Coke Studio India stages a comeback with Tamil edition


Coke Studio, the flagship music property backed by beverage maker Coca-Cola, is set to return to audiences in India with the launch of Coke Studio Tamil.

The eight episode season—featuring 25 musicians, including A R Rahman’s daughter Khatija Rahman, among the line-up of top artists from the region—is part of the company’s strategy to tap more regional markets. Last year, it launched Coke Studio Bangla (Bangladesh) drawing artists from Bangladesh and West Bengal.

The move marks the beverage maker’s efforts to step up marketing in India—the fifth-largest market for the company globally.

To be sure, Coke Studio India had been dormant for the last several years after the company failed to put in place the right strategy and market the property successfully. In fact, neighbouring Pakistan has seen roaring success with top-charting releases annually.

Coke Studio Tamil is a precursor to other regional Coke Studio properties that will be rolled out in India, said Arnab Roy, Vice President, Marketing Coca-Cola India, and South West Asia.

“So the reason Coke Studio (India) was dormant was that we basically did not do anything over the last eight years—we probably did not have the right strategy. We did not have the right alignment within our teams, with our bottlers. But I think over the last 18 months, and the success of Coke Studio Bangla, has given us the confidence that we can relaunch the property. We just feel that there are going to be some interesting changes in the way we market Coke Studio India and Tamil is probably one of the first pieces of that puzzle. Over the next two to three years, we’re going to have more franchises coming in,” Roy said in an interview with Mint.

The move also ties into Coke Studio’s efforts to dive into more languages and tap into more local artists worldwide.

Coke Studio Tamil’s season one will be produced by hip-hop artist Arivu, and music producer Sean Roldan that will partner with an line-up of eminent artists such as Pushpavanam Kuppusamy, Gaana Ulaganathan, Carnatic vocalist Sanjay Subramanyan, playback singer Chinmayi Sripaada, singer Benny Dayal, Jhanu & the band, OfRo, and Khatija Rahman among several others.

To be sure, the Coke Studio property is present in Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, Egypt, Bangladesh and other countries. Artists collaborate across genres, often borrowing from local folk songs, to produce new music. Coke Studio Pakistan with its annual hits is the largest Coke Studio franchise globally, followed by the recently launched Coke Studio Bangla.

Roy said the success of Coke Studio Bangla has given the company the confidence to expand the franchise in India. “We will invest more (in Coke Studio Tamil) in the second half. If it works, we’re going to invest again. And I think over the next two years, maybe it will stabilize,” he said.

Meanwhile, Coca-Cola has also ended its erstwhile partnership with music channel MTV for the music property; it will instead stream the new season on digital media platform YouTube. All the tracks will be available across audio OTT platforms including Spotify, Gaana, Saavn, Wynk Music, and Audible.“MTV was a broadcast partner, they also helped us in a bit of production. Now, we are going with our own YouTube channel. That’s what we’ve experienced in Bangla. Universal Music has come on board—they are going to help us produce and distribute the music. They have one of the best distribution networks for the music industry in India, they are also our global partners. We are leveraging the global partnership we have with Universal Music to launch Coke Studio Tamil in India,” Roy said.

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