Tarun Nayar (Director, 5x Festival)

Tarun Nayar is a Vancouver based music industry professional who has toured all over the world with his award winning band Delhi 2 Dublin, released music through his SnakesXLadders imprint and raised stage to all sorts of artistic performances through his 5XFest events.

We dialled up Tarun for his take on changes in the music industry and what entertainment trends he sees emerging from this pandemic period. 

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[intro music] 0:00
impact of COVID-19 we all knew this was going to be a tough time.

[intro music] 0:05
We need to wrap our minds around a painful truth. We’re in the early stages of what is going to become a series of cascading crises.

[intro music] 0:23
Getting back to extraordinary the successful country and economy that we’ve had, that we built over so many generations however long it takes

Qasim Virjee 0:41
welcome back to a new normal start Will’s podcast featuring entrepreneurs and innovators across our country who are dealing with post pandemic realities. My name is Qasim Virjee. I’m start Will’s founder and CEO. And for this the third episode in the series, we sat down with Tarun Nyah, who wears a bunch of hats within the music industry. He’s the Executive Director of the 5x Festival, which is Canada’s largest South Asian youth event, as well as a co founder of indie record label Snakes and Ladders, plus, has been part of a band loved across the country and all over the world, called Delhi to Dublin for about 15 years.

Tarun Nayar 1:19
Obviously, you know, the, the last month or so has completely devastated the music industry. So I do a number of things. These days, I run a festival called 5x, which is the largest South Asian youth event like sort of millennial event in Canada. I run a record label called Snakes and Ladders, I manage a few artists, and technically I’m still in a touring band. But, you know, there’s not a lot of touring happening right now. We were actually I shouldn’t say it publicly. But we are, you know, I would say like in the twilight of our band experience, and this was going to be sort of, you know, one of our last big tours this summer, we had a bunch of festivals planned and stuff, but I’m,

Qasim Virjee 2:06
I’m gonna use a binder with Delita double has been quite

Tarun Nayar 2:10
15 years, 15 years, 100,000 albums sold, like almost 2000 gigs. So yeah, a lot of a lot of touring. And a few years ago, one of my friends who ran a festival in Vancouver sort of reached out and was like, Yo, we need some help, you know, and I had worked on an offer at this festival vapc festival for three years doing some programming and stuff. And so that eventually turned into me artistic directing the festival, and then rebranding the festival entirely as like more of a South Asian millennial Festival, and then taking over executive director position, and now I’m buying the brand off of the festival. So, yeah, it’s been, I think, you know, in essence, I’m involved in the music industry, from like, touring, to promoting to managing to releasing records and stuff, I think you kind of have to be, you know, very diversified. It feels and I’m just so interested in everything, like, I still love, you know, sitting right in front of my modular synthesizer, which I, you know, mess around with constantly I just fascinated by the business of it and fascinated by the creative process. And also, I think, most recently, over the last couple years, fascinated with, how do we help young South Asian artists increase their impact, because I just sees, you know, there’s this kind of Renaissance, like a rebel creative revolution happening with like, you know, 16 to 25 year old South Asians, there’s so much content being generated and so many drawbacks. And I think everyone kind of knows that that’s going to bubble over into mainstream culture, and we’re going to start to see South Asian music doing well, we have enough precedent set with like Lilly saying, and, you know, Mindy Kaling and Hasan Minaj people are used to like, seeing brown people on TV now, which is amazing. Yeah, and they’re not just caricatures. There’s actually like, some real characters in movies and film. But the challenge that I think still faces a lot of young South Asians is that there’s just no one, you know, they’re sort of locked out of the industry, as it were, you know, they can, like recently Delhi to Dublin signed a deal with Warner to release our last album. And there are those, there are those examples of working within, there’s like the NABS and the rubina’s of the world, you know, where they’re, like making mainstream progress, but that’s, I would say, That’s few and far between and for the most part, people are signing really shitty deals to you know, Indian record labels and giving away all their rights. Or their say it again,

Qasim Virjee 4:41
the classic story, just people basically, yeah, anything they can as artists to get themselves out when they don’t, necessarily how to do it themselves. Right.

