The Live Events Industry is Going to be Bigger Than What it was Before COVID, Says Tarsame Mittal

Industry Watch | February 5, 2021 | Interview

Tarsame Mittal TM Talent Management

Known as one of the leading talent management agencies of the country, TM Talent Management manages and represents musical talents exclusively from the Bollywood playback and live entertainment industry.

In an interview with EVENTFAQs Media, Tarsame Mittal, Founder, TM Talent Management shares insights on live music concerts, artiste world tours, new approach towards work, the digital platform and future plans.

What are your views on live music concerts returning in the country? What challenges will the industry face to execute them post-pandemic?
I think the worst time is over, the best time is coming now. Every other business has opened; unfortunately live concerts are the last thing which will open up. In India, anyway, large concerts or ticketed concerts do not account for the majority of the business. The majority of the business in terms of concerts, corporate events, private events, college festivals, Government-sponsored events and ticketed shows will be about 8 to 10% of the pie. Large concerts are not the biggest part of the economy of our industry and also corporate shows and wedding shows have already started from September, when the Government lifted the ban first and allowed 50-people events. Slowly, everything has started getting back on track. Also, a lot of brands have started doing digital concerts.

The challenges are how soon do we get to the vaccination, how soon do we get the permissions to hold large concerts… People's priorities have changed; earlier, people had money but now that the economy is sinking, obviously people will have less money to spend. Nobody exactly knows whether live concerts will have the same kind of business or more or less. There is one philosophy which says that people are depressed and they are very irritated sitting at home and everybody wants to do those things again; this will actually drive more business for the live concert industry because people want to go back to that night where they can enjoy a drink and dance with friends. The other philosophy says because people will not have money enough to spend, they won’t come out. The challenges are only the rules and regulations, what happens to the vaccine and this reality of life which we will only know once COVID is over. Artistes want to perform, the sound and light vendor wants to work, the venue wants to open up, and it purely depends on when we are allowed.

Tell us about your views on artiste world tours post-pandemic. What are your plans on executing concerts for Arijit Singh this year? 
I feel in the next three-four months, majority of the population in the world will be vaccinated and we will be able to start doing concerts with ‘conditions apply’, perhaps from August onwards. So, we will first be finishing all our past commitments. We had a lot of concerts lined up which we had to postpone because of COVID. We had three gigs in the UK in July, 2020, which we had postponed to July, 2021. We had gigs in Australia and New Zealand for October, 2020, which we have tentatively pushed to October, 2021. Now, it depends on what is the situation in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and India. We had a concert in Bangalore, which was postponed and another one in Delhi; there are about 20 gigs like that in Dubai, Abu Dhabi. It depends on what is the situation and then it's not something which we can access right now. They're all subjective.

According to you, how will the live entertainment industry shape up in the post-COVID era?
I feel the live industry is going to be bigger than what it was. In the same way people shut down everything, people will open up when they are safe and clear. The day, this fear of spreading COVID, is over, you will see unprecedented rise in the live entertainment industry. A physical interaction is all about what life is. Why do people go to the concert, why do people go to halls or multiplexes - it’s the experience! That’s why it's called experiential industry. Physical experience can never be completely replaced by anything else.

Tell us about your new approach towards work in the music and entertainment business amidst the pandemic.
My approach was very simple. The moment the pandemic hit, we kind of guessed that it would take at least one year. So,we first assured all our team members that as a company, we will take care of everyone and nobody would be laid off because of COVID. Second, we asked everybody to take care of their health, take care of people who are around them, help people who need support, be compassionate and then look for alternative opportunities. We did a lot of activities in the last 10 months. We did Rise India Awards, Music Plus in partnership with Red FM, we did four episodes of Rise India Awards where multiple artistes perform and facilitated corona warriors from all over the country. Then we also did All About Music, we got Arijit Singh and AR Rahman to talk to each other. We also did a lot of digital concerts for brands and private clients; also concerts for apps like Wynk, and others. We also did digital marketing and digital influencer marketing campaigns. That's a new thing we did this year. We consulted a couple of apps for music licensing deals. We did a lot of alternative businesses in the last 10 months and we kind of survived. Our approach was simple: ‘Let's not focus on what you can't do, let's focus on what you can do’. 

According to you, do digital platforms have scope post-COVID for artistes? Which are the sectors where you have already started work for them as a talent management company? 
Definitely, there is a scope for the artiste. If an app or a platform is able to create live experiences digitally which people did not expect, yes, there is scope. If people are doing generic live, it will always be a compromise; it will not be a choice. If you open Instagram or YouTube, you will see hundreds and thousands of musicians going live every time, but you will only be interested in watching something which is really good, where you can feel that environment of live performance. It is never the singing; it is always the experience. For our artistes, we are working on private events, corporate events, performances and dealing with a lot of brands as influencers.

What are your strategies to resume work in the entertainment domain? How difficult it is to regain the business?
An artiste who is loved by the audience will always have business. Anybody who is popular audiences love them and they will have business. When the market is good, everybody has business, when the market is not good, only 20% artistes have business. That's the difference. The tough part is, having business for everyone.

What are your post-COVID plans and what will be your future initiatives?
Too many things on the table right now, the next two things which we will be announcing soon - one is an IP, connecting brands and the entertainment industry and one is a B2B app which solves the problem of connecting to the right representatives of parties.

Tarsame Mittal, Founder, TM Talent Management, shares insights on live music concerts, artiste world tours, new approach towards work, the digital platform and future plans.

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