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From Bollywood to Hollywood: How a Podcast Grew into an International Media Company

What Def Jam did for Hip Hop, entrepreneur Anjula Acharia-Bath hopes to do for South Asian pop music. Today on the Morning Media Menu, mbStartups and GalleyCat editor Jason Boog asked the founder and CEO of Desi Hits! how she turned her company from a podcast of Indian-infused dance music into an online entertainment hub with 1.3 million unique visitors per month and a reach of 20 million listeners worldwide across multiple platforms.

Growing up in Buckinghamshire, England in the Seventies, Acharia-Bath all but ignored her Indian heritage until Desi, or South Asian, culture made its way into British dance music. Unlike the Beatles, who infused Indian classical sounds into popular songs like “Norwegian Wood,” these artists blended pop music from both cultures – a sound that hadn’t yet caught on in America.

In 2007 Acharia-Bath founded a podcast to bring the music of South Asia to the United States, from Bollywood to Hollywood, with surprising results. Today Desi music has hit the U.S. mainstream through artists like Britney Spears, Madonna, Jay-Z and Timbaland, while in India and other countries throughout the world, mobile devices are delivering music to a whole new market. Backed by Interscope Geffen A&M Records chief Jimmy Iovine, the hedge fund D. E. Shaw, and investor Vivi Nevo, Desi Hits! has offices in NYC, London, and Mumbai and recently partnered with Universal Music Group to create a bi-cultural label to promote global stars. Acharia-Bath also made Vanity Fair’s The Next Establishment List for 2010.

In the interview Acharia-Bath gave us a crash course on the global record industry and some excellent advice for startups. Press play below to listen.

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