Tarun Nayar 4:49
Yeah. And and also, I think that Indian record labels in particular are just them the hydric in their attitudes, they, you know, no, no, so many young artists don’t Really no rights at all. And so they end up not only signing away everything to these labels, after they’ve made the music themselves, they’ll make the music pay the producer make the song, go to T series or speed T series will be like, This is what it will take people are like, yeah, sure, I’m gonna get my million views, they’ll actually pay T series and speed, you know, a fee, in addition to like giving them all of the rights to their music of master and publishing. And so they’re effectively just pan and T series goes and buys a bunch of views on YouTube and gets them their million plays. And so for, you know, a day and a half, they get to celebrate their moment in the sun of showing their friends, they had a million views, but there’s like zero sustainability to that, because it’s all fake, right, and they have no ownership over their content. And so I’ve been sort of working on, you know, both audience development by the festival, and also building a structure a label, where, you know, for some musicians who we really believe in, we can like throw, not just the, it’s not just releasing music, it’s also like brand partnerships, storytelling, data analysis, like retargeting, you know, like building teams around artists that we think are sort of the future.

Qasim Virjee 6:06
Yeah, there’s a whole like, angle of playing this kind of, I guess, kind of like a digital agency, you have to almost have this marketing facet built into the product rollout. Right. Those artists development, I guess, to anticipate campaigns and projects coming down the pipeline.

Tarun Nayar 6:23
Yeah, yeah. And one of the things that I’ve noticed is rather than be sort of traditional about it, and be like, you know, I guess as an artist, I was always frustrated by these deals where you sign a manager on and they get a sunset clause. And they’re sort of like the deals are so stacked in the favor of the labels, and the managers and promoters, where it’s always the artist, assuming the risk, and if the manager doesn’t do a good job, you’re stuck still paying them out years after you get out of the contract with them. I believe that if you’re a manager, you know, this is somewhat controversial. But if you’re a manager, like as soon as you stop doing a good job, your artist should be able to fire you. And if a better manager comes along, and is doing a better job than you and you haven’t maintained your relationship with the artist, the artist should be able to fire you just like you can fire somebody, maybe give them a month, but you don’t get five years sunset on that. And so I guess Snakes and Ladders especially was was founded on the this idea that we can find a better way to release music where the record label record label, we’re not really a record label. You know, this digital media company can help you release music can find brand partnerships and stuff but doesn’t own anything is just there as a support. Because yes, I’m just so sick of seeing people get ripped off.

Qasim Virjee 7:34
It’s been going on forever. I mean, this is when I got out of the music industry. 2000 789 It was like, just became depressing Gilman sadness every day. Like I couldn’t do it anymore. Right?

Tarun Nayar 7:51
Yeah, yeah.

Qasim Virjee 7:53
Stare at a screen and code all day. That was my Yeah.

Tarun Nayar 7:57
Definitely does take a certain amount of pigheadedness and stubbornness to keep on going. Yeah.

Qasim Virjee 8:02
Well, it’s interesting, because you’ve been on the road to for that 15 years that you’ve been with Delhi to Dublin, right? Yeah. In vans and in motels and toughing it out.

Tarun Nayar 8:12
Yeah, grinding. Yeah, which is actually becoming rarer and rarer. Really, you know, the new model is kind of, you know, give everything you got, you know, on the sort of streaming side of things, and when you start to see traction, then you start to book tours, whereas in the old days, it was like, get out on the road, grind it, build up an audience, and then you’ll start to see the sales. So it’s almost flipped the way that it’s worked. I think it makes a lot more sense to do it this way. But I guess the challenge is, everyone is releasing music because it’s so easy to make songs. Now you can, there’s so many tools to easily make music. So it is a little harder to, you know, Ries like, you know, separate the wheat from the chaff, especially since the the majors still really own 99% of the streaming game. So if you are independent, you’re kind of you know, it’s a challenge.

