Music is big business. This is evident by the number of talent management firms in the country that are scouting for and managing musical talent even from the remotest parts of the country.
As founder of ‘TM Talent Management’, Tarsame Mittal is one of the most preferred music talent management organisations in the Indian music industry.
Tarsame manages some of the biggest names in the business, namely; Arijit Singh, Vishal & Shekhar, Sukhwinder Singh, Amit Trivedi, Ajay-Atul, Vishal Bhardwaj, among others.
He says his vision is to establish TM Talent Management as a 360-degree solution for any musician who might be successful or who is just starting a career in the industry.
His passion for music helped him create various brand extensions for TM Talent Management starting with “Truly Musical”, a special events division focusing on creating intellectual properties specifically for the music industry.
His first venture into IPs was the “Bollywood Music Project” also known as BMP, a 2-day, multi stage music festival that features over 60 artistes and 200+ musicians. BMP has successfully completed four editions in the past 20 months, catering to music lovers in Mumbai and Delhi.
Tarsame is also the brain behind the unique, all-inclusive B2B music conference “All About Music”. The conference aims to create a global gateway into the Indian Music markets and fill the existing gap.
Tarsame is the founder of “Music Plus” an interactive music communication portal serving as an all-inclusive information hub for the music industry and music lovers.
He has also recently expanded the brand identity by managing the famous Indian comedian 'Kapil Sharma' under his latest venture ‘Truly Comical’.
In a conversation with YS Weekender, he speaks about his pet projects, the music industry and more. And he truly believes in Shakespeare’s dictum – ‘If music be the food of love, play on.”
YSWeekender: Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Tarsame Mittal: I was born in Haryana and brought up in Guwahati, Assam. I completed my education in Guwahati from Guwahati Commerce College. I used to do many shows during my college days, manage events, anchor shows, and teach students. I tried and did whatever came my way. I even wrote the CA and CS foundation exams, got an India ranking in both but I couldn’t continue because of the amount of study hours required.
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YSW: How did you come into the talent management business?
TM: I started doing events in Guwahati in 2002 and formally launched my event company in 2004 called ART group. With that connection I started doing some events in the city and for a few stars in Mumbai. I had a friend who was a DJ and so I started managing him.
The first big artiste I ever managed from Mumbai was Debojit Saha on behalf of Zee TV after he won Sa Re Ga Ma Pa. After that, I managed playback singer Zubeen Garg, which really changed my life. I realised it’s a good business and it was untapped. I also managed the Great Indian Laughter Challenge contestants and then many other artistes. That’s how I got into the business.
YSW: Why is talent management is so important in today’s scenario?
TM: Most of the talents do not come from a specific background. There might be a person who is a great singer but he doesn’t have any knowledge about how the business works. So, having a talent is a different thing and having the knowledge and ability to exploit the talent in the best way is another. You need skills, opportunities, networks and even investments. There are very few artistes who are good at everything, and most of them need a professional agency to bring out the best in them and that’s why talent management is so important.
YSW: Why have you concentrated only on musicians?
TM I was working for a lot of other kinds of talents before like actors, comedians, poets, and writers. But I realised music was something I understood the best and felt more connected to. I loved doing concerts, and working with musicians. I believe in being a specialist in what I’m good instead of recklessly experimenting with everything. When I realised music is my forte, I gave up everything else and focused only on establishing a company that is purely into music.
YSW: As a talent management firm, what’s it that you exactly do?
TM: As a talent management firm we do everything. We are a personal assistant to an artiste, a travel agent, a financial consultant, a friend, and we plan their career and life. We do almost everything possible for the artiste apart from just handling their business.
YSW: Is the talent management industry in India still evolving?
TM: Talent Management industry in India is one of the most promising industries. Not more than 15-20 percent of talent is managed professionally. You can imagine what the possibility in this industry is. It is evolved in the sense that it has made a lot of progress domestically but when it comes to international standards, the progress will still take some time to reach its maximum level.
And we are not a country where there are too many concerts etc. The culture gap between India and Western countries is a lot, but it is definitely evolving.
YSW: Tell us about the stars you represent. How does it feel working with them?
TM: Honestly, for me every client I have is a star because I never start working with somebody with that stardom label. I feel very lucky to work with them because they’re all extremely talented and very grounded. They are so established and I feel really fortunate to work with this set of people.
YSW: Tell us about Truly Musical and All about Music? What is the aim behind these two?
TM: When I started doing talent management for music I realised that we should cover a lot more aspects of it. When I was travelling all across the world for my work, attending several press conferences and I always wondered why don’t we have a press conference for music in our country.
It is extremely important that all stakeholders of music meet, come together and discuss the challenges they face and at the same time network with each other. That was the reason I started All About Music. With Music Plus also, there was no platform focusing entirely on music or for them to rely on for news related to music. That was the purpose of starting Music Plus.
YSW: What is Truly Comical all about?
TM: I managed Kapil Sharma long ago when I used to manage the Laughter Challenge contestants. We know each other since then. So, when he started his shows again after a break, we got in touch and he wanted me to manage his live gigs. I realised I didn’t want to do it through Truly Musical because that was exclusively for music. I felt it was time to start a new venture. I started Truly Comical mainly to manage Kapil Sharma but now we’ll be signing young talents and giving them opportunities.
YSW: What are your future plans?
TM: My future plan is to consolidate the entire business which I am doing and train my people in a way that they are able to work more and take ownership of the business. The idea is to have a 360-degree company in the music industry whereby right from identifying a talent to making them a star and making them work hard, we can do everything.