Writers and music composers of the Indian music industry finally bear the fruits of their work. Veteran lyricist-screenwriter Javed Akhtar, chairperson of Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS), equally distributed INR 13 crore synchronisation royalty among 2800 music composers and authors. “Well, I think yesterday was historical because the distribution has turned the page. Now, this is just a page and we have whole book for this. You can see positive things happening rather quickly. We have developed the constitution which is absolutely balanced for the two parties including stakeholders. Importantly, the system is completely transparent and the tariffs are available online for everyone’s convenience.”
The amount is paid by different organizations to the artistes when their film songs are utilized as a part of commercials, recordings or different motion pictures. “People can become a member and they can register their work. The artiste will know the work that is registered and the sum of money (royalty) he is entitled to. Every quarter the performer, writer, publisher and composer will get their share of royalty. Besides that, we are working on how we can increase the collection. Within a year you will see an entirely different IPRS than what we are today,” explained Javed Akhtar.
Primarily the vision and the tireless efforts of Javed Akhtar along with the cooperation of certain government bodies helped secure the amount. Aashish Rego, in the Board of Directors of IPRS, stated, “It is only the beginning. There is an air of optimism among composers and authors right now. This distribution was really necessary. It happened due to the goodwill of the six companies who were involved in the process and graciously agreed to part with the INR 13 crores to be distributed among authors and composers.”
Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) on behalf of Saregama, Sony Music, Tips, Universal Music, Venus and Aditya Music is responsible for paying the sum to the registered members of IPRS. Personalities from the Indian music industry arrived to receive the royalty. Shravan of the Nadeem-Shravan duo, Dilip Sen-Sameer Sen, Jatin of the Jatin-Lalit duo, Shibani Kashyap, Sanjeev Darshan, Harmeet, Sudhakar Sharma, A M Turaaz and Prashant Ingole were among those who collected royalty.
Pleased to have received the royalty, Prashant Ingole, lyricist, said, “A beginning is always good. I am sure India will follow fair policies when it comes to the royalties as everyone in every field should receive their due.” On the joyous occasion Shibani Kashyap, singer, exclaimed, “This is a great victory for the music industry. Especially for the artiste who finally received their fair share of royalty. I salute Javed Akhtar for fighting for our rights and standing strong. This is a great start.”
On asking how the sum of INR 13 crores distributed, Rego explained, “The sum of money was distributed equally among artiste irrespective of the amount of work the artiste might own – everyone received the same amount. At the end of the day, it is the graciousness of top composers who also agreed to this arrangement. The money should reach to every member of the community.”
In November 2017, renowned musician Shubha Mudgal filed an FIR against IPRS and PPL claiming non-payment of royalties. This led the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to subpoena the heads of top music companies namely T-series, Yash Raj, Sony Music, Universal Music Group and Sa Re Ga Ma Music for supposedly failing to pay royalties to writers and composers amounting to crores.
Determined to go all out to protect the rights of all the IPRS members, Rego stated, “The problem is, they are used to keeping the authors and composers share of royalties, a habit which is difficult to get rid of. They also have doubts about joining IPRS, but they have to realise they can’t continue doing this. We are in talks to get them onboard, though they are welcome to stay out. But one thing is for sure, they definitely have no right to collect the composers’ shares of royalty. We will definitely pursue legal means to recover the dues which have been wrongfully taken by them on behalf of composers and authors. Eros, YRF, and T Series are out right now, everybody else is in,” explained Rego.