Qasim Virjee 9:06
I would have thought the effect of the kind of major record labels these days would be less in that the liberal like just liberalization of being able to publish these days and the independent means people have to promote their music is greater but apparently not it’s no

Tarun Nayar 9:24
I mean, it’s still I would say like one of the beautiful things that you you do see examples of people like Chance the Rapper, you know, who have been able to sort of claw their way up just through sheer talent and and tenacity. But the democratization of music in the digital sphere hasn’t really changed a lot because it’s it’s the major labels are really the main stakeholders and all of the DSPS so, you know, Spotify is, you know, the major labels are still own a huge chunk of Spotify. So there’s so many

Qasim Virjee 10:00
So, Spotify, I have to ask you about this. I’ve been wondering about this for a while, Spotify, since I remember it coming, okay. The first few years was kind of like, oh, man, there’s this like Scandinavian I think, app that’s like, getting all his music and artists had this backlash because they’re like, they’re not paying anything for it. And this is illegal. And it’s another Napster. And then it just kind of like took off, because I guess the customer want was so large that they’re ostensibly licensing tracks on a almost 0% royalty. Yeah. So what’s, and yet it’s become, it’s become the de facto means of listening to music for most people around the world. So is it just about his publishing these days? And getting your stuff on platforms like that, primarily just about connecting with audiences?

Tarun Nayar 10:52
In terms of what’s in it for the artist?

Qasim Virjee 10:54
Like, do artists make money from releasing content? Just from like, the, the listening side of it anymore? Or?

Tarun Nayar 11:01
I mean, yes, some people do. But you’re, it’s very hard to make a living off of that, you have to be extremely strategic. And I think that the key thing is like, what have you given away in the process, you know, if you’ve signed to a label, then they may be taking, you know, 50, to 75, to 80%, to 90%, of everything that you’re making on those like, you know, point 005 cents per stream. So you have to, you know, depending on your deal, you have to be doing, like, even if you own 100% of your stuff, and you’re independently releasing it, you have to be doing major numbers, like, you know, you have to be doing like, like 50,000 to 100,000 plus streams a week, on your catalog to make, you know, the same amount is like a kindergarten teacher. So, you know, you have to be doing numbers, but the idea is just like, you know, just like in other industries, there is a loss leader, kind of a vibe at the moment of streaming. So I think that most people, including myself, like if we get those numbers, we know that it will open up other opportunities. And so thinking, I think you have to sort of shift these days, whether it’s good or bad, you kind of have to see streaming as like a business card, like your music that you’re making is a business card, because the real revenue is for most people is not going to be made in streaming, it’s going to be made when Northface decides to, you know, sponsor your band, because like, that’s the thing with a lot of brands right now, they’re not looking as much for sponsoring, I mean, they still do to some degree, like festivals and events, they want to sponsor influencers, because they know creators, because they realize that that’s where, you know, having a bunch of engaged creators is way better than having your logo on, you know, Banner at a festival. For the most part, you’re gonna get way more engagement and reach and attraction and stuff. So I would say that it Yeah, it’s continues to morph. But not a ton of artists that I know are making a living off of. Yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s like, it would be like the gravy, you know, it would be like, Oh, that’s nice. It’s nice to get 10,000 bucks at the end of the year. But, you know, very few people are making 100,000 bucks a year on it. Very few. Right. Yeah.

Qasim Virjee 13:07
And so, I guess question just to pick your brains on this. So what about when to talk that you hear of vinyl coming back? And people through fixed media or physical media making money on record sales that way?

Tarun Nayar 13:23
Yeah, I mean, records for like, I don’t know, a little last like three or four years in a row globally. Vinyl has been has been, you know, showing, like a comeback. But I don’t think anyone expects that it would ever, you know, be like a huge source of income. It’s still like making a comeback from virtually nothing. Right? So numbers are rising, but it’s like, you know, just like, like tiny infinitesimally small part of the market worldwide.

Qasim Virjee 13:50
So how has I guess you guys have a festival coming up this summer? Right isn’t? Tentatively gonna happen?

