Sudhanshu Sarronwala - maniacal about digital music

Sudhanshu Sarronwala, CEO of Soundbuzz Asia Pacific, declares digital music, with its ability to redefine impulse purchase by being available at a single click via the Net, to be the next big thing in the entertainment arena .

Sudhanshu SarronwalaSudhanshu Sarronwala, CEO of Soundbuzz Asia Pacific, calls Steve Jobs "a geeky, intellectual rock 'n rock artiste" and declares digital music, with its ability to redefine impulse purchase by being available at a single click via the Net, to be the next big thing in the entertainment arena

Tell me about your achievements in the music industry.
We're in the business of acquiring digital distribution rights for music from across the Asia Pacific markets. We were the first to attempt it ... the first to be successful at it ... and the first to break the majors (EMI and BMG) into it.

What is your proudest achievement so far?
Establishing Soundbuzz as a 'player' in the Asian music scene together with my team and co-founders.

What helps you to sustain your passion for your job?
The passion that made us create the business is still alive and burning - that of impacting change in the music industry and leading the digital music revolution with the recording industry. All the key milestones in the business have been etched with our name and the need to define the next (and the next) milestone is what makes us maniacal, hysterical and supremely passionate about our job.

What are your core values when it comes to doing business?
It’s necessary to have a vision for whatever you do - to define the evolution of the industry and work towards it. Without that it is impossible to inspire your team. [The] three key elements (in my management book) [are] to inspire, to enthuse and to empower - all success factors. My core value [is to] chase the dream, not the money. If the fundamentals are strong, the money will come. There are too many examples of people chasing the money and forgetting the basics of what they are good at and what their strengths are.

What are your music influences?
I have been a limited music-head through my life but [I] can recount a few: - The Rolling Stones through my school days (owned all their albums then!) - as much for the music as for their 'branding' prowess (the tongue et al) and the ability to stay on the edge - George Gershwin – ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ has simply got to be the best contemporary classical piece ever!

What are your thoughts on the future of digital music?
I believe it is the future of the Internet and of networking - the application is simply stunning. When I extrapolate that into the not-too-distant future and apply that to mobile telephony (which [I think] is going to surpass the wired Internet next year especially in Asia), the mind boggles with the possibilities.

Digital music is destined to go into the mainstream of entertainment. [For] the record companies, it provides an avenue for selling to audiences worldwide with no distribution and packaging costs. For the consumer, it will redefine impulse purchase by being available at a single click via the wired Net and a single button push over the wireless Net. Combine that with P2P technology and the ability to turn the consumer into your distributor and ....... ka-ching!

What is you favorite form of relaxation?
Playing with my two kids - swimming, jigsaws.

Which in your opinion is the best place in Asia to hold a business meeting?
If it’s at the company's expense - the place where the least people need to travel to! Else - probably Tokyo or Bombay or Hong Kong - someplace with a vibrant, energized city life to compensate for the quiet conference room you've spent most of the day in! Beach resorts don't make it in my book - the idea of a meeting is to generate ideas and thinking ... I believe that happens best in an energized environment.

Which Web sites do you visit most often? What kind of books do you read?
Cnn.com and Windows Media Guide are my most often used sites - purely for news and music/radio stations (when I'm not on soundbuzz.com!). Other news sites I visit often are msnbc.com, foxsports.com and indya.com for cricket stuff. I do spend a lot of time on dinosaur sites for my son though! [I] recommend http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/dinosaurs/.

[The site] www.shibumi.org/eoti.htm is my reality check on the Internet. This forces me to think of the days before the Internet. Was my (or anyone’s) productivity that low? Or has our productivity gone up 10 000%? It forces you to do what the site actually suggests and see the effects for yourself. I know I am not saying much about what it does, but the cathartic effects I am alluding to can truly be felt once you get there. It’s so real that it can even make you laugh.

[I] haven't been making the time to read much during my first two years of the start-up exercise. but, books earmarked for this year include - The Harry Potter Series, 'Conversations with God' (Neale Donald Walsch) and 'Chaos Theory' (Tom Peters).

How do you measure success, and are you successful?
I think success is [measured] against your objectives and your vision. We set out to impact and move the digital music industry - we've done that and therefore that part has been successful. I find it difficult to measure success absolutely - one part is personal and the other is [judged by others]. In my career, I believe I would label myself as successful only because I’ve achieved what I set out to do - which was to create a lasting impact in my company and in my industry.

Any role model whom you look up to?
Mahatma Gandhi, who taught me that you can move the world if you have a vision and understand the ground. [It] doesn't matter how small you may be in the relative order of things. Steve Jobs, who defines the cutting edge - Apple and Pixar (need I say more!) - he's sort of a "geeky, intellectual rock 'n roll artiste" whom I find fascinating.

Is there anything you would have done differently if given the choice?
Yes, I [should have] learnt Mandarin 10 years ago. Still regretting it, [but I] might still get to it.

More about People: Managing Asia.

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