T-Series: A Voyage of Prolonged Prominence


We all can remember the days when music was recorded into audio cassettes and, later, on CDs. In these old times, we used to wait weeks to get the new musical sensational experience of hit Bollywood, regional, devotional numbers by visiting various shops and treasuring the enchanting voices of the singers and charming tunes of musical creators—the gems of the music industry—in our hearts.

As time passed, the digital audio format with new software replaced the cassettes and the CDs; however, a quest for artistic resonance—listening to mesmerizing melodies, the unique taste of the listeners, and the love towards the musical starlets remains the same.

Today, the media and entertainment industry is experiencing extraordinary change, intensified by recent technological advancements. The industry is also switching direction and is rapidly adapting to digital business models. Consumers are increasingly streaming and accessing content online, participating in virtual music concerts, live jamming, and karaoke sessions, keeping themselves active in these events at any time and from anywhere via digital platforms like YouTube.

Technology might have changed the external format. However, the innate quality of music and the best UX in the audio-visual medium—advancing to high-quality music videos have been continuously provided by a music pioneer since its inception. Throughout the changing mediums, this prominent organization of evergreen songs has matched the evolutionary transitional phase of the M&E industry to the T. By rhyming all the changing musical notes arranged in a novel series of melodious songs, musically as well as technologically, T-Series dwells as the ‘King of Music,’ forever.

Under the coherent leadership of Bhushan Kumar, Chairman and Managing Director, and Neeraj Kalyan, President, T-Series stands committed to entertaining its audience and takes pride in the fact that it is the highest subscribed channel in the world and continues to strive to maintain that position.

Mr Kumar says, “Since inception, our main focus is our audience. We create, acquire, and produce content for them, and the love we have received from our audience is inspiring.”

A Symphonic Odyssey

The journey from being a cassette manufacturing company to India’s most prominent music label with a global presence and a successful film studio has been exponentially successful. As we all know, the entertainment industry has witnessed a paradigm shift in the last decade with innovations in technology consumption patterns.

With digital and online consumption steadily increasing through greater internet penetration and millions of young audiences hungry for good content, it was an opportunity that T-Series identified perhaps first in the Indian music industry and started riding the digital wave in 2004. The T-Series YouTube channel was launched in 2010, and since its inception on the platform, the goal has always been to entertain audiences with varied content across all genres.

 Today, the T-Series network has expanded its engagement base cumulative of 29 channels across the language with over 433 million subscribers and 996 billion views.

With immense love from its fans around the globe, the T-series Bollywood channel crossed one billion views in July 2013 and, in January 2017, became the first Indian channel to be recognized as the world’s most-viewed YouTube channel.

Being a non-tech company, the real task at hand was aligning itself with the changing consumption habits and setting a real goal of annual revenues that T-Series as a company can achieve in the next decade or so.

It was all about setting the right foundation in terms of content digitization and meta-tags, getting the right people on board, and putting the distribution pipes in place for seamless delivery in the future.

T-Series had the first-mover advantage, and the hard work over the years preparing for the future provided the much-needed edge. Forward-thinking and advanced planning for the future has been key to its success. Early adoption of digital distribution and revenue generation helped T-Series maintain its leadership position. Perhaps it was the pioneer in this part of the world to adopt digital transformation with open arms,” shared the coherent leaders

A Melodious Novelty

Mr Kalyan expresses, “The digital revolution in India has been a strong catalyst in the growth in content consumption over the past few years, not only on YouTube but on all music streaming OTT platforms. Users watch music (glossy videos with neat storylines are like short films) and not merely listen to it, and increased bandwidth coupled with lower data costs have helped platforms like YouTube penetrate the B&C centers in India, which till now was on the fringe of the entertainment ecosystem.

The spike in consumption is directly proportional to the content quality and quantity. T-Series has managed to maintain its upward growth curve on YouTube primarily because, as a prominent company, it consistently remains focused and committed to creating good content and backs it with tent pole programming. The four C’s, namely Content, Curation, Consumption, and Consumer engagement, have been its focal points, which has finally led T-Series to where it is on YouTube today.