Tarun Nayar 13:58
It will. We’re actually we have PR coming out this week, like a whole launch thing. It will, but it’s going to happen in a totally different way than you know, than it ever has. And, and it’s not, we’re not doing the like online festival thing that you know, that everyone is doing. Like, it seems like oh my god, every time I open up Instagram these days, it’s like there’s some online festival happening. Everything’s live all the time, all the time. It’s like, it’s like everyone’s live just like 24 hours a day. Yeah. Which I actually think is freaking great. But we’ve decided to go with a different model. When I was in I lead a trade mission on behalf of the BC government to India. We just finished our last one in December. And so I was there with like, you know, a bunch of delegates meeting different companies. And I met someone who runs a fan engagement app in Bombay. And actually we got on so well that we decided to start working together. And so before the COVID things started, I had been diving deep into this idea of offseason fan engagement And this app was used by Manchester City soccer team last year in their offseason to like, do stuff. So it was sort of it had been done mostly in the sort of fitness space. But we were like, Oh, we can reimagine this and totally do it in the music space or the festival space. And so we are launching that, at least launching the PR campaign around that this week. And we just finished going through all the like, you know, UI and UX changes and everything. And so that’s super exciting. And it will not large gatherings in in person. As soon as I get off this call with you, I’m on another call with like, all the different festivals from across Canada. And it’s pretty it’s accepted that large gatherings will not be happening in 2020. Yeah, we we may get away with like a 50 person event by November or something, you know, maybe if you’re like, way up north or something, and there’s no danger of COVID up there. But yeah, multi 1000 person festivals are not gonna happen.

Qasim Virjee 16:00
Yeah, we’re seeing it. I mean, here at our venue event or venues, we’ve got like two spaces that are probably going to turn into office space. Is an offseason revenue creation. Yeah, back up plan, because our spaces, they’re smaller, intimate spaces, but like, I guess that’s even more of a problem. Optically for people in the next few months. Mm hmm. Yeah, it’s crazy. It’s funny to think that, that this has happened to the industry, but but you’ve got to kind of like, you know, still repurpose space and keep moving forward. And, and it sounds like this app is interesting, because the big question, of course, that that this whole COVID thing, and people staying at home and being primarily connecting online has really pushed us, you know, given that is 2020, do we really rely on communication technology to reinterpret how we communicate? And I think it’s not really there’s no answer. So any innovations in this space are kind of interesting, because they’re timely.

Tarun Nayar 16:58
Yeah. Yeah. Like, I’ve been fascinated watching how people have used tools that all right, that that, you know, predated COVID. But in really new and interesting ways. I was watching. One of my friends is like, Yo, dude, you got to check out United masters, which is sort of distributor distribution company, similar to CD Baby or TuneCore, or whatever.

Qasim Virjee 17:21
He baby still around? Yep.

Tarun Nayar 17:24
There’s still one of the biggest distributors of independent music.

Qasim Virjee 17:27
I get some money from on, you know, through some little paypal account from CD Baby once in a while.

Tarun Nayar 17:32
Yeah. Yeah, they’re still around them. So I was like, You, my friends, like you got to check out these open mics that they’re doing on United masters. So I checked out the mic. And we then started doing them as a festival. And the concept is that you have someone go on as your festival, you know, on your festival Instagram account, they go live. And then people request to join your life. So to like, you know, co host a live or whatever. And every person that request to join gets three minutes to do something. And so we started this, like an open mic, except instead of having 15 minutes, you get one song. And we started this a few weeks ago. And you know, I found some friends and was like, you know, it’s our first time, you know, can you join in? And so I phoned up Rupi Kaur who’s from Toronto, Brampton, the poet and I was like, Yo, can you jump on and just like, say hi, and sort of inaugurate the thing. And she was like, Yeah, and so she did it. And we had uncor Tiwari last week from gully boy who did all the music for gully boy. And we’ve had a bunch of artists from California. And so now we’re at a point where we have artists that are tapping in from way I’d like Australia, California, India, somewhere in Singapore, this past year that tap in and give a song for you know, so it’s a very, like non localized open mic all of a sudden, which is super exciting. And this is just Instagram Live that we’ve all had forever. But people finding, you know, new ways. And the other thing that we’re doing with so we started doing these Friday night, and Saturday night Twitch parties, you know, we thought like, you know, all the green screen shed and made a studio in Surrey with all the stuff and so we can have different artists come in and swap everything down afterwards. And, you know, do sets on Friday and Saturday nights. And this past Saturday, we tried that group zoom call thing concurrently with the Twitch stream. Okay, it was just totally like, let’s try see what happens. Yeah. And it went apeshit like people It turned into a virtual dance battle, where the person that was sort of controlling the Zoom call, we broadcast the Zoom call on the green screen and back of the DJ so you could see everyone dancing, Klein almost like boiler room style behind. And then we would flip through the different you know, rooms and it was like, you know, beautiful thing about multi generational South Asian families is that you’ll have like the dads and the kids and the dogs and like rooms praying together and people are all drinking together. And so you go from house to house and it would be like you get 15 seconds, show us your best dance moves. And so we’re scrolling through These houses and everyone was like practicing the routines. And we ended up going like, two hours over because it was so late. This zoom call and a Twitch, you know, what was formerly used to stream like video? Gaming? Yeah, totally. So it’s, it’s amazing to see these add up, I just I trip out, I love it. You know,

