Chairman, President and Founder, Desi Hits!
Anjula Acharia Bath is the face of Desi Hits! She combines extensive advertising and recruiting knowledge with a keen ear for music position to propel Desi (South Asian) culture and artists into the public eye. Desi Hits! is an innovative multi-platform media company that is undoubtedly creating a cultural shift in the digital field and pop culture world wide. Steering the company to global influence, Anjula creates and executes deals with US Major labels such as Universal, Warner Music Group and Sony, and South Asian/Bollywood film studios. Anjula’s pioneering efforts have led the company to some of the biggest names in music, 50 Cent, Pussycat Dolls, Britney Spears and Sonu Niggam have all been featured on Desi Hits.com While Anjula is busy with Desi Hits! you can still keep up with her in the press! She receives global press, radio and television recognition for her achievements. She’s been recognized in the Wall Street Journal, VOGUE, Business Week, Rolling Stone, WWD, on BBC and NPR, and Fox. She speaks regularly at media conferences. She was a guest speaker at NYU’s Clive Davis School of Music, served as a judge for the “Music Video Award” at The Ibiza International Film Festival and holds many media industry awards.
The Desi Hits! spokeswoman began her career leading strategy and delivery for emerging technologies practice at the Forsyth Group. She co-founded the media and entertainment search firm Merchant McKenzie where she placed executive talent for companies such as Walt Disney Internet Group and Universal Pictures International. As director at London TMP Worldwide, Anjula worked strategically with the CEO and Board to develop and guide direction for Monster.com. Committed to the arts and media, she holds a B.A. with Honors in Theatre Arts and Communications from Middlesex University and is a published writer. Anjula continues to excel and just completed her first fiction novel that is a fun, sexy journey of three women and explores the second generation South Asian experience. When it comes to pushing for innovation and excitement, Anjula leads the way! Here are some of the excerpts of an online interview conducted by Ritu Shulka, fashion editor with Anjula.
‘We areall about east-west fusion’
Q. What inspired you to promote typical Indian music and entertainment in the West?
We don’t actually promote “typical Indian music” we are all about east/west fusion entertainment and create content which is a fusion of bhangra, hiphop, rock, Hindi film music, bhangra and pop whatever works and sounds good we will play. We also want to give South Asian artists a chance to work with western artists and vice verse so we actively seek out collaborations with all types of artists. Hiphop has been using desi beats for a long time, it’s about time our faces were associated with it too!! Desi hits doesn’t just focus on mu- sic we have general entertainment news and Radio/TV shows that cover all aspects of fusion South Asian culture from fashion, music related content, interviews and film reviews. It’s a diverse platform and we have both western and eastern stars on it from SRK to 50 Cent, you will find them all on Desihits.com and other platforms we syndicate to.
Q. In terms of quality, the clientele for desihits can be niche but do you feel the volume is sufficient to sustain the business?
Desihits.com was originally created for bicultural, eclectic and bilingual south Asians globally from India to the west. There are a lot of young people in India that are finding their lives are changing with western brands and culture infiltrating, they speak English and are on facebook. I don’t think they are much different these days from their cousins in the UK or the USA and the fusion culture is very present in the tier 1 and 2 cities. Given there are approximately 700 Million people under the age of 30 in India and a huge Diaspora that lives a very fusion lifestyle, my sense is, we have plenty of opportunity to grow and a big audience to capture! Also, we have a large non desi following and my sense is that given the bicultural spin on our content it is more palatable to them than a pure Desi offering. Given we are working with some of the biggest names in pop we are taking Desi culture through them to their existing fan bases which are non South Asian as well as extending the artist further into the Desi demographic.
Q. Desihits is about passion or hard core business?
It started as a passion project and still very much is. My founders and I spent our lives going to different places for our diverse content/cultural needs… whether it be a hiphop site, a pop music site and then a bollywood site we wanted to create a place that you could get it ALL.
Personally, I grew up in a very racist environment where south asian culture wasn’t understood or tolerated. It made me as a child feel very ashamed of my culture and heritage. I’d like to say that this isn’t the case for kids today, but I know from the emails we receive that it often is. Whether that’s the case or not I feel that it’s very powerful for young south Asians to see their western role models embrace their culture, whether that’s 50 Cent, Lady Gaga, Pussycat Dolls or Britney Spears…(we have done them all!) I still remember how my cousins and friends reacted when they first saw Michael Jackson put an Indian dancer in his video;
we all rushed to the TV and were so excited and proud. I asked myself why this created such a reaction and I realized it was because we felt this super star whose records and tickets we have all purchased, actually knew who we were and at some level I guess we felt acknowledged. I’m sure we will all say that we don’t need western stars to acknowledge us but the truth is, we want to be represented in mainstream media and we are talented so why shouldn’t we be?? As a demo- graphic we are powerful and have huge spending ability…. Like any other demo- graphic we should be marketed to as we are a valuable consumer in the west and in India and for far too long I feel we have been ignored… we should have con- tent and music from the west that is also created with us in mind and resonates with us at another level. When you start thinking about how South Asians (globally) are a valued consumer and the opportunity brands have to reach our demographic you realize there is a hard core business there!! Desihits has attracted some very serious investors like Draper Fisher Jurvetson and DE Shaw and industry professionals such as Jimmy Iovine (Chairman and CEO Interscope Universal Records) and Vivi Nevo (Time Warner), so business is defi- nitely on the agenda.
Q. Apart from the conventional US and UK market, Desihits is popular in which part of the world?
Our core markets are UK, USA, Canada, UAE and India.
Q. Do you have any synergy with active Indian company in the related sector to promote and co brand your products and service in India?
We are working with Rolling Stone India, Zee TV and Nokia, given India is the 2nd largest mobile market in the world, Nokia’s OVI store is a great platform for us to get our content out given their dominance in that market. We are also working on various other deals in India. We have been approached by a lot of potential partners in India who believe we speak to a very emerging demographic of young people who want more than just pure Bollywood, we give all of it to them (including bollywood but in our style!! Cool, eclectic and fused to perfection!). With our unique access to all mainstream artists and celebrities we can create excusive content for the Indian market that no one else can.