India’s informal music industry has a market share of Rs 1 to 5 trillion

The potential of India’s informal music industry ranges between Rs 1,398 to Rs 5,620 billion comprising brass bands, DJs, sound engineers, independent artists, folk musicians, independent music teachers, music instrument manufacturers, workers and other facilitators in the industry.

Contrarily, the formal music industry which takes into its fold recording and publishing, live music and digital streaming accounts for Rs 18.7 billion.

The new data is courtesy a report titled ‘The Untold Potential of India’s Informal Music Industry’ worked on by Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) – and commissioned by apex trade institution, Indian Music Industry – which tabulates nation-wide data acquired from 1,574 people, including musicians from 255 brass bands, 207 DJs, 201 sound engineers, 234 independent music teachers, and 677 independent artists.

India does not feature among the top ten music markets in the world in spite of a steep rise in revenue (20.3 %) in 2021 and the report cites the unorganised and undocumented nature of the country’s informal music industry as a significant reason for this gap. However, the informal music industry reportedly employs almost 14 million people generating a market share of Rs 1 to 5 trillion, which translates to more people employed than the Indian Railways or government.

According to the report, some of these challenges include underpayment by consumers, piracy, massive digitisation and an ad-supported streaming user base, non-adherence to standardised industry practices resulting in poor revenue realisation and industry disputes. “An average Indian listens to 21.9 hours of music in a week as against the global average of 18.4 hours,” said the report. “Despite its intrinsic presence in our everyday lives, the music industry in India remains unrewarded.” Royalties, for instance, received by songwriters and composers make up for less than 1% of the total revenue of the music industry.

“The real numbers and size of the informal music industry remain largely unaccounted for with fragmented components and activities that are challenging to estimate,” said the report. “These large numbers of stakeholders remain invisible in most assessments of the industry and the revenue they generate remains unreported.”

In order to start capitalisation of this untapped market, ICRIER makes the following recommendations -:

  • Strengthening the role of industry institutions and broadening the role of government bodies
  • Improving the scope of live performances across the country
  • Providing access to education and formal training
  • A stronger adherence of intellectual property and enforcement

“Poor enforcement of IPR laws is perhaps the sorest point for the industry,” wrote ICRIER. “This report started with a discussion on the undervaluation of the industry’s potential due to the non-payment of royalty and for the consumption of music generally. There is a history of exploitation especially towards creators of music.”

Read the full report here

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