Qasim Virjee 20:22
that’s awesome. And it’s true, like mashing up the different perspectives into one media form has so many creative potentials to explore. Yeah. And like, I think that the interesting thing too, about this whole live phenomenon is that people are, I guess, they’re kind of they want, they want to, like participate, and they know that they can. But there’s something special about like, knowing that is live. And what’s interesting for me is, we’ve always or until maybe the last few years, thought of live media as being something that’s a mass media. It wasn’t personal. It’s only now becoming personal, where people are, aren’t anticipating a movement surrounding the event. So anything could be an event, which is again, coming back to like a lot of the ethos we spread here and start well about people meeting for for business purpose, and how that could be so serendipitous and help their companies at any given moment. Yeah, same thing. It’s like localized events are awesome.

Tarun Nayar 21:21
Yeah, yeah. I, you know, speaking of that, on a very small scale, a few weeks ago, I was so balanced is always been a big part of my life. And the reason that I survived 15 years on the road is because I have a daily practice, like a, you know, 15 to 20 minute practice, which sort of keeps me stable in the morning. And when COVID started, I was like, hey, what can I do? I’m not gonna save anyone’s life, because I’m not a doctor. I’m a freakin musician. So I can, like continue writing songs and supporting live music, that’s fine. But I was like, Well, I can also, you know, I also meditate every morning. So maybe I’ll throw it out to the community. You know, I have, like, obviously, lots of musicians and you know, younger South Asians that are that are associated with things that I do. So I kind of put out something saying, Hey, I’m gonna meditate every morning at 830. And you can join. And I’ve been doing it for the last like, five weeks, every morning at 838 30 Pacific Standard Time. And we’ll have like, 10 to 20 people just join in every morning. And there’s nothing you know, there’s no like event poster. There’s no, it’s just a little local group of people that are getting together, my mum and my dad join my sisters join. So it’s like all people I know. It’s not like, but but we’re using Instagram Live to do it. It’s fascinating. So it’s public. It’s public. Now. Anyone can join. It tends to be people that that I know. I don’t have like 50,000 followers where there’s like tons of tons of people on there that I’m like, Who are you? You know?

Qasim Virjee 22:47
Just waiting to meditate with?

Tarun Nayar 22:48
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, yeah. That’s it’s a it is interesting how these little small Yeah, like when I tap into various people’s lives to see what’s going on sometimes, like for people, but they’re just having a great conversation, but it’s public. So cool.

