Percept in the News

Multiple IP owner, Manav Mehta expresses his passion for Music Industry in an exclusive interview
26 September, 2023

Manav Mehta, Director, Bollyboom, is an avid music aficionado and has made a mark for himself in the Music and Entertainment Business. Better known by his stage name REALMM, Manav is hailed as a popular Techno DJ and has performed at many events pan India spanning elite Music Festivals, Concerts, Nightclubs, Lounges and Pop-Up events. Inspired by the legendary musical duo Tale Of Us, Manav straddles both his creative passion in the Business of Music and also seamlessly oversees multiple Music Intellectual Properties. In 2021 Manav took over as the Director – Bollyboom, and in 2022 incepted other Music IPs. He has successfully expanded these IPs into affiliated lifestyle businesses including Clubs, Lounges, Records, Events and Merchandize to offer fans a holistic music lifestyle experience.

In an exclusive interview with EVENTFAQS Media, Manav Mehta shares insights about his extraordinary journey and challenges faced both as an artist and promoter of Live Events.

Q) From a Business family to making a mark for yourself in the Music and Entertainment domain, tell us about your journey.

Hailing from a purely business family background with absolutely no connection to the music and entertainment domain, to following my passion and carving my own path in this space with absolutely no mentor to guide me, it’s been a fascinating journey. I started self-learning every nuance of music composition from a very young age, and only armed with my knowledge and a stage name ‘REALMM’ I broke into the music domain at the age of 19. It was a great decade to break into new, experimental genres of sounds and music events, and I rode this wave by getting some fabulous breaks to perform at some of the biggest platforms like the Sunburn Music Festival and Bollyboom shows. In no time at all, ‘REALMM’ became a recognized name in the Music world.

In 2021 I took my passion of music into the business space to become Director – Bollyboom, a leading Bollywood Dance Music Property. Taking another leap of faith in 2022, I incepted more music IPs featuring some of the biggest international artists debuting for the first time in India.  Today I straddle the dual worlds of creating music and running 2 leading music IPs seamlessly … and the entire journey of the past decade feels so surreal.

Q) From being an artist to running multiple Music Intellectual Properties…how did that leap come about?

I had a great rapport with the Percept Live team who own the Sunburn and Bollyboom Music Intellectual Properties, as I had already performed at many of their live gigs and interacted with all of them. I was very impressed with their professionalism, passion, ‘never say die’ attitude, and the way in which they had defied all odds to grow these Music IPs into leading global brands. We shared a mutual vision to see Bollyboom - the world’s first and biggest Bollywood Dance Music Property, grow in local and global markets, and shared many interesting discussions on how to further scale up this brand in international territories. It seemed only a natural progression in 2021 to take over the mantle of Director - Bollyboom. As an Artist I leveraged my experience and industry network to identify novel opportunities, territories and technology to expand the scope and scale of Bollyboom across formats and geographies.

A year later, I took another emboldened step to incept and launch an IP that had flown in marquee international artists which have been impossible for other promoters to introduce to the India market till date. With over 17 large and medium format live shows held across Goa, Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur and Pune featuring some of the biggest names in the global EDM and Techno space including Boris Brejcha, Black Coffee, Sama Abdulhadi, Tale Of Us, Citizen Kain, Yung Singh, Mathame to name a few, it’s been a fantastic start for us.

Both Music IPs are unique in their offering. While Bollyboom showcases some of the biggest names in the Indian Bollywood Music domain to the Indian diaspora overseas, the other IP presents to India the biggest and best names in the global music industry with a focus on debuting international talent on Indian soil. Both as an Artist and Director / Owner of Music IPs, it’s a fantastic feeling to have a massive fan base, witness packed shows and record sold out shows. And who better than a Music Artist to curate and design bespoke Music Live Shows for music aficionados!

Q) Bollyboom has expanded beyond just being a music property to a 360-degree business. Can you elaborate on the business expansion plans?

Bollyboom was launched as a pure music property in 2012 and over the past decade had established itself as a unique and recognized Bollywood Dance Music IP. It was time to scale up and take this IP to the next level. The ‘Bollyboom House’ lounge launched in Goa in December 2021 followed by the second ‘Bollyboom House’ lounge launch at BKC in Mumbai in April 2022. These premium chic lounges are a lifestyle extension of the brand and offer a vast sophisticated Bar, Dining & Bollyboom Live DJs experience with a high energy, vivacious night club experience for those looking for a unique slice of Bollywood experience.

In the coming 5 years we will be expanding the Bollyboom brand footprint into more Tier 2 and 3 metros pan India, as also ensuring the global roll out of Bollyboom Clubs & Lounges, Records, Events and Merchandise, to ensure Bollyboom becomes India’s one and only indigenous 360-degree Lifestyle Brand for the Bollywood music fan community settled around the world.

Q) Covid-19 created quite the pause in live on ground events. Did it impede your business or propel you to do the unexpected to tide the scenario?

