With the pandemic and lockdown, a trend to distress oneself was a priority for many. Learning musical instruments was one of them. We speak to Yash Gupta, Entrepreneur in Residence, Kadence to learn about the music trend, the market share of foreign instruments in India and Kadence’s plans.
Kadence is India’s musical instrument manufacturer that deals in western instruments. It recently entered the US market with its presence in Canada, Mexico, Bhutan and Nepal.
Share with us your story of how you, at a young age, came about to be the Entrepreneur in Residence at Kadence
YG: I have always aspired to create ideas and strategies that would help a business grow. While doing my bachelors, I started to look for opportunities to gain some work experience and that’s when I landed a job as an intern at Kadence Xperience, Delhi. The brand’s philosophy and ideology fascinated me about making music available to everyone.
After joining Kadence, I realized that every day was filled with new opportunities and challenges. I enjoyed every bit of creativity and ideation involved in the process and I gave it my everything. Fortunately, Siddhartha Jhunjhunwala recognized my efforts, and I grew into a member of the core team in a brief span. Now, I look after the company’s operations and expansion in the USA while heading the retail division.
Share with us detail about Lets Music
YG: ‘Let’s Music’ is the philosophy and ideology of what we do at Kadence. We believe that music is beyond the concept of time, cultures, borders, and connects everyone and leaves them with better versions of themselves. Our mission is to make music a part of everyone’s life, the young or the seasoned, the bathroom singers and the performers, the off-tune or in-tune, the shy, and the live wires. With the same motto, we work with 2,500 artists every year through various collaborations like open mic nights, music videos, workshops, radio shows, social media engagements, and college events.
During the pandemic, there was a trend where many choose to learn an instrument to relieve them of the lockdown woes. What kind of effect did the pandemic cause to the industry? How would this affect sustain?
YG: The pandemic has been extremely hard on all of us but it also presented us with an opportunity to indulge in various activities, hobbies and discover new interests. As I said earlier, we at Kadence believe that music should be a part of our daily life and during the lockdown; we saw a spike in the sale of ukuleles. The portable, simple, and cost-effective musical instrument ukulele has been an ideal choice for beginners to learn an instrument. Besides ukuleles, we noticed a general rise in demand for guitars and other musical instruments.
Overall the pandemic has caused a spike in demand for musical instruments as people turned towards music to unwind and fight the stress levels. We foresee this trend to continue as the pandemic has made everyone realize the importance of doing something that makes him or her happy. Music helps in soothing the mind like no other, and it also gives a sense of accomplishment on learning something new.
India with its many native instruments, what kind of market share for a foreign instrument like Ukulele takes place in India? Which is the most preferred one?
YG: Music is an integral part of the fabric of Indian culture but somehow; we all drift away from it post-school and college. In the last year, Ukulele has emerged as a crowd favorite but the guitar has also continued to be the preferred instrument.
A ukulele that is originally from Hawaii representing Hawaiian culture has been flying off the shelves since the pandemic. We believe it is mainly because of its ability to be an easy-to-learn instrument and an instant pick-me-up. The market share for Ukulele is at 25 percent right now and we expect it to grow to 30-35 percent in coming years.
What kind of influence does the Indian music industry and instrument industry have abroad?
YG: Indian Music instrument industry has a big impact abroad with instruments like harmonium, Table and Sitar and more. These instruments account for a higher percentage of musical instruments being exported from India. We specialize in the western side of instruments, which is a much larger market abroad and might get into the classical side of it in coming years. We are the first Indian musical instruments to have established its operations in the USA and plan on moving to more countries by the end of this year. This will definitely help increase India’s influence over the music industry globally.
What demographics of the sale: The most common age group to buy a Ukulele, the city where the sale of Ukulele is the most?
YG: The charming and delightful ukulele caught the attention of people from almost all age groups. From children to retired senior citizens, from hobbyists to working adults, everyone was found picking up a ukulele. People in between the age groups of 20-60 comprise a large part of the customer base for Ukuleles. The instrument has seen the highest sales in Bangalore and Hyderabad, followed by Mumbai, Delhi, and Chennai.
What trends are present in the industry? How deep-seated the trend is and its capability to grow the music industry?
YG: The pandemic has given rise to the trend of creating and publishing content online. Ukulele also gained popularity as several celebrities like Shreya Ghoshal and Mithila Palkar were seen playing it on social media platforms. Live music is an emerging trend and is becoming very prevalent across age groups.
The trend of the Ukulele is relatively new as the real essence and people till before the pandemic did not know identity of the instrument. But we believe it will grow and evolve as the world moves on into a new normal. Ukulele and Guitalele will emerge as travel partners for people who enjoy playing live music during their weekend getaways and hike trips.
What future trends do you see in the music instrument industry?
YG: In the future, the music industry is all set to see the rise in awareness about the importance of music and its role in reducing stress. Instruments like Cajon will become Popular because of their ability to be carried around easily and still enjoy the music of a drum. The instruments that are compact and are easy to carry while travelling like Guitalele will also find their way into people’s hearts.
What and where do we lack in India, in regards to the music industry?
YG: The Indian music industry has always been a mix of various genres and styles of music. However, moving away from traditional Bollywood music and producing music beyond this has allowed the music industry to widen its horizons and create space for indie music over the last few years. Mainstream film music has dominated indie music as it had a minimal audience. In India, indie music has not yet received the response that it deserves. Indians need to understand the importance of new music and new artists and I believe that is where we lack as an industry. Hence, Kadence rigorously encourages new talent and works with a number of new artists every year.
Moving forward, what plans does Kadence have?
YG: Our goal has always been to make music for everyone’s life and going forward we would like to encourage more and more people to take up an instrument today for a better tomorrow. We look forward to making financial decisions based on opportunities and the need. We have successfully completed 6 months of business operations in the USA and further plan on expanding to Europe and Africa by the end of the year. Our ability to tweak efficiency as per the need of the consumer allows us to deliver customized products and we would like to continue with this endeavor.
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