Qasim Virjee 23:06
I haven’t I haven’t fully explored Instagram live yet. I don’t I always feel like I have less to contribute these days. I should just like, do Instagram lives and my daughter she’s Yeah,

Tarun Nayar 23:18
there you go. Oh, my God, this is the book. This is the book cost them. What is it? It’s been teaching me so much. I’m sure you’ve seen this before. Know your work? No, I’ve never seen it. It’s by Austin Kleon. I was looking at because as I’ve you know, when you’re an artist, it’s very easy to talk about your life in there’s so many pictures being generated, you know, every show we did there’d be some photographer, you’d send us a load post one on your Instagram. It’s like, Yo is a crazy night. Thank you, you know, Portland or whatever it is. But then as you move on from there, and we you know, we go into this sort of entrepreneurial thing, it can be really difficult to know how to share that process, because it’s not nearly as photogenic it’s like, I’d literally be sharing like zoom screen captures of meetings and stuff or like me doing email. So this this book, show your work was super helpful and allowing me to understand like, okay, there are certain elements of what I’m doing that are actually very valuable and should be shared. Yeah, it’s helpful I’ve been recommending into how old you know. 3939 Yeah, everyone in our age group who like did not grow up with this idea of cultivating a personal brand as just kind of, you know, something that’s a natural part of life. Like, I don’t want to share all that stuff. But I’ve started to realize that like, it’s not about me, it’s about what I’ve done and what I’ve experienced and how I can share that with people. Like that’s what it’s about. It’s like, I got to just get out of the picture here.

Qasim Virjee 24:47
Funny though, cuz especially if you’re engaged in some sort of popular media, there’s also kind of an image of success that you know, is sellable, or one assumes or one did back in the day, especially in the music industry.

Tarun Nayar 25:00

Qasim Virjee 25:00
if you stray from that, you know, I guess the bias back of mind was always like, it will lock you out of opportunity. Right? Right.

Tarun Nayar 25:11
Yeah, that’s an adjustable ship these days. I was chatting with Dino Swish, he’s from your part of the world.

Qasim Virjee 25:20
I think he’s spoken at an event here once he’s a young entrepreneur, right? Yeah. He,

Tarun Nayar 25:24
he owns true fan. And they just bought social rank. So they’re, like, you know, all about, I guess, like analysis, like, analysis of social media stuff. But like influencer stuff, it helps influencers, like, analyze who their most engaged, you know, followers are, and it helps them be tactical in building, you know, I would say influencers and brands and creators. So he was he, you know, he’s, like, classic. He’s 22. And, you know, doing doing great things, and his attitude, his approach to sharing. I also learned a lot, I was on a call with him last week. And I was just like, Yeah, this is the attitude. It’s like, not like, I’m the fucking best. And I’m going to show you like, only the best part of my life. It’s like, No, I’m just gonna, like, share what I’m going through. Yeah, with you.

Qasim Virjee 26:14
People connect. It’s funny, because like, I’m always, especially coming from, like, a media background, always used to over producing. And like, like, even if you look around, I don’t know, I’ve got things plugged in, like this microphone, so I can’t really show the laptop around. But like, there’s like a camera behind this laptop that was supposed to be, you know, what I connected to you with? That’s like an HD proper camera that I didn’t like, do the settings, right? So it’s not on. And then like, we’re in a soundproof room, those extra like lights and shit. It all failed, right? Like, none of us turned on properly. And I was gonna have like, a camera filming me talking to you and all this shit, right? That’s level of production. I’ve been doing stuff with lately, but But it’s funny, because the thing is, the conversation is what matters. That’s the point. So as long as people can listen to it, watch one. And you see it with I’ve seen this as a trend lately, a lot of entrepreneurs doing these like daily video testimonials, like every day, they’ll record like a one minute thing on LinkedIn. It’s like just saying, Hey, this is what I’m up to. This is what I’ve been working on. I hope this comes through this week. And it’s it’s these little snapshots into their life becomes so viral, especially in business professional communities, where maybe even people suits are like, very tapped into the honesty of it all. Yeah. And I’ve seen that be very successful for a lot of people, even when their companies have had trying times like of late. Right. So it’s true, I think any type of media that you can kind of put out there that’s representative and authentic. Yeah, we’ll connect with. Yeah. Um, so how let’s, let’s talk a little bit about kind of, you know, I know, we can write off the year for saying that people will be legally allowed to gather. And of course, we want to maintain as much distance to ensure Canadian safety as possible. Where do you see also impacts on the entertainment industry, particularly, in what you do? In the next few months? What are what are some of the things that you’ve seen, that will continue on? And where do you see us exiting from them if they’re bad, or embracing them? If they’re good?

