Talent Roof:- Urban lifestyle firm, the makers of ‘Chal Jhoothee’

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Many would cringe at the sight of the current breed of Indian Hip Hop videos. The genre in itself has not matured enough to make a convincing appeal. In this relatively unexplored space, Gurgaon based Talent Roof manages to blow in a new wave of excitement. We did our own bit of rapping with founder Abhishek Chabbra, to get in sync with Talent Roof.

An urban lifestyle firm sounds very chic, so what do they provide? “Talent Roof Records is an independent record label. Our services include a record label (360 deal), audio/video production and brand integration” says Abhishek as he goes on to elaborate that ”Urban lifestyle represents a positive change in both – tangible and experiential things. So we expect it to be contemporary, vibrant, aspirational, inspirational, aesthetically packaged and at par with global standards for our audience and partners.”

There is a segment of audience in India who prefer independent music. However, the quality of the current offering leaves much to be desired, not in terms of talent but in terms of overall production and packaging. Talent Roof promises to bridge this gap.

The Genesis

The whole idea seems cross-cultural and the seed to the idea can be traced back to Abhishek’s journey. Having a keen ear for music since childhood, he always was interested in music. After finishing engineering, working for a couple of years and then flying off to the US for an MBA, Abhishek had the music loving entrepreneurial bug lying dormant in him. Getting inspired by artists like P. Diddy and Pharrell Williams and a new love for the Hip Hop culture, he found his calling. Many of these Hip Hop artists had their own urban lifestyle empires and a research on the Indian market revealed a need and space for someone to do the same in India.

After coming back to India, Abhishek worked as a consultant to launch Neha Bhasin’s solo debut album Tabaah. That experience proved to be an immense learning experience and gave insights into the music industry. This experience became a spark to start Talent Roof.

Talent Roof has a small but versatile team with presence in the international market as well. The team has many projects in the pipeline like premium content web channel, music festival, basketball partnership and motivational chat show.

Success stories

Having started in September 2010, Desi Playaaz (of the India’s Got Talent Fame) is their sole signing till date and it has been a success. So, how did that come by? “We tasted our first success by finishing our first music video ‘Chal Jhoothee’. We were new but still pulled off an international class video. Then there was launch of Desi Playaaz album Punjabi Funk in the very first year of our operation. It is an integrated launch covering TV, radio, print and internet. Our brand is now available at music stores all across India. Also, the premiere of ‘Chal Jhoothee’ video on Zee Network’s four channels is something we cherish.”

A special mention has to be made for bringing in the renowned engineer Chris Athens on board as a music advisor. Chris works with international artists like Jay Z, P. Diddy, Chris Brown, Sean Paul and YashRaj Films closer to home.

The Money Funda

During research, the team realized that it would be hard to survive just on revenues from the music label. So as a lifestyle firm they have created a mix of revenue pipelines. Apart from the current music label revenues (selling artist shows and music), Talent Roof gets a cash flow from brand integration initiatives. “Brand integration is one of our services where we integrate brand attributes with Talent Roof experience.” They recently worked on a campaign for a TV channel called 9X Tashan.

A keen eye for talent

For Talent Roof to thrive, its selection of talent is of utmost importance. “A talent that we choose will have to be unique, have its own identity and most importantly represent urban lifestyle. Our talent scout team and I always keep eyes open for fresh talent. You never know when you come across one. For instance, I signed Desi Playaaz while I was flipping channels and came across them on India's Got Talent. It just took me ten seconds to realize that they have it in them”, says Abhishek.

Future Plans

For next few months, the focus would be on Desi Playaaz and the team would be doing an India tour with them.

“In next two years we would like to build our talent portfolio mainly on our music label. We also would like to sign a basketball player. We would be very selective in signing new talent but would back our talent as much as possible. We intend to cover essential segments of lifestyle (i.e. Entertainment, music, and internet, sports, fashion, motivation, food, technology and health) over a period of next 5-7 years”, informs Abhishek.

It is still early days for this ambitious firm in unchartered waters. We wish them all the best and you can check out the Chal Jhoothee video along with their website to know more.

- Jubin Mehta