| 19 Jun 2024
IPRS will help stop unfair treatment of music creators and encourage young talents to choose music as their career option: Rakesh Nigam, CEO IPRS

MUMBAI: Rakesh Nigam, CEO of the Indian Performing Rights Society, the only registered copyright society of India that issues royalty to artists, authors and composers. IPRS is the Society recognized u/s 33(3) of the Copyright Act 1957 for Musical Works & Literary Works performed along with the Musical Works by the Copyright Office, Government of India.

According to the report, he joined the Society in 2004, and the performing rights income has grown from Rs 9 crores to over Rs 166 crores in 2018-19 and the society has kept the ball rolling amidst the pandemic pandemonium. Mr. Nigam has played a major role in getting the issues of author/composers and owner publishers resolved which led to the fresh election to the board and IPRS becoming a Copyright Society.

During an exclusive interview CEO IPRS threw some lights on COVID relief fund, Strategic alliances with OTT platforms, Fair Pay in Music and the motive for the #Creditthecreators campaign.

Check interview below:

IPRS provided an emergency relief fund and the fund supported around 3500 writers and composers in the music fraternity, across the country, whose livelihoods were being deeply impacted by COVID-19, tell us more on it.

The creative community had been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis. Creators whose earnings arise from individual projects had been left reeling from this unprecedented crisis which was compounded by several months of lockdown aimed at keeping all Indian citizens indoors and safe. The lockdown had a significant human cost in terms of lost earnings and the consequent inability of many creative community members to sustain themselves and their families during these difficult times. IPRS as a society is committed to music and its creators, and we are also cognizant of the fact that IPRS is what it is because of all its members. In the challenging and trying times, IPRS as a custodian of its creator members, it became our responsibility to stand shoulder to shoulder with all its members. The Emergency Relief Fund declared by IPRS twice during the lockdown, was an effort from our end to help our creator members tide over this period and be able to procure the necessities.  We as a responsible copyright society tried our best to amplify our efforts in providing financial assistance to our members and ensure they have some income available to them while all other streams of earning a livelihood had temporarily dried up.

What are the strategic alliances with OTT platforms?

At the outset of October 2020, recognized as a Fair-Trade Month, The Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) celebrated its collaboration with Hungama Music being the first major licensing deal in the Indian music streaming space. The partnership endorses fair trade music for a transparent and ethical value chain for authors, composers, and all music rights holders. This licensing deal aims at helping original creators of music earn fair remuneration for their work with well-deserved royalties.  Earlier this year, major Indian OTT player ALTBalaji came on board as our Fair Music Partner.

Ushering new opportunities for our members during the testing times, IPRS reached an agreement with Facebook mid this year to license our music repertoire for video and other social experiences across Facebook and Instagram.  Through this association, the artists/ members of IPRS would be able to get their music compositions out to millions of people in the country, as some of the largest and most thriving communities on Facebook and Instagram are here in India.

Strategic deals with leading brands, digital music services, and OTT players have already opened new revenues for IPRS members. YouTube, Facebook, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music, ALTBalaji, Hungama Music, or Ola, to name a few.  We are glad that the major developments which were ushered in three years back are adding to its list of achievements and ready to set new benchmarks in the music industry, creating more opportunities for the authors, composers, and publishers of music. 

Why should music creators be given fair market pay across all platforms?

With the growing consumption of audio in the OTT market, it is imperative to create an equal trade system where the streaming platforms respect and pay music creators for their work. It is only fair that the money paid by their subscribers should also go to the original creators of the melody. Paying back the creators shows respect for their creative work and helps them have fair remuneration for the efforts put in. With our licensing deals with national and international players like YouTube, Spotify, Facebook, Apple Music, Hungama Music, and ATLBalaji we can do so. We would like to congratulate our ‘Fair Music Partners’ who have come on board to support the cause we stand for. Participation in this movement, from other players in the music streaming industry, will help us stop the unfair treatment of the music creators happening for many years now. These will also encourage young talents to choose Music as their career option.

Fair Trade is about supporting, acknowledging, and celebrating businesses that seek to create an equal trade system through respect and transparency. We aim to raise awareness on the reasons why fair trade of music is important, how it will help the original creators, and our strategic alliances with prominent OTT platforms is a positive step towards that. At IPRS, we protect the rights of authors and composers and their composition, which makes us a willing seller only when streaming platforms show interest as a willing buyer. This will not only help the disadvantaged creators of music but also the music community at large.

What was the motive for the #CreditTheCreators campaign?

Every song is a musical story written by the composers and lyricists, but the creators of many such brilliant creations remain lost in the pages of music sheets. This World Music Day IPRS launched a thought-provoking campaign, “#CreditTheCreators” to acclaim the Creators and Celebrate them along with their work! The multifaceted campaign witnessed veterans and musicians like Javed Akhtar, Sameer Anjaan, Sonu Nigam, Anu Malik, Anand Shrivastav, Milind Shrivastav, Jatin Pandit, Lalit Pandit, Himesh Reshammiya, Raju Singh, Shantanu Moitra, Viju Shah, Shravan Rathod, Swanand Kirkire, Sandesh Shandilya, Mayur Puri, Manoj Muntashir, Kausar Munir, Leslee Lewis, Shashaa Tirupati, Priya Saraiya, Paroma Dasgupta, Aaman Trikha, Sanjeev-Darshan and many more driving the initiative on digital and mainstream media. 

As a copyright society, it has always been our endeavor to ensure that a creator gets the fair value for his/her creation. The way music is consumed has changed significantly over the years. While avenues for distribution and consumption of music have grown manifolds, limited efforts have been made to encourage and acclaim the creators of music. We realized the need to build awareness on this issue to sustain a healthy ecosystem for music in India. The motive behind the campaign, “#CreditTheCreators” is to build a strong proposition for acknowledging and honouring the authors and composers of music who spend their lifetime creating their masterpieces. We are glad that through this initiative we have been able to usher in a positive change, with players like Spotify working towards the discovery of creators on their platform through playlists. To encourage creativity and promote the rich musical heritage of our country, it’s time we acclaim the Creators and celebrate THEM along with their work. The biggest reward which a creator deserves for his/her creation!