Tarun Nayar 28:21
Yeah, no, I mean, that’s the question that everyone’s answering. I think that the, you know, probably the probably the the industry as a whole, like, has no idea what’s gonna play out. There’s, there’s a few kind of depressing things that we can be sure of one, you know, many artists in Canada can avail the CRB, which is the $2,000 sort of emergency response benefit, because every artists that I know, has had all of their gigs cancelled. So those artists that are, you know, for the 95% of artists that don’t have a bunch of money saved up in the bank, this is a trying time. And so far, online performances and festivals and stuff are not paying money, I think that’s going to change. And I think that there’s going to be like a revenue generation model there. But only if you’re a certain tier of artists, like I don’t think, you know, what would have been a $500 gig for an average artist, you know, is probably going to be, you know, $20 cake now online. So I don’t think it’s, you know, the offers that are going to be made are going to be considerably less at first, I think. Right. But I think one of the scary things, one of the disturbing things is that a lot of the smaller promoters don’t have the resources to weather the storm. And so in the States, even like, not, not smaller, but just be tier like, they still might have a national presence, but like hip hop, or you know, rap promoters or whatever, that aren’t the live nations and the aegs. They don’t have like, you know, hundreds of 1000s of dollars in the bank to just get them through a tough year, whereas Live Nation ag and golden voice I’m not really worried about them. Oh, Coach, I was still going to be fine. Regardless of anything, they’ve got a lot going deep pockets. So I think that’s the scary thing is that these folks who are responsible for bringing up people, you know, like, like more specialty markets, like a lot of those promoters and venues are closed already, they just can’t, you know, they couldn’t even make it a month. Yeah, like, like, like, we it’s so tight. Yeah, it’s so tight. And I know blueprint who I work with a lot out here, they would be the equivalent of like, embrace or something in Toronto, they, you know, they like laid off a bunch of their staff. Brand live that does, like they did Skookum festival in Squamish festival and a lot of public events in Vancouver, they laid off all their staff right away, because there’s just, you know, it’s a crazy business. Thankfully, I’m in a festival that gets lots of public funding support, because we are, you know, targeted towards and a bunch of our programming is free. So a lot of the public funding has been more forgiving. So we’re, we’re missing out on, you know, huge amount of revenue this year, but our costs are also quite a bit less, because we’re not doing a massive 10,000 person festival, right. So we can sort of, you know, we can weather the storm. And we’ve read, we’ve pivoted to totally focus on this online, you know, sort of experience. But in terms of what we’re going to bring out of this, you know, positives, I think that the online performance thing and the Zoom party on the Saturday, Friday night, I think there’s going to be elements of that, that carry over because I think what I’m seeing already is that people are like, actually, I like it better. Yeah, like,

Qasim Virjee 31:34
I like it, man. Oh, yeah. Yeah, like

Tarun Nayar 31:37
getting, you know, like setting up the zoom or the twitch or whatever. And getting to watch a real show, because of the performance standards are just like increasing everyday people are figuring out the craziest thing to do. And it is very interactive, and that you’re like typing to the DJ, and you’re requesting songs and stuff. And in the Zoom call, you can see like other rooms of people all over the world, there’s an element of that, which I think people are falling in love with. And I don’t think it’s going to go away. Like, I don’t think we’re just going to go straight back to doing everything IRL. I think that, like every industry, like all the people who are now working at home and realizing that they don’t have to commute for four hours a day, or like, I should just work from home. Like, yes, there are challenges, but are the challenges worth four hours of wasted or lost time every day? You know. So I think that there are going to be elements of that, which survived. But I think at the same time, it’s going to mean music, people are saying that large gatherings, festivals and venues are going to be you know, we were the first to suffer, and we’re going to be the last to recover. And I think there’s a lot of truth to that. Because we can’t, you know, even all the artists who are involved in all these online offerings, so far, everything is free. So there’s not really a big revenue generation model there for them. And yeah, you can keep on putting out albums every week on Spotify. But again, you’re so I, you know, I have a lot of empathy. And obviously, so many of my friends are artists, and I’m just like, you know, these are the people that don’t have the security nets, most artists just, you know, are getting by. And so I worry, yeah,