Moreover, Mr Kumar expresses, “Good music backed by narrative-based music videos kept T-Series ahead of the curve. It has always been our endeavour to offer the best to its discerning consumers worldwide. The organization plans and releases content by keeping various parameters in mind; for example, videos on Bhakti Sagar are being released according to deities and their dedicated days, and all channels curate content keeping festivities, tent pole activities, and trends in mind and that is the reason T-Series stays in the spotlight. Its uniqueness resides in talent and catalogue, intending to entertain its audience. For that, the organization scouts potential talents across the world and provides them with the opportunity to showcase their talent in front of the world.”

The wide array of content provides viewers with an enhanced experience for every occasion, mood, or festival with customized curated playlists around tentpole occasions and music videos that resonate with them.

Scaling with Inimitable Rhythm

The real challenge was the digitization of physical formats and laying down the digital distribution pipes for seamless delivery to its digital partners like YouTube. It would not have been possible without the handholding by YouTube.

Technology has helped T-Series in achieving the goal of managing all its distribution partners directly (without any aggregators), and today it has automated and seamless content delivery capabilities.

T-Series is the first music label in India to have its in-house designed and developed Media Archival and Management system (MAM) to manage two Lakhs [2,00,000] audio and ninety thousand [90,000] videos and corresponding metadata within the system itself.

Music in India is watched, listened to, and enjoyed. The good story-based glossy videos are essential for consumer engagement, and T-Series strives to offer the best production value to its videos. The working procedure is executed in the steps; Once the audio is locked, a dedicated team works on the concept, story, visual production, and final packaging of the video. Once the video is ready, the organization plans the release and publishes it on all the platforms.

Mr Kumar says, “T-Series transitioned through the structural changes in the music business, the most significant being the shift from the physical to the current digital market. Before YouTube came into the picture, T-Series was the leader in the physical music market. The organization converted the entire operational process from physical to digital. YouTube’s ecosystem and requirements were studied extensively and incorporated into its system.

The YouTube team helped T-Series understand the platform and identify the process operatives. Multiple channels, according to the content, were created, namely T-Series for Bollywood Hindi Songs, Bhakti Sagar for devotional, Apna Punjab for Punjabi, and others like that.

Mr Kalyan says, “It is indeed the largest video search platform in the world and has the power to influence popular culture, online trends and skyrocket in popularity overnight. Regional and small-scale content creators have also shown exceptional potential for growth, and T-Series is committed to entertaining the audience pertaining to all categories.”

Erasing the Pandemic Noise

The lockdowns during the pandemic occasioned an unprecedented surge in viewership and consumption. There’s an explosion of users and content on YouTube, which is very exciting.

Regional content has observed exponential growth in terms of content and viewers. The consumer is now exposed to an extensive content pool, including some of the best from global territories leading to Indian consumer becoming very selective and mature while choosing what to watch.

Chording the Wisdom Tune

As a piece of advice for budding aspirants who are willing to venture into the M&E industry, Mr Kalyan says, “YouTube as a platform gives a fair start to each creator; it has the potential to deliver your content across all corners of the world, Small independent creators are getting recognized worldwide every day.”

Moreover, he says, “For aspiring YouTubers, consistency, creativity, and responsibility are key qualities, and with great power comes responsibility, so aspiring creators should aspire and work towards offering a better engagement.”

Creating the Future’s Song

Being the largest channel in the world, we take our responsibilities seriously, and we practice discretion to avoid any misleading information. We believe in honest work and thrive in modesty,” says Mr Kumar.

We take pride in giving opportunities to new talent and promise to continue doing so. With increasing engagement in regional and other content categories, we’ll be investing and releasing more content across all genres and languages,” he adds.

Our catalogue is going global because of the fresh content that we deliver. The worldwide exposure of the musical talent of T-series on YouTube has given many of them universal recognition,” expresses Mr Kalyan.

We, as a label, offer a platform to all the deserving talent and bring them forward to the world to witness thru our wide and largest presence on YouTube. India will probably become the main battleground of the global music industry in the years to come,” he concludes.

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