| 31 Mar 2023
Aditya Music MD Umesh Gupta - The film music market in Andhra is too huge to sustain non film albums

It's a relative newcomer that stepped into the south Indian music market in the late 1990s. Aditya Music has today become the king of Tollywood, creating a niche for itself in the Telugu music industry. The label now plans to venture into other south Indian markets. Aditya Music's managing director Umesh Gupta discusses the industry, piracy issues and future prospects of the company in conversation with's Anita Iyer.

How has the journey of Aditya Music thus far been?

Till 1996, Aditya Music was primarily into distribution and marketing of music of other music labels for the entire state of Andhra Pradesh. It was later that we started acquiring our own music rights. For the manufacture of audio cassettes, we started our own plant in 2000. Aditya Music has a catalogue of over 2000 titles and has acquired labels like Shiva Musicals, Leo, Maruti Music, Echo, Pyramid Audio.

Aditya music has acquired music rights of some of the big movies and seems to be the king of the Telugu market currently.

Today, Aditya Music controls about 80-90 per cent of the Telugu market and had some big releases this summer like Parbu, Pandurangadu and our releases slated for release include Venkatesh's Chintakayala Ravi composed by Vishal-Shekhar. The next is Baladoor, Homam and V Samudra's Mallepuvvu, composed by Illayraja.

Does Aditya Music own the digital rights or do you sell them to a third party?

We normally give away the digital rights from time to time on a temporary period to content aggregators like Mauj, IMImobile etc on a minimum guarantee basis. Once the minimum guarantee is recovered, we get a revenue share of the digital sales.

What is the solution for dwindling physical sales according to you? Is reducing prices a viable solution?

In Andhra Pradesh, the physical sales are not that bad and digital music is also gaining mileage. Piracy as a menace exists everywhere and we are controlling piracy by reducing the price of the CDs. We believe in fighting against the pirates by reducing our prices. Aditya Music reduced the price of CDs to Rs 40 about five years ago when the other players are selling them for Rs 200. This strategy has helped us to stabilize our volumes in spite of the prevailing piracy.

Aditya Music also owns three music retail stores. Do these outlets house other labels as well? Any plans of opening new outlets?

The three chain retail outlets titled �Sangeet Sagar' are sister concerns of our music label, Aditya music, and they house songs from different labels. The first outlet was set up in 1978, followed by one in 1993 in Secunderabad and then Hyderabad. Sangeet Sagar is planning to come up with a few more outlets in Andhra Pradesh.

Aditya Music is not a member of SIMCA?

I was among the founder members of the IMI and Aditya Music has been a part of PPL and IPRS for a long time. This membership with PPL and IPRS prevails even before SIMCA came into existence. Also, PPL is a body set by government regulations whereas SIMCA is just an association of music companies in south.

How have the past acquisitions helped Aditya Music in terms of adding to catalogue?

Aditya Music has acquired labels such as Maruti Music, Leo, Echo among others. These acquisitions makes our catalogue strength around 2000 titles. Apart from these, we have around 150 super hit video titles.

Do you now plan to penetrate into Tamil, Malayalam and Carnatic music too?

From the past ten years, we have been banking on the devotional side and today have a good catalogue of devotional tracks, apart from the film ones. There is a good market for devotional and Carnatic music in the south and we are necessarily catering to these needs. We had acquired Chennai based Keertana label last year which had 200 titles in Classical music and we are relaunching 70 of them. Also, we acquired a Tamil label Pyramid Audio which adds on to our catalogue.

In spite of being a market leader in Tollywood, we expanded into Tamil, Malayalam, Carnatic Classical Music along with a catalogue of 150 super hit video ( Home Video ) titles. Today our total catalogue strength stands around 2150 titles.

Do you also plan to venture into non film and solo albums?

In Andhra Pradesh, the film market is too huge as compared to the private albums. Rather, I would say there is no market for private albums as there is more to choose from the film songs. We have about 150 movies releasing in a year, so that comes to around 10 movies a month. The film market is too huge to co-sustain the private albums market. Also, we have some biggies from Bollywood music industry turning to Telugu music industry like Adnan, Vishal- Shekhar, A R Rahman, Shankar Mahadevan etc. So, it is not viable to cut albums when film music has a stronghold. Also, Hindi songs have a market of four to five per cent, which is further going to increase.

Are you planning an international venture?

A few labels based abroad are interested in tying up with Aditya Music for distribution of our works abroad. Nothing concrete has been decided but we are in talks with some international players.

Is Aditya Music planning to venture into production after music now? What are the future ventures of the company?

Talking about the future prospects, we would like to venture more in other south Indian pockets like Tamil and Malayalam as there seems to be huge potential there. Apart from that, we would be starting our Movie Production wing too shortly.