Universal Music India has promoted Vinit Thakkar from senior VP to the newly created position of COO, India and South Asia. Thakkar was instrumental in the launch of the VYRL Originals label, alongside Bollywood filmmaker Mohit Suri.
The Indian music industry is traditionally dominated by songs from feature film soundtracks. UMI, part of Universal Music Group, altered the landscape in 2018 with the launch of the VYRL label, dedicated to non-film music. Since launch, VYRL has released some 40 singles from 25 artists, including Mithoon, Lisa Mishra and Arjun Kanungo.
In November 2019, VYRL released the single “Intezaar” by Mithoon, featuring Asees Kaur and Arijit Singh, became the first non-film release to top India’s national AirCheck T20 radio airplay charts for three consecutive weeks.
Thakkar will report to Devraj Sanyal, MD and CEO of UMI, India and South Asia, who also announced other appointments. Gaurav Chaturvedi is appointed as VP, domestic labels, UMG India, responsible for leading label activity, strategy and releases for all domestic UMI labels, focusing on the expansion and development of VYRL Originals. Chaturvedi was previously with Disney’s Star India, where he led marketing strategy at the Star Sports network. He will report to Thakkar.
In addition, Pranav Thakker has been appointed as GM, new business development at Universal Music Group Brands, India and South Asia. His previous stints include TVF, Big FM and Zee Media. He will report to Preeti Nayyar, VP of new business development, India and South Asia.
Sanyal and his team will work with Adam Granite, executive VP, market development at UMG.
In 2019, UMI launched the Indian hip-hop label Mass Appeal India, in association with U.S. rapper Nas. The label’s first signing, Indian hip-hop star DIVINE, released his first album “Kohinoor” to much acclaim. Several more Indian hip-hop artists are expected to debut in 2020.
Also in 2019, UMG International artists U2 and Katy Perry performed live in India.