A familiar name will soon become even more
familiar as RPG group unit Gramophone Company of India Ltd launches ''Gramophone'' as a new
brand. The brand the company has been using so far is HMV, which it will continue to use,
under licence from EMI of Britain. The new brand will run parallel with HMV, and may focus
on different kinds of music, including live recordings.
The Gramophone Company has, after
protracted negotiations with partner EMI, secured a 25-year extension of rights to market
its music products under the HMV brand in India. As part of its strategy to market
multiple brands, the company has also acquired popular local brands like ''Sangita'' and
''Sargam'' in the south, which cover devotional, classical and other traditional forms of
Immediately the company will associate the
Gramophone brand with special products. However, popularising the new brand will place the
company in a better position to negotiate with EMI when the current agreement with the
British company expires after 25 years.
The RPG group acquired a stake in
Gramophone Company of India from EMI in 1985. The British company had then agreed that
GCIL would continue to be the registered user of the HMV trademark in India for a period
of 10 years. Negotiations over renewal ran for four years until the new, 25-year agreement
was signed in April 1999.
EMI has a stake of close to 10 per cent in
the equity of the Gramophone Company of India. The British company has already set up its
own subsidiary, Virgin Music India, with headquarters in Mumbai.
The Gramophone Company had Rs 3.93 crore
profit in the year ended 31 March
1999, representing a 45 per cent increase.