Music Plus spoke with industry veteran, President and CEO of Indian Music Industry (IMI), Mr. Blaise Fernandes on IMI’s plans to combat piracy and share some takeaways from the recently concluded conference, ‘Dialogue 2018′, for the coming together of the key stakeholders of the music industry as a united front.
How is IMI combating piracy in the country?
IMI has an active anti-piracy program, under which an internal team reports over 10,000 URL’s per month to IFPI. We also have had a 55% success rate with the National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) where NIXI blocked 200 out of 363 [dot]IN websites in 2018. We in the early stages of partnering with the Maharashtra Cyber Digital Crime Unit (MCDCU) of Maharashtra Police to block infringements directly, we’ll be able to reveal more data and details as the project progresses.
Given piracy is an international phenomenon, how does IMI facilitate protecting Indian IPR abroad?
IMI welcomes India’s recent accession to the ‘Internet treaties’: WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and the WIPO Performance and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT). The recorded music industry considers this as an absolute game changer as adherence to an international system will ensure that benefits for Indian rights holders abroad are safeguarded. India already extends protection to foreign works through the International Copyright Order, 1999 and these treaties will enable Indian rights holders to get equivalent protection in the global market, thus providing them with a level-playing field.
IMI seeks to reinforce these guidelines through communication with Indian missions abroad and cooperation from local authorities and law enforcement in curbing copyright violators in regions like USA, UK, Australia etc.
In due time, we at IMI feel such legislation will encourage additional investments in content creation in India and monetization of Indian content will get a further boost in the global markets.
IMI recently concluded the inaugural edition of ‘Dialogue: The Indian Music Convention 2018’. What are your takeaways from this event?
Dialogue 2018 for IMI represented the coming together of the key stakeholders of the music industry as a united front. The recorded music industry established a vision to develop India into one of the top 10 music markets by 2022 (as per IFPI GMR metrics). Dialogue, as a platform, gave the whole industry the opportunity to discuss the challenges the industry faces to achieve ‘Vision 2022’ and a roadmap to reach the target. After daylong deliberations @Dialogue 2018 all the stakeholders; the international majors, the domestic majors, the regional labels and the collection societies were on the same page. The DIPP and the Copyright Board also assured the industry of complete co-operation.
As next steps, the recorded industry will now focus on developing a robust SUBSCRIPTION ECOSYSTEM in India, working with the government to ensure PROTECTION and FAIR REMUNERATION to Indian IP owners aka fair value, developing a robust SYNC business and increasing the revenue from PUBLIC PERFORMANCE royalties by using best practices, technology, international collaboration, monitoring and compliance. With continued efforts to gain fair value and crack down on copyright violators, IMI sees these measures as the stepping-stones to achieving our vision, ‘Vision 2022’.
There were a lot of discussions on unfair remunerations to rights holders at the Dialogue. Can you speak about that?
The issue of unfair remunerations to rights’ holders can be seen as a part of the larger VALUE GAP problem. The investments made by IMI members and rights holders need to translate into revenues that are commensurate with investments of the record industry.
According to a recent IFPI study of music consumers in India (conducted by AudienceNet for IMI), video streaming is the most popular method for consuming music in India with 97% of respondents indicating that they used YouTube for music consumption. However, as per the GMR 2018 revenue reports, all video-streaming services put together amount to less than 20% of the music industry revenues in India. Given a consumer base of estimated 330 million video streaming users in India, video streaming platforms generated only 170 Cr. in revenue in 2017. In contrast, a relatively smaller subscriber base for audio streaming platforms, both paid and ad-supported, estimated at around 65 million generated around 400 Cr. in revenue the same year. This disparity, what IFPI terms as the VALUE GAP, is what IMI would strive to see reduced.
Javed Akhtar was awarded the inaugural ‘IMI Music Person of the Year 2018’ award. What do you think his biggest contribution to the industry has been?
We all know of Javed sahab’s contribution to the movie, music and literary industry, building on which, we wanted to highlight his efforts behind the scenes.
IPRS has now been re-registered as a society, which, without the perseverance, hard work and leadership of Javed sahab, wouldn’t have been possible. It is because of him, music publishers, music composers & lyricists can come together under the banner of IPRS. He is one person who can combine his understanding of the publishing business with the interests of the author communities. Now, as chairman of IPRS, he is sure to lead the organization towards positive transformation.
IMI salutes his contribution to the industry thus far and wanted to formally acknowledge his efforts as the ‘IMI Music Person of the Year 2018’.