Music industry affects lives as it generates revenue and contribute to GDP, says Vikram Mehra of SaReGaMa

IMI-Deloitte report advocates music-centric grants and export schemes to develop a better market in India

Photo courtesy: social media
Photo courtesy: social media

Suprakash Majumdar

IMI-Deloitte report advocates music-centric grants and export schemes to develop a better market in India.

Indian Music Convention conducted on Tuesday was focused on the economic impact of the recorded music industry in India. Key players of the music industry in India shared their thoughts about the current situation of the industry and how it can be expanded in the future.

All the guests present were either from a record label company or from licensing and regulatory bodies. It was surprising to see that none of them was from any online music streaming app. The entire convention was focused on how the online music streaming apps have destroyed the music industry market and they don’t take proper licensing.

‘Recorded Music’ word was repeatedly mentioned in the convention. Recorded music is not just the music which has been signed by a record label, but an independent artist can also have recorded music. The speakers in the conference criticised the Copyright act 2013 that proposed to extend the application of section 31D of the Copyright Act to OTT (Audio over-the-top) players. This means that the copyright owners will no longer be able to freely negotiate the rate of royalty for the content sourced by the players from them.

Vikram Mehra, chairman IMI and chairman SaReGaMa said, OTT players and record companies should be allowed to freely negotiate the terms and quantum of license fees as the streaming industry is the primary source of revenue for music labels. Section 31 (d) is a “threat”, but he forgot to mention that the most film music is owned by big music labels like T-series or SaReGaMa and not by the music producers or singers.

With the rise of the music streaming apps in India, independent artists have found a place to share their original music for which they get a good amount of royalty. In the case in which labels are involved, more money is demanded as the label has its expenses. This is a disadvantage to the artists.

In 2018, the recorded music industry is estimated to have clocked total revenues of ₹1,068 crores, according to IFPI global music report 2019. During the year, television broadcasters earned ₹2,850 crores in revenue from recorded music, radio sector earned ₹2,170 crores from recorded music while music added ₹2,090 crores in the film industry’s revenue kitty, the report said.

In India, the role of a music label is to manage the artist, promote the content and make revenues out of the content. These labels often reject good and new talents in the market but choose mediocre talents as they are economically beneficial.

The music streaming platforms are open for every artist to upload and share their content. If people like and listen to their content, then the artist would get paid accordingly. This helps the unknown talents to rise above the cliched music trends and introduce the audience with new music, but this is not very profitable for the music labels.

Blaise Fernandes, President, and CEO, IMI, said: “India will always be a culturally rich nation with a long history of diverse and engaging music, it is languishing at No. 15 in the world in terms of the recorded music industry size per IFPI (International Federation of Phonographic Industry) metrics. Clearly addressing the value-gap problem will usher in a new era for the music industry in India.”

Indian metal band Bloodywood recently performed at Wacken, world’s biggest metal festival. Metal is a genre which none of the major record labels have dared to touch in India. Artists like Bloodywood, aswekeepsearching, Undying Inc. have achieved success through all the online streaming services like YouTube, Spotify, Amazon Music, etc.

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