#AppAlert: Placing Music from North-East India on the Map

By DaiaKharsati

Music has no barriers and even in the time of Pandemic, it fills the grim atmosphere with the much-needed warmth.In an age where technology has become a huge part of our day-to-day life, it is increasingly playing a vital role in musicwith different apps in the market and closer home, there is Songhoop. Here, local artists can get a platform to upload their songs, earn by selling their songs on the app and in a way also promote independent music artists who are waiting to make it big.

DaiaKharsati, a reporter fromThe Shillong Timescaught up with BanshemphangTham who is the proprietor of ProVibes Studio and Songhoop is developed by ProVibes studio. He said that the app is not only for artists from Meghalaya but it will also provide a stage for musicians from across the North East.

Excerpts from the interview:

DK: What inspired you to come up with the app idea?

BT: Ever since the discontinuation of audio cassette tapes and decline in audio CD sales because of numerous factors, local music artists have struggled to sell their music. Artists then started to create music videos of their songs which only added to the production costs of a song with generally minimum to no returns. That was when Songhoop was conceptualised. The goal is to create an ecosystem where music from the North East of India can thrive.

DK: How did you develop the app? Any special training or support from techies?

BT: Developing an application takes time. Being in the music industry, and interacting with so many artists in and around Shillong, I wanted to come up with a product that will give a platform to local artists to showcase their talent and get due recognition. Outsourcing my vision was beyond my means, and I needed someone who understands my vision along with the capability to make it a reality. That was when I was introduced to KyrshanlangRaplangDkhar in 2017 who was pursuing his MCA in St. Anthony’s College, Shillong.

He took an interest in the app, and as part of the MCA curriculum, he opted to develop Songhoop as his major project in his final semester. I would like to thank the Department of Computer Science (MCA), St. Anthony’s College, Shillong for deeming it fit to be acceptable as a final semester project for one of its students. This entails guidance received from the department and the hard work put in by Kyrshan. I would also like to thank Ms. Lucy Manisha Kurbah – another Anthonian- for developing Songhoop’s website and was part of the development team. The journey during the development was challenging, but rewarding, and it took almost two years to develop the app to what it is today. Also, LimaonenAier for inputs regarding the app’s design and functionality.

DK: How many indie artists have you come across who have used the app?

BT: We have just started so, people are just hearing about our app. So far though, the response has been very positive as a number of artists have been very positive towards this new platform and are working towards registering with the app.

DK: Is it helping them to consider that though there are talented artists, there are no platforms for them?

BT: Again, we have just started but we do believe that it will help them. The whole idea behind the app is to help the artist.There are no payments to be made or any other major inconveniences for the artists. If they have a song they want to share or sell, the app is a platform for them to do so. Also, we help with small write-ups for the artists, so that people can know about them and their music as well.

DK: What are your future plans?

BT: We have some really big dreams. Hopefully we will be able to create a vibrant and organised music scene in the whole region, a viable market for artists to make a decent amount of money to keep making music. Also, when the Pandemic is over, organise concerts and events for Songhoop family artists.

DK: Apart from supporting young talents, are you satisfied with the profit generated through this start-up?

BT: Honestly, as mentioned, we have just started. So, we are yet to get to where we want to be in terms of a healthy profit. However, the primary focus right now is to get as many artists across the region together in this app and be able to promote them across the NE. We sadly know so little about one another. There is so much talent to be discovered from our own backyard. If we manage to do this, this alone will give us great satisfaction.

DK:  Any other observation?

BT: We really hope that we can bring the Northeast together through our shared love of music. We pray that people here will support the artists and we are able to create a vibrant market where the talents here are given their due rewards.


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