Newly launched music labels rework their mix

MUMBAI: The newer generation of music labels is moving away from feature film titles towards vernacular albums, religious fare, fresh artistes and interspersing the same with a little bit of remix albums. Recently launched music companies are also exploiting different revenue streams accruing from VCD rights amongst others - although it is still not contributing much due to piracy.



The three month old music label Das Entertainment is positioning itself as a springboard for fresh talent. Das Entertainment managing director Dhianu Das says: "We have already launched 10 albums in the first three months. The target is to eventually touch the 60 number mark within an year. The USP of our company is its transparent approach wherein the creative talent will be ensured a fair opportunity and every artiste will be given complete credit for his or her work."

Das Entertainment claims to have recovered investments in its recently launched offerings such as Dil Dariya (billed as a tribute to Indian poetry), feature films such as Pritish Nandy Communications' 88 Antop Hill, Ashok Karia's Kuchh Kaha Aapne amongst others. However, the company officials feel that exploiting VCD rights for films differs from case to case and depends on the agreement between the film producer and the music label. The company has just launched Shaina, the debut of a Kenya based Indian-born international artiste Amar.

Media celebrity Jaaved Jaaferi and Rajiv Shah (son of diamond merchant and film producer Bharat Shah) recently launched a new music label H.O.M Records and Tapes. While speaking to, Jaaferi says: "The aim is to nurture and promote new talent; work on path-breaking albums with established artistes; dip into various genres; innovate and take creative leaps to create segment specific focussed content. Remixes are an important aspect of popularising old tunes and exposing the younger generation to the old breed of artistes."

Jaaferi claims that he felt the urge to do something for fresh talent while working on his TV shows Boogie Woogie (Sony TV) and Grooves (Sahara TV). When queried about the response to his show Grooves launched by Sahara TV (read story below) in May 2003, Jaaferi says: "We have got a fabulous response for the show. Just imagine getting 10,000 entries for the western region zonal rounds! I am very happy that the show is doing pretty well."

AMG India's Manish Savant who has worked with several top music companies feels that the real potential lies in introducing new artistes. AMG India has recently introduced artistes such as Oliver Sean.

Similarly, Spotlight Promotions that owns the music magazine RagatoRock has recently promoted four new artistes or groups: Sleeping Buddha (Web of Life); Udbhav, the singer who was Yash Chopra's son Uday Chopra's in the film Mohabattein (Dilbar); a rock group called Pralay (Urban Reality); and singer Avi (Dil Jawaan). "The established companies are not keen on promoting fresh talent. Someone has to take the mantle of infusing fresh energy into the system. We make it a point to choose artistes who write, sing and compose their own music. No remixes for us!" says RagatoRock editor and Spotlight Promotions managing director CP Joseph.

Das adds that vernacular music albums have emerged as a great revenue earner in this age of recession. "There is a huge potential in the folk language market - especially Bengali and Marathi. More importantly, the investments in promoting such fare is lower as compared to the big ticket items. Word of mouth publicity is sufficient to ensure sales and if it picks up, there is a bonanza," points out Das.

A case in point is the stupendous success of albums such as Gayatri Mantra launched by Times Music. Times Music also has an entire range of offerings targeted at the Jain community and is exclusively promoting the same through its Planet outlets.

Industry experts say that vernacular fare usually picks up during the festival time - say for instance Durga Puja time in Kolkata; Dandiya Garbha Raas during Navratri in Gujarat; and Ganesh Chaturthi in Maharashtra.

As far as the established music companies are concerned, the current emphasis is on remixes, remixes, remixes, then film music. Of course, the marketing effort merely involves making controversial videos and airing them on prime time.


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