These fellas will make your heart sing

Walk into his Goregaon home, which he shares with his roommate, and you know 23 year-old Mayank Jain is a hardcore music buff. His room has two black-coloured guitars — one acoustic and one electric — and a didgeridoo, which is an Australian brass aerophone. A stack of books on music is led by Break on Through, a biography on Jim Morrison, and a Radiohead poster claims one wall. In May last year, when Mayank was listening to Silk Route on the Internet and decided to purchase an album by the band online. Nowhere did he find a site that sold the album. That’s when the idea of a pro-artiste site came to his mind.

Mayank Jain poses with his instruments, the didgeridoo and guitars. PIC/Nimesh Dave

Mayank, who was already writing about all things music on, found his first co-founder in his batchmate and friend, 24 year-old Shubhranshu Jain. “I didn’t go looking for the third co-founder. He found me,” smiles Mayank, an IIT graduate who quit his job as a banker at JP Morgan last month. One day, Gaurav Shahlot, a 23 year-old engineer, posted a comment on Mayank’s blog and the two started chatting. “We realised that we shared a great frequency and had music as a common interest. He joined our team soon after,” laughs Mayank.

What it’s about
Musicfellas is trying to integrate the fragmented Indian music market and make it easier for the users to discover new music. Users will be able to listen and buy music online. “Our main focus is on the independent music market in India. We want to create a beautiful listening experience which artistes can also leverage to monetise their music,” explains Mayank.

Log on, and you will be able to listen to indie music online and buy the music as MP3s. You can download individual tracks (starting as low as Rs 10) or albums (starting at Rs 70). The prices are decided by the band/ artiste in conjunction with the guys behind the site. The cherry on the cake is that it all comes integrated with a social networking package. “Each artiste and band has been dedicated a page which allows them to upload pictures, descriptions, albums and comments. “While designing the site, we kept Steve Jobs’ philosophy — minimal and easy — in mind,” says Mayank. So you can not only buy and listen to music, but also discuss it with friends with similar interests. “Music is best enjoyed with friends. That is why we are building Musicfellas around having smooth social interactions. So, social elements are not an afterthought, they are at the core of our product.”

A week before the launch, Musicfellas will launch a private beta site where you can request an invite. Not surprisingly, the trio is relying heavily on Facebook, Twitter and their blog to market themselves.

Set to launch next week, Musicfellas has already signed on 25 bands, including Mother Jane, Sifar, Junkyard Groove and MenwhoPause. The site doesn’t push the artistes into exclusive tie-ups. Mayank explains, “The artistes have the freedom to decide whether they want to sell individual tracks or the entire album. They’re also free to tie-up with other sites.”

“The Internet is very important for any artiste. Musicfellas is a great platform to promote and discuss music, and also track your fans on a serious forum. Very few sites allow musicians to monetise their songs, and those who do, don’t allow Indian debit cards. Musicfellas fixes that problem and makes life easier for both, artistes as well as fans,” says Amit Yadav, guitarist and singer, Sifar.

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