RadioandMusic
| 17 Feb 2020
Competition drives us to perfection: Sanujeet Bhujabal

In India, many music labels have taken the path of managing talents, so has Sony Music. However, it still continues to give considerable attention and maintain good long term relationship with production houses like Dharma Productions, Vishesh Films and Fox Studios among others. The label has strong digital presence in the country and also managed the digital rights of label-Zee Music.

In a free-wheeling interview with Radioandmusic.com, Sony Music India marketing director Sanujeet Bhujabal talks about the company's association with Hungama, Zee Music, Warner Music and a lot more.

Excerpts:

How has the association been with Hungama?

We commenced our journey with Hungama with a deal last year. They carry a big skill set, which is their significant presence outside India including the South East Asian markets. Additionally, as a product, they are a complete entertainment package.

Moreover, Hungama has a subscriber-base of 55 million and hence it's a strategic partnership from our side. The partnership has helped in taking our music content outside India. We have a long term deal with Hungama.

Also tell us about your partnership with Techzone.

I think Techzone is a closed chapter. It is over.

Is there a lot of competition in the Bollywood space?

Competition always prevailed in the market. When Sony started acquiring music in 1998, with ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ there were five players, who were very active in the Bollywood space. We like competition because it keeps us on our toes and when you get the content in the label; you present it in the best possible way.

As a label, we appreciate the fact that the market is vibrant and there are new players coming into the space. This means that there is life in the segment. We welcome any competition because it drives us to perfection.

Your partnership with Zee Music has come to an end. Are you in talks with them for a deal extension?

Last year, we did a six-film digital aggregation deal with Zee Music, which was a fruitful association for us. We go a long way in terms of partnership with them, in terms of leveraging the TV spot buys. There are a couple of more sound tracks, which are yet to be released with them as a part of the older deal.

Would Sony Music venture in download music service area like Saregama?

We believe that the best platform with the best skill set should actually bring the music out to the fans. We are content creators; we are a music label. We partner with people who create music and have the skill set. In our strategic partnerships with the likes of Saavn, Hungama, Gaana or Spotify, our aim is to license the music so that it gets maximum reach.

What is the status on the Warner Music deal?

We have a license in place for Warner Music for India and South Asia, which is in progress. And considering the fact that we have an active A&R in India, it makes it easy for us to seed in to Warner Music because of our label's strong presence in the international market. Like every other deal, our deal with Warner Music is for multiple years.

Will Sony Music continue to collect royalties through IPRS or move away like other label?

Not in the near future.

How well is the artist management business doing for Sony Music?

In artist management, we have done a couple of things over the last two-three years like ‘Indian Idol’. When the property became huge, we managed about 25-30 talents then. When we entered the new territory of Punjab, we decided that we did just not wish to be a recording label. We wanted to change the game. And that's how we got into talent management.

Our aim was to bring them into movies, make them bigger and grow with them. So our role as a music label is not just strictly as a recording label, but as an entertainment company.