| 25 May 2024
2012: Top 5 music labels in India

MUMBAI: Everyone is fond of music be it film songs, bhangra, ghazals, indi-pop, remix songs, fusion, bhajans or devotional, tribal, folk and qawwalis.  With around nine films entering the 100 crore club this year and an array of multi-genre albums in the market, 2012 was a joyride for music aficionados with different types of music being enjoyed in various areas. Inspite of physical sales losing its charm, audio stores did witness CDs swiftly disappearing from their shelves.

On the other hand, the music also created waves on the digital front in India and abroad. Leading music labels filled their platter with as many segments as they could, making 2012 a musical year for them.

Taking into consideration several factors like film success, popularity of music amongst audiences, number of films acquired and their respective musical ventures; with due respects to labels across the country has listed out the top five music labels of 2012.

5. Times Music: A slow year for the label, 2012 witnessed it exploring the regional market more by releasing two devotional albums ‘Aadi Ganesh’ and ‘Shri Siddhivinayak Maha Aarti’, a Qawwali interpretation ‘Rang - Colors of Sufism’ apart from others in different genres. Its popular compilation series included ‘The very best of Indian Ocean’ and '30 Greatest Hits' of top Sufi and ghazal artistes. Venturing more into the non-film music space, it also launched Pakistani pop band ‘Laal’s’ latest album ‘Utho Meri Duniya’ across the country, Assamese folk fusion album ‘Bihu Strings’, ‘Papon - The story so far’ and more. A major highlight for them was the association with Techzone to create devotional based WAP and CRBT products. Its partnership with Nokia music store for the Sufiana fest and Asli Music earned the label some points. It also grabbed some sales by releasing the album of MTV’s popular show Soundtrippin. In 2013, the label aims to expand more into the non-film segment and launch new artistes amongst others.

4. Saregama: 2012 was a major milestone in the label’s history by releasing 300 tracks digitally and undertaking various initiatives under different platforms. While the resignation of MD Apurv Nagpal was a hurdle, the appointment of Suryanarayana Mantha as new MD signaled a new beginning. It also launched an internet radio service on its portal playing songs from its wide range of catalogues. The label also launched several non-film albums of various genres it also acquired audio rights of films like ‘Ye Jo Mohabbat Hai’, Marathi film ‘Ajintha’ and Telugu film ‘Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum’. Major achievements included launching an IVR service ‘Legends Forever’ with Tata Docomo, talent hunt with UTV Bindaas ‘Icons next’, ‘Celebrating the legends tour’, launch of its orchestral property ‘The Bollywood Musical’ recreating the biggest classics of Hindi cinema and ‘Mehfil e Samaa’ with Talat Aziz to celebrate Indian traditional music.

With around 15-20 per cent share in the digital music market, worth approximately Rs 6 billion, the label’s focus areas in 2013 remains WAP , CRBT, Mobile Radio, Internet based services , Device manufacturers and DTH- segments.

3. Sony Music: The year was a mixed bag for the label as it mainly focused on expanding its repertoire across various platforms like Amazon, iTunes and more. Its musical year was marked by successful films like ‘Barfi’, ‘Ishaqzaade’, ‘Jannat 2’, ‘Blood Money’, ‘London Paris New York’,‘ Joker’, ‘Heroine’, ‘Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana’, ‘Student of the Year’.  Its album distribution was marked by Hard Kaur’s ‘P.L.A.Y’, second edition of ‘Perfect 10’ and Jagjit Singh’s compilations in ‘The Master and His Magic’. However, a major highlight for the label was the acquisition of AR Rahman’s new single ‘Infinite Love’ and offering its international music catalogue to Saavn English and Infibeam’s ‘Indent’. It also encashed on the digital medium by launching an android app for ‘Coke Studio@MTV- season 2’ after selling 10000 CD’s over five months and over 10 million downloads.

Though the label was moving forward by also acquiring the audio rights of the Tamil film ‘Kochadaiyaan’, the delay in the release of the film was a hurdle on the way. But other Tamil films ‘Neethane Enn Ponvasantham’, ‘Podaa Podi', ‘Saattai’ and ‘Billa 2’ was a saving grace. Holding 20 per cent share in the music industry, the label is pinning its hopes on iTunes by adding around 5,00,000 songs from its catalogue of bollywood, International and Tamil film songs on the store. They will also release Rahul Sharma and Deep Forest’s collaborative album ‘Deep India’ next year with the films ‘AnyBody Can Dance’ and ‘Matru ki Bijlee ka Mandola’ on the anvil.

2. Universal Music Group: Appointing Sony music veteran Vinit Thakkar as digital head, the label spearheaded most musical initiatives this year. In the regional space, they acquired Malayalam movie ‘Matinee’, 'Manjadikuru', ‘Arike’ and ‘Friday’ and Assamese film ‘Borolor Ghar’, also launching a Marathi devotional album ‘Dinacha Soyra Pandurang’. It also released albums of the Indian Idol 6 contestants and that of its winner Vipul Mehta. They also expanded their catalogue with international music by partnering with 9XO for the release of ‘GRRR!’ from Rolling Stones and facilitated collaborations like Sonu Nigam v/s Avicii on ‘Indian Levels’. They also marketed artistes like Colonial Cousins, Rabbi, Euphoria, Falguni Pathak, Lesle Lewis, Kavita Seth and more.

A major achievement of the group was the global launch of Priyanka Chopra as a singer and her single ‘In My City’ with Will.I.Am that crossed a quarter million downloads. It had also acquired rights for the official song of the ICC World Twenty20 tournament  and official song of UEFA EURO 2012 soccer tournament, released Ashanthi’s new single ‘Let’s give peace a chance’ as the official song for the De PaixYatra initiative and partnered with to promote MDNA and Madonna’s tour. It also expanded its structure with the launch of a new division ‘U-bee’ in its business development department. It also for the first time released a movie on non-theatrical format.

Universal Music is upbeat about 2013 by making music more accessible and bringing legal music to fans in a live, digital and physical format.

Universal Music was a big record label by market share, but with the acquisition of EMI’s prized catalogue, the success of Spotify’s music service in America, and management deals with some of the biggest artists today, it became a dominant force in the music business.

1. T-Series: Emerging as one of the leading labels of 2012, T-Series managed to rule the bollywood space with its growing acquisitions and venture into home productions. It acquired the audio rights of successful films like English Vinglish, Talaash, Dabanng 2, Khiladi 786, Son of Sardaar, Aiyya, Oh My God, Raaz 3, Gangs of Wasseypur 2, Jism 2, Kya Superkool Hai Hum, Cocktail and more. The regional space looked bright with Punjabi, Gujarati, Bhojpuri, Rajasthani and Marathi album releases and the aggressive usage of online, digital platforms and VAS services.

It released albums like mash-up of Salman Khan’s hit songs, Rahman’s German orchestra concert tour album, popular TV show Satyamev Jayate’s album and more. They also received the award for the most subscribed channel with around 555,529 subscribers on Youtube. It also recreated the patriotic song 'Suno gaur se duniya walon’ with a flash mob.

Though it faced initial hiccups with Saavn, it quickly reclaimed the losses by associating with Dhingana. 2013 too promises to be a musical year for the label with films like Yaariyan, Nautanki Saala, Aashiqui 2, I love NY amongst others under its banner.