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A more equal music


Bisman Kaur

The Indian music industry is unique. Over 60 percent of sales come from film music. Yet, composers and lyricists in the film industry are not an envied lot.

Their services are engaged for fixed sums and contracts worded to assign all royalties to film producers.

Internationally, music contracts are structured differently. A composer and lyricist typically assign copyright in the song to a publisher, which generates income by licensing rights and collecting royalties. Mechanical royalties stem from licensing the right to make a sound recording; synchronisation royalties come from allowing use of the song in film, while radio and television broadcasts, restaurant play and live performances yield performance royalties.

In exchange for transfer of ownership, the creative team gets a share—commonly 50 percent—in the various royalties. These are collected in tandem by more than 200 societies across the world. Significantly, if a society gives out more than a 50 percent share to the publisher, it risks de-recognition by the governing body.

Indian music industry, IPRS


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