The year that was: 2023 and the forecast for 2024 in the Indian music industry

The year that was: 2023 and the forecast for 2024 in the Indian music industry

The Indian music industry's sonic landscape transformed profoundly in 2023.

Rakesh Nigam

Mumbai: The sonic landscape of the Indian music industry underwent a profound transformation in the year 2023. As it is constantly colliding with international styles and ideas, fresh and transformative compositions are widely noticeable in the current music scene. Artists, emboldened by the freedom afforded by online music streaming platforms, experimented with novel sounds, pushing the boundaries of creativity. This surge in experimentation marked a departure from traditional norms, fostering a rich tapestry of diverse musical expressions that resonated with audiences across linguistic and cultural divides.

Despite the challenges, India's music publishing industry has shown promising growth, reaching *Rs 850 crore plus in the fiscal year 2022-23. The support from the Government of India and the increasing compliance of music users with publishing requirements have contributed to this success.

At the heart of this musical revolution was the influence of online music streaming platforms. These platforms not only facilitated the discovery of new genres but also played a crucial role in breaking the language barrier. With sophisticated algorithms curating personalized recommendations, listeners were introduced to a spectrum of music beyond their linguistic comfort zones. This democratisation of musical access paved the way for cross-cultural appreciation and marked a significant step towards fostering inclusivity within the industry.

One of the standout features of 2023 was the substantial increase in artist revenues. With the advent of streaming platforms and the surge in digital music consumption, artists found new avenues to monetize their craft. Streaming services not only provided a wider audience reach but also contributed significantly to the overall revenue generated by the music industry.

Also, a heartening development was the post-pandemic reemergence of live shows and public performances. This opened up long-clogged revenue-generating avenues for interested parties while rejuvenating the performers and music creators with a deluge of opportunities most of which had practically disappeared during the pandemic.

The year 2023 witnessed the growth of independent artists and continued to flourish, breaking away from traditional industry constraints. With the democratisation of music production and distribution, these artists found platforms to showcase their talent and build dedicated fan bases. The growing trend of supporting independent artists marked a shift in the dynamics of the music industry, allowing for diverse voices to be heard.

Independent musicians in the year have been bolstered by the ready acceptance of their tracks in adorning film soundtracks, thus thinning the line between mainstream and alternative music. With collaborations between Carnatic musicians and hip-hop, jazz, rap performers, gaining traction in unexplored turfs in far-flung locales, the distance music bridges is limited only in the mind. Going ahead, collaboration between musicians across the planet is sure to add a newly-harvested dimension to the global music ecosystem.

In an era where opportunities and challenges coexist, the equitable compensation and fair-trade practices in music will undoubtedly shape the future of the industry. Every little increment in revenue generation earnings is a welcome addition to the continued growth of any industry. The music business, fortified by the amazing incremental growth curve ushered in by a level playing field, is at an inlection point where revenue opportunities for musicians are being generated at every level. The larger picture though, would be far more salubrious if the benefits accruing trickle down in fair proportion to all entities in the mix including the promoters and the creators. Complying austerely to these significant lead-ups over the year is the only way to see that the creators - the heart of the music industry- are benefited in the right proportion and fairly thus encouraging even better musical content and a vibrant music industry in the coming times.

In the context of India's thriving music industry, The Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS) emerged as a key player, actively contributing to the growth and sustainability of the sector. With over 13,500 authors as its members, IPRS has been instrumental in ensuring that music creators receive their due royalties. The manifold increase in revenue collection in the year creating a new benchmark of Rs 564 crores also made room for a much bigger purse for the creators as the IPRS went on to disburse frequent and better royalties to its members.

A noteworthy development this year includes IPRS's partnership with LyricFind, presenting fresh opportunities for monetizing lyrics and acknowledging the significance of this frequently overlooked element in music creation. Furthermore, the recent collaboration between IPRS and the Korea Music Copyright Association (KOMCA) underscores IPRS's dedication to providing its members with novel avenues for creative expansion, nurturing innovation, and elevating Indian talent onto the global stage.

Affirming its position as a prominent music copyright society in the Asia Pacific region, IPRS recently organized the dynamic International Musical Creators seminar in Mumbai, on behalf of CISAC and the Asia Pacific Music Creators Alliance (APMA). This gathering, attended by key figures in the creative, administrative, and music industry sectors on a global scale, also marked the release of a meticulously crafted report by EY titled "The Music Creator Economy: The Rise of Music Publishing in India." This groundbreaking report aims to encapsulate the state of music publishing in India, offer perspectives on its relevance and market potential, and, notably, present the results of a survey featuring insights from 500 music creators—a first-of-its-kind initiative in India.

In another milestone, IPRS hosted the CISAC Asia Pacific Committee Meeting 2003, further solidifying its commitment to represent India on a global forum.

Commenting on the future, in 2024, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will emerge as a transformative force in the music industry, reshaping the creative landscape. Creators navigate an AI-driven world, exploring new dimensions of music creation through intelligent algorithms, while industry experts will provide insights, guiding creators in adapting to AI tools and technologies.

The coming years, will witness the transformative influence of artificial intelligence, ready to influence the course of musical evolution by harmonizing technology and creativity. Situated at the crossroads of tradition and innovation, it will be critical for the Indian music industry to utilize AI to advance artists, nurture emerging talent, and extend its global presence, while ensuring robust regulatory frameworks upholding creators' rights.

Striking a harmonious balance between technological advancements and preserving the essence of cultural music forms will be pivotal. The industry stands at the cusp of navigating these challenges, presenting opportunities to shape a future where technology and tradition coalesce to create a musical panorama that resonates with the hearts of a global audience.

This year has seen digital revenue surpassing other sources, and this trend is expected to persist in the coming years. Nevertheless, a key focal point will be compliance, necessitating a societal shift towards recognizing the value of paid music consumption. As I always say, ‘music isn’t free’. Music holds a special place in our hearts and is a beautiful outcome of the dedication and passion of creators who invest their lifetimes crafting songs that enrich our moments of joy and sorrow. And I believe it’s time we acknowledge and value it.

*Source: The Music Creator Economy: The Rise of Music Publishing in India study by EY India