The Indie music scene has been steadily gaining strength over the years. Indie bands and music are slowly making inroads into our taste of music, which was previously predominantly ruled by international or Bollywood music. More and more people are being exposed to indie music through various mediums like live shows, radio, online music stores etc. Today we feature ‘OK Listen’ an online music store started by Vijay Basrur with the vision of bridging the gap between musicians and their fans.
Born and brought up in Mumbai, Vijay, has a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from WIT, Solapur, and an MBA from SP Jain. Vijay has a rich experience of working in start-ups and has been a part of start-ups like Bazee.com, Quikr.com and Synqua Games. “I think the joy of creating something and seeing a company grow from a small team to a large team is what start-ups provide”, he says. He believes that creating a good and valuable proposition which addresses the customers’ needs is what makes a successful start-up. His experience with start-ups is definitely helping him run his very own startup, OK Listen.
“I have been a music buff since I was in school”, says Vijay. He started purchasing music ever since he started working in 1994. Vijay’s love for music led him to finally start ‘OK Listen’, a single destination for consumers to discover, sample and purchase music created by independent artists. The idea to start OK Listen came to him when he wanted to purchase music from an independent band called ‘Them Clones’. That’s when he realized that artists were using the Indian postal service to distribute CD’s because they did not have a trustworthy digital distribution platform. He decided to bridge this gap between artists and fans and that’s how OK Listen was born.
The biggest challenge, however, was to instil trust and confidence that bands’ music would be in safe hands. Like any radical idea, a lot of people were initially cynical about an Indian digital platform.
“We addressed this by going ahead and building the platform instead of talking about it”, says Vijay. Over time trust and confidence was built among the Indie bands, there was no looking back thereafter.
OK Listen was started to create a truly pro-musician digital platform that musicians could trust and a destination consumers could come to for discovering music and supporting the musicians they love. For consumers OK Listen is a platform to discover independent music and also to support their favourite indie bands. For bands it provides a platform to sell their music globally. As of now more than 50 artists have joined OK Listen, with more bands coming on board every week.. Bands get a vanity URL (www.oklisten.com/bandname) which helps them to promote their music. 70% of the net revenue is shared with the artists. A transparent pay-out system is also one of the USP of OK Listen.
“Our plan is to get as many artists as possible under a single destination”, says Vijay about his company’s future plans. He also wants to offer a wider variety of genres for the users. He believes that there are users waiting to discover new music and are willing to pay for it. Just that they don’t have a lot of options now. With the independent music scene gaining more and more popularity, a platform like OK listen is becoming more important for people to get access to popular and upcoming bands on the scene. “I think this industry will see a lot more growth with more inflow of musicians”, he says.
We are proud that a fellow Mumbaikar is contributing in such a big way to the independent music scene. Thanks to Vijay and OK Listen, artists and fans have been able to reach out to each other. And what does this Mumbaikar think about his city? “Lately the city is crumbling under a visible lack of infrastructure, open spaces and living here seems a lot more difficult than it used to. Having said that, there is no other city I would want to live in India other than Bombay”, he says. We agree to you Vijay, there is no other city worth living in!