Business of Music in India

…exploring the future…

Music Sales – part 3:


The digital world of buying “singles” (any track/s from an album) online has opened up opportunities for the music industry globally. It’s just that we in India are not yet accustomed to doing so or have experienced the whole thing yet, as most stores like iTunes don’t operate here as of now.

But all mobile phone users are familiar with buying “welcome tunes” on our phones. And these revenues are helping phone companies offer amazing deals on talktime rates to their consumers.

From sources, I came to know that the song “Pappu can’t dance…” by A R Rahman got 7 million official downloads in India (on phones). Which makes the total revenue Rs. 7 crores. And that too for just one song: just 25-40 seconds of it!

This does imply that there are strong hopes of making money for the music industry with today’s technology too. And lots of it. We need not follow the model adopted by Coldplay and give away songs for free.

Tapas and Prashant gave some counter-points in the previous part. But there sure can be a middle path somewhere. Especially in terms of increasing confidence of using credit cards online, plenty of local digital stores, and the pleasure of quick downloads.

If we have ease of access, government control, secure payment methods and ofcourse some moral ethics left in us, we will go and buy a song online to be heard again and again.

Or will we?


5 Responses to “ Music Sales – part 3: ”

  1. Chaitanya Says:

    Hi Aditya,

    Yes, digital music in India and where is it headed is something we all have been talking about for a while now .

    CRBTs might have earned 7 Crores for T – series for just one song , but I would not include that in ‘music’ sales.

    Music is full songs and in India, dur to Piracy , people have been downloading free music and do not find anything wrong in doing that as we Indians feel Free music is my birth right.

    How do we compete against piracy.

    In fact the laws in India are too weak to curtail piracy .

    One option is to sit and watch music revenues shrink till the goverment wakes up to help kill piracy ( no chance!!) or we all support new models that offer free music but also creates revenue fo rthe music industry & competes against pirated free music downloads .

    Legal Free music models have now arrived in India and you will see many of them start up in the next 12 – 24 months

    One such model is being offered by NOKIA.
    It is called Comes With Music

    You buy a phone , and you get a voucher, that when redeemed , gives you access to download millions of songs for Free for 12 – 18 months

    The music downloaded is yours for ever.

    The music companies are paid a fee that is bundled in the cost of the handset.

    The beauty is that , for the consumer it is free music , aqs much as he can eat, legal, and the depth of content is much much deeper than any other Illegal music site.

    Nokia Music UK has 7 million tracks ( check out

    Nokia India that is set for launch the phaze 1 of its music store ( Voucher In box store) in the next 6 weeks has alredy 1.1 million tracks ( ie is much higher than any other compititor in India. They have already got the licenses from Hungama, PPL, SIMCA,Sony, Universal, Warner, EMI and many other independant local companies.

    Check out a animation on what Nokia’s Comes With Music is all about

    Other similar models coming to India are.

    Virgin Mobile – Launched in Mumbai , but does not have great content. 1,00,000 songs , but only songs belonging to Sony & Hungama.

    Hungama .com – Site in Beta stage, there is a talk about free music for a monthly fee. – already has a eat all you can for a monthly fee mdoel powered by Hungama in a few circles.

  2. Alok Punjani Says:

    I think this blog is not doing much in terms of action.. only words.. and comments.
    Though it is a good way to assimilate ideas and concepts but.. the non implantation sucks..

    Unless there is a plan or suggestions from a few patrons.. to take things further ahead.. I would Like to withdraw from participating any further.

    Action speaks louder than words… on my side.


  3. Aditya Says:

    hey alok,

    chaitanya does mention what all is happening in the digital world of music to counter free download of music tracks.

    aren’t these concrete actions?

    - aditya

  4. Tapas Relia Says:

    Legal free Music???
    I think we should be talking about a model that helps Artists make a reasonable sum.
    Not ridiculous schemes that satisfy the ever greedy consumer who anyway wants everything free.

    Bundling free music with X-Y-Z is not going to help artists at all, even the little that they get from Music Companies will become lesser and lesser, consequently increasing the amount of rubbish being released.
    Even in this model its always a win for the Company/Music Company.

    How can free music create revenue for the Music Industry?? More importantly, how does it help the artist??
    They are probably giving away tracks to NOKIA (and others) at a ridiculous amount, which is not right.

    Lets not find excuses for so called revolutionary sales ideas just because we can’t curb piracy.
    Its really not that difficult. It can be done. Just like the Seatbelt law or drinking and driving law which always existed but never followed. If the SARKAR wants, it can get cracking on piracy.

    And by the way, I’m a musician. We composers do not stack up our studios with state of the art gear/software and hardware investing our hard earned money and slog day and night to achieve that crystal clear quality of a mix and mastering in London so that it ends up in some site at 128 bit low life MP3.

    Digital music is a good alternative option. It should never become THE business model.
    There are millions of people who still prefer physical discs to downloads. Thats why they are still around.
    The quality can never be replaced.

    Let me also mention here that as far as India is concerned, the figures are TOTALLY different for a Film Composer vs an Individual doing Pop.
    Signing of rights to a music company is always what I would wanna do, after-all the company IS taking risks for my Music… yet they are paying me a handsome amount. The profit is theirs, but so is the loss…


  5. Alok Punjani Says:

    Yes Adi and Chaitanya…

    This is surely a new dimension opening up…
    But lets see.. if an individual producer or a song writer or composer can benefit out of it..

    If it’s the music companies eating up the entire cake..

    We are still at the same position..

    But I hope you’d agree that this is a desperate attempt by Nokia to kill apple phone and iTunes..
    Free music with the phone..
    Lets see .. how long they can sustain it..

    Whether the goodies win the race or the technology …

    But my issue of Royalties in today’s scenario still remains.. and I intend to take it further ahead..