Covid-19 brought the entire live events industry to a grinding halt overnight, and was most unexpected. But I must say that my greatest learning curve came while surviving the unprecedented Covid-19 lockdown that went on for months on end. As artists we knew we must keep the show going and rapidly embraced technology to launch /perform at virtual events. I ideated with Percept Live during 2020-21 to ensure virtual Bollyboom events kept Bollywood Dance Music (BDM) fans connected with both the brand and myself as an artist. As the lockdown eased, we were the first company to announce a multi-city 'Bollyboom Farhan Live India Tour 2022’ which saw packed shows across Pune, Goa, Bangalore and Ranchi. As the pandemic eased we expanded the brand into many affiliated businesses such as Bollyboom Clubs, Lounges and Merchandise to become India’s only holistic Music Lifestyle Brand for the Bollywood music fan community.

The pandemic taught me a big lesson that calamities are temporary, but innovation, perseverance and solid consumer focused brands endure.

Q) Where do you see the Indian live event industry today?

The Live Music industry is growing at a phenomenal pace, especially after the pandemic lockdown. However festival organizers need to actively engage with their audiences and fans to keep reinventing their brand and the associated experience basis the feedback received and what’s trending. The opportunity lies in staying focused on all aspects of the experience inclusive of the content, hi-tech SFX, production, F&B, and of course the fan experience, convenience and safety. Live events offer a transformational experience unlike any other marketing strategy, but only by delivering a “beyond par experience’ on all counts will promoters be able to build memorable, successful and sustainable brands in the live events space.

We also see great potential in the Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. While most promoters and artists are focused on performing in the top 10 cities, the huge disposable income in these smaller metros coupled with a growing youth audience keen to attend live festivals, translates into a massive opportunity for event organizers. With infrastructure development happening at a rapid pace in these metros, it’s a good time for artists and live event companies to start making plans to enter these new territories and capture the ‘first-mover’ advantage.

Q) What are the challenges that you have faced both as an Artist and Promoter of Live Events?

Getting the authorities in sync with our Vision is a big challenge. Live Events should not be viewed as a one-off ground activity, but as a long term aid to driving domestic and global tourism. Music is a great unifier, and greater support is required from all authorities, partners and stakeholders to ensure a win-win scenario for all. While monetization is vital, ensuring that consumers get the “bang for the buck” is important to ensure the brand’s long term sustainability and success.

Complacency is another big challenge. Reinvention and scaling up the experiential offering through constant research, new age technology and innovative content is vital for the IPs survival and growth.

Sustainability and responsible event management have also become increasingly important with the younger generation of festival goers demanding eco-friendly initiatives from festival organizers. We have tried to incorporate many eco-friendly measures spanning booking sustainable venues, eco-friendly transportation and going paperless with RFID bands, employing a QR Code, using tablets and ipads at the venue with at all our events.

Q) With so much competition in the live events space post pandemic, how do you retain and edge and stay profitable?

Research is vital. We interact on ground at all our events with our fans, understand their pulse on Social Media and ensure that the two-way dialogues translate into heightened event experiences, customized to their mass requests. Both IPs have stayed committed to associating with the latest and the best, with whatever is trending in the Music world today. The artists we fly down are ranked absolutely top in the world, and that’s the only way to be atop the game. Our entire Artist selection R&D process is quite scientific, real-time and data driven. While Bollyboom has hosted Guru Randhawa, Diljit Dosanjh, Yo Yo Honey Singh, B Praak, Jassie Gill, Sonu Nigam, Salim-Sulemein, Shaan, KK, Badshah, Aastha Gill, Javed Ali, to name a few.

Collaboration is also an important strategy to have an edge in the live events industry. Today’s youth are world traveled, have exposure to global events, are willing to shell big bucks for an authentic experience, and demand the very best of talent, experience, comfort and safety at a live event, and organizers cannot afford to compromise on any element. Collaboration with global and domestic stakeholders is a smart strategy to expedite and expand boundaries, content, competencies and results without reinventing the wheel or adding to the costs.

Q) How are you planning to scale up the Music IPs for your fans?

We will be going that extra mile to produce 360-degree experiential projects that revolutionize the entertainment and hospitality domain. Plans are afoot to create new experimental concepts in the live events space which have so far only been witnessed in niche global music destinations. I can promise you it will be a game changing WOW experience for our Indian fans.

In order to expand the geographical footprint we will be taking Bollyboom into Tier 2 and 3 cities. There’s a massive pent up demand in such cities. They have high disposable incomes and are hungry for novel world class experiential content in their hometown.

Indoor concerts are another key area of focus to ensure our brand presence all through the year for our fans without compromising on the experiential offerings when the climate doesn’t permit for outdoor live events.

Q) Given the uncertainities faced by the Live Events domain, how do you intend to secure your upcoming events?

We are currently designing robust systems with an aim to make ourselves ‘Anti-Fragile’. Our industry faces the brunt of ‘Force Majeure’ situations, and given the growing unpredictability permeating this VUCA world, it’s important to in-build future proof plans and systems.

Q) Your parting thoughts…

Creating Shared Value and giving back to Society is a tenet of our company. All our events will be eco-friendly and promote sustainability.

Ensuring that a percentage of our revenue is given back to Society, with an aim to empower the community in which we operate to make a positive difference to society is another pledge we are dedicated to.