RadioandMusic
| 30 Jan 2023
Multiplex issue strikes discordant note for music

MUMBAI: The music industry is facing the brunt of the impasse between multiplex owners and filmmakers over revenue shares. As Hindi film releases have been stalled post 4 April, music labels have either withdrawn or held back their music launches and are anxiously waiting for the strike to be called off.

Music labels at the receiving end

Music baron T-Series had to hastily release the music of 8x10 Tasveer as Percept Pictures decided to release the film on a Thursday, 3 April, a day before the strike. Expressing his discontent, T-Series President - Marketing Media Publishing (TV) Vinod Bhanushali says, The audio sales can be divided into pre release and post release sales and if we had more time, we could have promoted the music of Tasveer in a better way. Recovery of Tasveer would have been better if we had more time for promotions. Extra number of days mean extra sales in terms of physical, digital, ringtones and CRBTs as the hype is created by the music labels....

Big Music released the music of Vashu Bhagnani's 'Kal Kissne Dekha' and �Sikandar' before the strike and is unclear about its promotions. Says Big Music CEO Kulmeet Makkar, We had released the teaser for 'Kal Kissne Dekha' but now we have rescheduled the campaign smartly and plan to extend it till the issue is resolved. Although the music of Sikander was released anticipating the strike, the campaign never made it to television or radio and we would have to re-launch the music after the strike ends....

T-Series has postponed the music release of Vishesh Films' Jashn and UTV productions' Kaminey for the time being. Extending the campaign with uncertainty in movie release dates means extra spending for the music labels. Agrees Bhanushali, The cost does increase if the campaign is extended as we have to spend extra on promotions. By acquiring music, we have already made an investment; music labels are liable to pay monthly interest on the acquisitions if the films are not released on time. Also, as there is no money from sales of music during such times, the rolling money for reinvestment is unavailable for small labels....

Adding to the current scenario, an instruction was released earlier this week by United Producers/distributors Forum that no producer should start airing the publicity promos on both Electronic/Print Media for any film scheduled to release after 4th April 2009 and if needed have to obtain a written approval from the core-committee of the Producers/ Distributors Forum.

Music labels also foresee a pressure on them to launch the music of many films together after the strike is terminated. There will be pressure later as unreleased scheduled movies and movies in the post production stages now will release together. As they would release simultaneously, there won't be any breather for these movies and also the opportunity to earn money is lost,... points out Bhanushali.

Amid music labels who are holding back their releases, Saregama is going ahead promoting its upcoming project- �99' by People Pictures. Saregama New Media and Publishing head Gautam Sarkar clarifies, We would be releasing the music of 99 around 20 April as the filmmakers would be releasing the film on single screen and also have a tie up with some multiplexes....

Music channels sans glam quotient

Revenues of music channels and content depend on upcoming Bollywood releases. An industry observer opines that as much as 60 per cent of the music channels' business who depend on Bollywood trailers has been affected and the intensity differs according to the content.

Although some labels postponed television promotions foreseeing the strike, some are caught in a catch 22 situation as they cannot withdraw or slow down the music campaigns which are already on air. Some of the music channels have been repeatedly playing music from films like �Aa Dekhe Zaraa', 'Kal Kissne Dekha', 'Meri Padosan' after the strike was declared. Channels do agree that none of the producers are heavily advertising and the instruction of not airing promotions by Producers association has worsened the situation.

Zee Muzic and ETC Music sales manager Jeetender Bansal explains, The business of music channels essentially depends on film music and with no paid promotions coming our way, we are at a loss. Music channels depend on Bollywood releases for providing them with content as well as monetary gains.... The channel is approaching music companies and producers urging them to start campaigns to add on to their inventory. In the meantime, the channel is playing songs from earlier releases it has access to, from music companies 

The content of Bollywood music on channels depends on the content call of the channels. Channels playing back to back Bollywood music fill as much as 15 hours with this content. With no new Bollywood releases, the channel is deprived of glam quotient due to no interviews with Bollywood celebs and no film driven contests.

A channel head who didn't wish to be quoted says, This strike has affected our music channel as it is the raw content for us. None of the producers have come forward with trailers of their upcoming film so business is affected. The trailer business has been heavily affected and our inventory is empty....

Channels that fill their inventory with non-music content have not faced the heat as they are not solely dependent on fresh Bollywood content. Elaborates Channel [V] VP content and communications Saurabh Kanwar, While Bollywood trailers form a large part of revenues for music channels, for us it is the advertising which brings revenues. Even without fresh music, we are self-sufficient as we have syndicated non-music content and so the impact has been minimal. We play full songs and not trailers so, our inventory doesn't necessarily has fresh songs. This strike might have an effect on us in a quarter when we would be out in the market for buying full length songs of fresh numbers....

Paving the path for non-film music

The absence of film music might prove to be a blessing in disguise for music labels to promote their non film catalogue. In a scenario dominated by contemporary Bollywood music, channels which were earlier hesitant to air non film music would be willing take up non- film music. Says Makkar, As prerelease sales of film music have been affected, this is a good time to promote our non-film music. We have released a ghazal album by Jagjit Singh and also the home video of Ghajini and would be hammering that....

Echoes Sarkar, The good side is our sales for other audios from the older library like compilations of Rafi, Asha, Lata will be increased. There would be takers for this music and we would be concentrating on that for some weeks....

A channel spokesperson however differs saying, In such a situation, the channels have to make the content call and play a mix of film and non-film if they wish. But non-film can't get channels what Bollywood releases can get them- brand salience, glam quotient and paid content....