Qasim Virjee 33:12
yeah, no, definitely. And, you know, the scariest thing to consider, of course, and all this are the domino effects, the ripple effects, the, you know, it for six months, or whatever it is remaining in the year, these industries are closed, how will people change their lives, possibly even move away from their artistic pursuits, to try and make a living? And then will they come back to them? That’s a big question. You know, and also, it’s about infrastructure as well, like you mentioned, with so many venues being closed. I also mentioned, you know, event space that we own changing purpose, and maybe never changing back again, we’re going to see this kind of unfortunate. Perhaps evolution is one way to look at it. We don’t we don’t know. It’s unfortunate, in general, but there’ll be a change in how people come together from a retail experience, you know, the mainstream experience. So yeah, interesting to see how 2021 You know, I guess how people come together for music. At that point,

Tarun Nayar 34:16
it will be very interesting. And I think, again, to take a positive, I think that disruption is awesome for those on the fringes. Because the industry has been on lock since you know, what the 40s Really, and streaming, you know, peer to peer sharing and streaming, there was a disruption, a very momentary disruption before the same companies just came in and locked down. And I think that will probably happen with all of these new online experiences. But at the moment, the majors are so thick and heavy that they haven’t been able to like, change tack. It’s gonna take them months to do that to build up the infrastructure that it needs. So all of us like, you know underdogs who They’re just kind of duking it out in the trenches that there’s a moment here. And I think that if you can stay alive, which in Canada, thankfully, we have some stuff that’s, you know, available for artists, and musicians and contractors, if you can stay alive during this time, this is this is not a bad time to be strutting your stuff and sharing your work, you know?

Qasim Virjee 35:20
Yeah, no, it sounds like it, especially as you kind of ponder the technical capabilities of how artists will reach audiences, like you’re mentioning with the zoom thing. And you know, that evolution comes out of the trenches for sure. I think the willingness to use things that are questioning, you know, the legal controls, or what not. Yeah, that’s, that’s where a lot of interesting stuff will come out of. Um, have you heard of anything else that you might want to clue any of our listeners into, after the fact to do with music production? I’ve seen a lot of people kind of live producing music over the internet together in the last few weeks. Are there tools for people to consider that you’ve seen or? Yeah,

Tarun Nayar 36:00
I mean, I think Twitch is the best for all of this. We jumped into Twitch as soon as COVID happened, like before the self isolation things started. We got like our whole team schooled with Twitch but everybody web cameras, before they all went out of stock on.

Qasim Virjee 36:18
Yeah. offered to buy one of mine off. Yeah.

Tarun Nayar 36:23
We’re the reason we were just like, order 10 of them, give them to everyone. And so we started live streaming production sessions every single week on our Twitch channel, snakes and ladders. And so I think that, that that’s cool. I mean, it’s, it’s,

Qasim Virjee 36:38

Tarun Nayar 36:39
think, coming back to the sharing your work thing, I think that this is a great time to be sharing your process. And, you know, I think Twitch is a is a great platform to use, because there is sort of monetization potential. It’s not as hard to grow on Twitch as it is to grow on YouTube. YouTube is so saturated. It’s it’s hard to grow on Instagram. It’s hard to grow on Facebook. I mean, unless you’re promoting posts and stuff, but on Twitch, it’s still, you know, still kind of like the Wild West, no one really knows what the fuck is going on. So I think it’s great. I think using that to share regularly in some capacity is probably a good call as a musician, or even as a concert promoter. You know, starting a night, on a Thursday, like every night is the same night these days for people. So do it on a Tuesday. You know, it doesn’t matter. There’s a 420 party today, my friends, westward recordings are holding on, on their Twitch, and they’ve teamed up with Shambhala Music Festival and your EDM, which is like a big, you know, big sort of blog site, and they’re doing like a massive Twitch party on Monday afternoon. Because you can right now