Television

Music industry hit hard by Coronavirus

Smaller labels face existential threat

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Photo by Simon Noh on Unsplash

MUMBAI: The Indian music industry is feeling the heat of the coronavirus outbreak. The members of the Indian Music Industry (IMI), whose existence is solely dependent on releases of feature films, revenues from events and concerts, among others, are feeling the heat of drastically reduced cash flows. This is because film releases have been stalled and public performances revenues have dried due to cancelled music events and the shutting down of F&B outlets, said a release by IMI.

IMI is the apex body that represents the interest of the music companies or record labels on a pan-India basis.

IMI members follow a business model where they pay minimum guarantees (MGs) to film producers who demand substantial money upfront, well in advance for film music acquisitions. The music industry’s money is locked into film releases which may now be indefinitely postponed with no signs of predictable recovery. Around 80% of revenues come from film music for the recorded music industry.

Another fallout is that the large numbers of artists, technicians, sessions musicians are being rendered unemployed with the closure of film production, live events, F&B sector.

IMI chairman Vikram Mehra stated: “We are indeed looking into a financially unstable situation in the near to medium term. Consumer attention is centred on the virus and hence softer industries like ours are the first to be hit. Recordings being cancelled and postponed means many daily wage musicians supporting their families will face a hard time and record labels will not be able to recoup their investments- either paid as MGs to film producers or investments in independent music called IPop”

Tarsame Mittal of TM Talent Management said: “The events industry is hit hard due to concerts getting cancelled and many artists, support staff who depend on their concerts for livelihood, especially the smaller stature artists, and new artists are the worst hit.”

PPL India CEO Rajat Kakar said: “Public Performance income, a large part of the music industry’s livelihood especially that of the smaller music labels, who survive on this revenue source, has taken a beating due to cancellation of events. These smaller labels need public performance revenues to survive.”

IMI President and Blaise Fernandes chief executive officer said: “The silver lining in this bleak outlook is COAI asking OTT service providers to lower the quality of feeds, that’s an indicator that the OTT services are doing well given the work from home situation. This will translate into revenues for the copyright holders in the industry going forward. This is apart from the suffering of the daily wage music bands that perform music at weddings and other social events.”

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