Reel has truly started representing the 1st generation creators in Bharat: Paras Sharma

Music is the catalyst to drive trends on culture on Instagram, and Reels are increasingly becoming a place where songs and artists are discovered. In light of this, Instagram has launched a new music property, called ‘1 Minute Music’, which is a set of music tracks and videos, exclusively available on its platform, for use on Reels and Stories. This includes music from 200 artists across India, including the likes of Dhvani Bhanushali, Himanshi Khurana, and GV Prakaash Kumar, that will make your Instagram content more entertaining, and inspire other artists to release their one-minute music on the platform as well.

The first pop-up in the series was launched by the cast of the upcoming Bollywood movie, ‘Jug Jugg Jeeyo’, which included actors Varun Dhawan, Kiara Advani and Anil Kapoor.

Adgully spoke to Paras Sharma, Director, Content & Community Partnerships, Facebook India (Meta) to know more about the ‘1 Minute Music’ offering, how the content economy has grown with the help of short format video platforms, the journey and growth of Reels in India, and more.

Could you walk us through some of the stuff that you have done on the Instagram Reels space and the ‘1 Minute’ music property that you have launched? What was the thought behind it?

Let me tell about Reels first. The last couple of years, as any content evolves, both in terms of storytelling narrative, the format also evolves. The world over has seen the emergence of the short form video, where ‘A’ is creating content and ‘B’ is consuming content and within it different kinds of content. As a platform, our aim is that we continue to reflect both the choices of creators as well as consumers and continue to evolve the format, and that is where Reels was first launched in India as a torch bearer for the short video format from the family of apps. According to a report by Bain & Company in 2021, close to around 200 million Indians watch short form video format and are spending close to 45 minutes a day on that. That reflects the quantum of consumption that is taking place, with Reels leading that consumption. What we saw in the last couple of years is that this creation is not only coming from where the traditional houses or places of content will come from, we have creators coming from small towns as well and they are all creating in their own languages, own narratives and storytelling formats. Thus, Reel has truly started representing what this first generation of creators in Bharat is creating. On the other hand, there are also those who are creating niche genres.

We have been seeing is that music plays a huge role in the creation process. A large amount of Reels use audio, and we have been working with various labels. When they release a new song or album, Reels is becoming a platform where consumers are discovering new music and the labels are discovering new artists.

On the movie marketing side, to give an example, a song from ‘Lal Singh Chadha’, when it was released through Reels, 27,000 Reels were created using that audio. Entire movie marketing is taking place on Reels using the song. The trailer of ‘Brahmastra’ was launched on Reels and the Reels created on that had millions of views.

There is an active engagement in passive viewing, for instance, not only am I watching it, I am inspired to create a Reel with it. That is the new currency of how popular the song is. The true merit of the song is when people are inspired and are creating more Reels out of it, which gets more views and the song becomes more popular.

What are some special efforts that you are making for smaller towns? How are you encouraging talent from these markets to showcase their work?

We are doing a Pop-up series of events across multiple cities in India. We have two artists flown in here from smaller towns, so that they can create content here. As the Pop-up travels across India, we are going to them as well. What we looked at was how we could bring the established and emerging artists together and provide them with an opportunity to collaborate.

What kind of trends do you see in the music space?

With the quality and quantity of original music that is being created now, especially in India, it is very difficult to pinpoint a particular genre and say that it is going to stay here for long. So, it is a very fluid situation.

As Meta, when you know that you have a diverse audience, how do you step in and say that this is the trend and this is what we need to ride on?

There is a part of recommendation where the machine algorithm picks up something that is catching the fancy of people around. It is also based on the recommendation of looking at what is trending and that is how a new artist gets discovered.

When it comes to music, what are your key observations on the changes on the way India consumes music content today?

India watches music and that has increased even more with Reels. The experimentation that is taking place, both in terms of the duration as well as what the storytelling of the music is, has completely changed. It used to be film music or Bollywood music primarily, which has not changed. There is still a need to be linked to a movie and be super popular. At the same time hitherto unknown singers have gained popularity. This is a platform where people can come, experiment and create their own content.

Are you partnering with music labels to create customised content for your audience?

We have partnered with all the music labels – T-Series, YRF, Zee Music, Sony Music, etc. So, there are multiple partners – both labels and aggregators – because their music library sits on our family of apps which people can use and create Reels. We continue to work with them on multiple projects, including for 1 Minute Music. Some of the artists with the music labels are also a part of our 1 Minute Reel.

Meta launched Reels in India first and then scaled it up globally. How has the growth journey been and are there any other properties that Meta will be launching India first?

If you look at the amount of time people spend on short platforms – and Reels being the leader in this format – that shows that it is almost like a rocket ship. The diversity of the creator ecosystem, which Reels has empowered, shows the magnitude of how this platform has grown.


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