Sony Music India inks deal with rapper Raftaar as it hires Jagjit Singh Bhogal to head A&R

Two notable bits of news from Sony Music India (SMI) this week.

Firstly, the company has hired Jagjit Singh Bhogal as Head of A&R.

According to an internal memo sent to staff by Sony Music India Managing Director Rajat Kakar, and obtained by MBW, Jagjit Singh Bhogal’s appointment represents the latest step in SMI’s “artist-first A&R approach”.

In the memo, Kakar praises the A&R exec’s “creativity, relationships and energy” and says the new hire will be giving particular focus to “garnering worldwide exposure for Indian artists”.

Jagjit Singh Bhogal has than 15 years of experience and joins SMI from Viacom18 India where he led the Music Content Business, A&R and Music IP for MTV India.

The new hire follows Kakar’s appointment as Managing Director of Sony Music India in May.

It also follows the news in January of Sony Music Entertainment’s (SME) structural changes in Asia and the Middle East and the appointment of well-regarded Indian exec Shridhar Subramaniam as President, Strategy and Market Development, Asia and Middle East.

In addition to Jagjit Singh Bhogal’s appointment, SMI has just signed an exclusive recording deal with popular rapper Raftaar (pictured) and has entered into a partnership with Kalamkaar – the independent label founded by Raftaar and his business partner Ankit Khanna.

Kalamkaar nurtures young hip-hop, rap, pop and EDM talent. The new deal brings a roster of young rappers and underground artists into the SMI family, including Deep Kalsi, Rashmeet Kaur and Yunan.

Rapper, producer, television personality and music entrepreneur, Raftaar is credited for creating his own brand of desi hip-hop.

His official YouTube channel has over 3 million subscribers and over 286m views to date.

“I’m delighted to welcome Raftaar and the Kalamkaar label into the Sony Music family at an exciting time for independent music in India,” said Kakar.

“As a company with reach spanning multiple repertoires and with artists at the core of what we do, partnering with Raftaar helps us continue to play a key role in showcasing India’s young music talent both here and abroad.”

“We are excited to be a part of the Sony Music family which is renowned for being artist-centric in everything it does.”

Dilin Nair aka Raftaar 

Dilin Nair aka Raftaar and co-founder of Kalamkaar, added: “We are excited to be a part of the Sony Music family which is renowned for being artist-centric in everything it does.

“Hip-hop today is the world’s most influential culture and has witnessed a rapid upsurge as an authentic and relatable genre, with rap undeniably maintaining its appeal through the years.

“Our aim at Kalamkaar is to discover and launch the next wave of Indian hip-hop talent.

“So our new partnership with Sony Music is key in accelerating the growth and reach of the independent music movement – not only in India; but also among the millions of Indian diaspora around the world.”

 “We have worked diligently alongside our talent roster to build an independent label that puts creativity and collaboration at the heart of every release.”

Ankit Khanna, Kalamkaar

Ankit Khanna, co-founder of Kalamkaar, added: “We have worked diligently alongside our talent roster to build an independent label that puts creativity and collaboration at the heart of every release

“We look forward to this new partnership with Sony Music India, which aims to increase the scale and scope of non-film music in India, break independent hip-hop and rap into the mainstream and reinvigorate the listening experiences of music enthusiasts.”Music Business Worldwide