Tapsee Pannu and Swara Bhaskar's tattoo artist explains how musical barcodes are the next inking trend

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Tapsee Pannu and Swara Bhaskar's tattoo artist explains how musical barcodes are the next inking trend

  • The Tattoo business is thriving in India as it is now looked up as an artform and a fashion statement.
  • From basic tattooing to getting inked with tattoos that can be listened to, Indian tattoo industry is estimated to generate an annual revenue of ₹20,000 crore.
  • One of recent developments is the ‘soundwave tattoos’ — which refers to the tattoos that have audio.
  • In India, tattooing costs between ₹4,000 and ₹10,000 per hour. However, in case of the soundwave tattoos, the cost can go as high as ₹15,000, depending on the length of the audio.
The tattoo business is thriving in India as it is now looked up as an artform and a fashion statement. From basic tattooing to getting inked with tattoos that can be ‘heard’, the industry is estimated to generate an annual revenue of ₹20,000 crore.

As of 2012, there were over 14,000 tattoo studios in India. Tattoo art, however, is more famous among celebrities and people in metropolitan cities. The national capital alone has close to 100 tattoo studios and around 300 home-based artists.

Soundwave tattoos

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And a new feather to the cap is the ‘soundwave tattoos’ — which refers to the tattoos that have audio. This latest invention in the world of tattooing was first created by a Los Angeles-based tattoo artist in 2017 and was later adopted by the artists in India.

Lokesh Verma, founder of Delhi-based studio Devilz Tattooz , which was also the first in India to start the concept of talking tattoos told Business Insider how soundwave tattoos are emerging as a new inking trend.

“You can have the messages or sound of your special one and hear it anytime you want. This is more like a coded message which no one else can know; but whenever you feel like hearing their sound you can just scan the tattoo and playback."

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Given the complexity of the design, tattooing costs between ₹4,000 and ₹10,000 per hour. However, in case of the soundwave tattoos, the cost can go as high as ₹15,000, depending on the length of the audio.

The potential market for this technology are enthusiasts who get new tattoos done every few months and those who want something beyond conventional tattoos.

Verma, who has clients like Remo D’souza, Taapsee Pannu and Swara Bhaskar, said that there have been instances where people who are not really into tattooing got their soundwave as their first tattoo.

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“This is because instead of a design they were more interested in the idea behind the technology which allows them to hear the voice of a loved one anytime they want by simply scanning the tattoo with their phone,” he told.

“To put it in simple words, it works pretty much the same as your phone scanning a QR code. After scanning the unique soundwave, it redirects to the server where the sound is stored and plays it with the help of an active internet connection,” he explained.

Growing demand

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As India embraces this artform, the demand for training has also witnessed a surge in recent years. The professional studios that extend training and certification in the field charge nearly ₹60,000 to ₹125,000.

Devilz Tattooz also offers a 90-day certification course that helps students build artistic skills along with hands-on experience with the tattoo machine. The course costs nearly ₹120,000. While a basic tattooing course would cost nearly ₹65,000.

Other inventions in the tattooing industry include black and gray portraits, glowing tattoos, permanent cosmetic procedures like SMP (Scalp MicroPigmentation), microblading and laser tattoo removals among others.

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See also:
India's ₹20,000 crore tattoo industry's lax standards are putting lives at risk

Experts say there are 2 types of tattoos that are still a 'no-go' at work - and they're likely to outright disqualify you from some jobs
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