The Indian music industry is no different than a “[b]ox of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” The cultural differences are so wide that the industry has segments to keep a tap on every source. Also, in a country of 1.3 billion people, the chances of finding seamless talent are skewered. In such cases, what does the music industry do? It holds people of expertise who can filter through limitless talent.
When Music Plus, met with the EVP & Business Head of Zee Music Company Limited, Mr Anurag Bedi, we discussed the intricacies a record label keeps in mind while signing an artist, the process after and handling business in a competitive market.
Mr Bedi has been a part of the Zee Music Company for more than a decade now. In his current role at Zee Music, he takes care of acquisitions and expansions. Zee has a versatile catalogue of film and non-film artists. Thus, we began our conversation,
Music Plus (MP): How is Zee Music Company doing in such a competitive market?
Anurag Bedi (Bedi): The industry is growing well. Although getting consumers’ attention is a challenge. That said, we are almost clocking 7 billion streams a month. Compared to last year, growth has been almost 60%. That gives us a sign of consumption and if the consumption is growing, the opportunity for every stakeholder is growing.
MP: What do labels look for when they sign a new artist and how do you decide what goes into the record label deal?
Bedi: It depends on what the artist is going to do for us in the long run. The main idea is the development of the artist than the deal. We do come with the strength of giving playback songs to them. Which is what makes the artists widen their reach through film music. Although there are various kinds of deals, it depends on the kind of relationship we share with each of them. There is no set template for signing an artist. The only criteria we look at is the talent they possess. It could be their unique style or sound but there is no formula.
MP: Today even non-film music sounds like they are from a movie. Is it direct competition with Bollywood?
Bedi: Plenty of songs that I keep hearing right now are cheap replicas of hit Bollywood songs. Those are not the kind of music we develop. There are more than 5000 artists in this country and each artist has their own perspective. There’s a lot of music we don’t create. We are not creatively involved in those songs. We just have a releasing role in that.
MP: How have the rise of regional music and synch been as revenue contributors?
Bedi: Yes, regional music is rising, but you have to see the competition. Bollywood or big artists are competitors for regional music. Suppose, there is a Badshah song coming out that week, the consumer is going to latch on to his song. Every week there’s a new song coming out.
Even in the case of synch revenue, we come back to one question, is the song a hit? If yes, then that’s when it is going to be used. The challenge is to make the song a hit first. It always depends on the song we are investing in.
MP: How do you define a hit and how can you say if a song is going to be a hit when you listen to an artist for the first time?
Bedi: There are various quotients such as streaming counts, TV and Radio picking it up, and social media engagement. When all the platforms have picked up the song, you know it’s a hit. YouTube plays a vital role but it is not a prime criterion. Ultimately, consumption has to happen across all mediums.
And, as far as independent music is concerned, it’s always a feeling you go from the heart. There’s no data or statistics to apply. When Honey Singh came with his first album, there were no statistics, somebody just went with the belief. The question is sustainability and the idea is to be prime.
MP: We get to hear how artists have conflicting opinions about labels. Why do you think that exists?
Bedi: That’s not true. Not a single musician has had a conflict with us so I will refuse to believe it. I think everyone is aware of how copyright works. Today, every artist we deal with has a good understanding of the law. Everything is transparent in the agreement. Every artist would want to believe that they get the best price for their songs. There is a negotiation as to what the label thinks, so that’s where a deal comes into action. Ultimately, no one is putting a gun on an artist’s head to sign a document.
MP: Conjectures are that revenue from streaming is almost negligible. Your thoughts?
Bedi: Well, nobody comes up and tells us that. When our songs are a hit, there are collecting societies working on behalf to collect royalties. They should ask the societies where the money is. The societies are well-oiled machinery at this point of time, for which I can compliment them.
- 2020.11.30Know Your Short-Format Video App- Gaana HotShots
- 2020.11.02Label Makers – Why The Lockdown Has Seen A Spurt In The Launch Of New Indian Record Companies
- 2020.11.02The Explosion of Short Format Video Apps and Their Effects On The Music Industry
- 2020.10.27Know Your Short-Format Video App- Moj