great sense to make our music available digitally,” says Amit Kilam of Indian Ocean. When asked about future plans, Basrur is all smiles. “The response has been very encouraging. Our users love that there is so much new music to choose from and that they can support the artistes directly,” says Basrur.