Radio Mirchi offers FCT worth $ 1mn to fight music piracy

MUMBAI: Radio Mirchi CEO Prashant Panday announced that his station would offer free commercial time FCT worth $ 1 million to combat the menace of piracy in the music industry by creating awareness among listeners.

Panday made the announcement during the session on music, on the last day of Ficci Frames 2008.

Said Panday, "The radio industry is a partner of the music industry, not its antagonist. We are a part of the agony of declining sales and piracy that the music industry is going through. We wish to join hands to combat these tribulations and help the music industry."

Radio Mirchi is the first radio station to have proposed such a move and Panday is of the opinion that the radio fraternity will support Mirchi in this initiative.

"As of now, it is only we who are proposing it but I am sure that the radio industry as well as the Association of Radio Operators of India (AROI) will look forward to something on similar lines and be keen in joining hands with us", states Panday. The music and radio industries have locked horns over the issue of music royalties payable by radio stations to the music industry, with no amicable solution to the issue in sight yet.

Contradicting the notion that the radio industry depends heavily on the music industry, he affirms, "The argument that the radio industry is surviving because of music industry is bizarre. I would rather say we are the ones who help build music sales by popularising them on our platform.

About the ongoing tussle over music royalties, Panday says, "They compare the royalties paid by the radio industry with mobile or satellite radio but I would say radio is still a booming industry and needs time to flourish. The other mediums are making profits and therefore it is feasible for them to pay the royalties of 20 per cent as demanded by Phonographic Performances Limited (PPL).

‘Also, it is possible for the television industry to pay 20 per cent royalty but if we look at radio, the structure is different and we are surviving on minimal margins. Hence we will continue fighting for nominal royalties and want to bring them down to two or three per cent. Also, we propose that an independent body must be set up to evaluate the merits and demerits of both the parties and decide the royalties."

Currently, the AROI has set up a sub committee to look into the issue.

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