New Delhi: The Rs 750-crore Indian music industry that witnessed a rip-roaring compounded annual growth rate of 18 per cent through the nineties seems to have hit a roadblock this year. What's worse, for the first time in many years, sales of cassettes and CDs have touched an abysmal low.
Music sales have shrunk by more than 20 to 25 per cent in the first half of the year, while internationally music sales have gone down by 5 per cent, indicating the fact that economic recession has affected this industry, too.
Music industry experts in India, however, say that the ills affecting the Indian music industry are rather different. Some industry insiders blame it on piracy, which apparently hits music sales in India by almost 40 per cent. Piracy consists of people downloading music from the Internet and buying cheap pirated cassettes, CDs and MP3 CDs.
Piracy, no doubt, is a cause for concern and was one of the reasons a music site like Napster got into serious trouble. In India music piracy is mostly an urban phenomenon, thanks largely to low PC penetration.
Others say the real reason for the music industry getting stuck in a deep groove is the lack of a big musical success this year. Moreover, music companies like Magnasound, Tips Industries and Saregama, to name a few, that are heavily dependent on Hindi film music for revenues, have been badly hit. New Hindi film music releases comprise about 45 per cent of the total music market and music companies shell out as much as Rs 5 crore and above for acquiring music rights of big-banner movies.
The fact is nearly all films released this year had middling to poor music and companies like Tips and Saregama have seen a dip in profits by 185.6 per cent and 93.7 per cent respectively for the quarter ended 31 September 2001 in comparison to the same period last year.
These companies bought music rights to big-banner films like Pyar Ishq Aur Mohabbat, Yaadien and Yeh Raaste Hai Pyar Ke, and have suffered losses on account of poor sales. Even films like Lagaan (Sony Music) and Gadar (T-Series), the biggest hits of 2001, were not big musical successes though Sony Music and T-Series managed not to make losses. Other music companies like Venus Records and BMG Crescendo have also not seen any big hits this year.
Companies like Sony Music and T-Series are diluting their risks by selling various genres of music like international, Indi pop, devotional and regional music, though at this time what the industry needs is a musical success on the lines of Kaho Na Pyaar Hai or Kuch Kuch Hota Hai to set things right.