Sunday, September 20, 2009

A couple of questions

I am asked often:
Why don't non-film albums work in South India or more specifically in Chennai. I think the market in Kerala is pretty good for non-film music.  Maybe also in cosmopolitan Andhra Pradesh. No idea about Bangalore. But let me also put down the disclaimer that I am only pondering aloud here and I do not have studies or articles to base these thoughts on. These are stuff that came up during random discussions with others in the industry. If I am wrong here I'd love to be corrected. 
- Is it because Radio Stations won't popularize the tracks?
- Is it because we are so used to only stars acting out the songs and no one else?
- Is it the branding?

And with Audio Piracy
I tweeted a while back. "Is there a way to market publish (I'd rather call it publish now) music in a manner that it cannot be pirated?" I got the response that the pirates are always better than marketers. And I am getting highly interesting responses too.  I think the print industry is not so highly affected by piracy like the Movie/Music industry. How could they achieve that? Is it because it is easy to track down the printers who publish such pirated copies? Or is it that those who have it in them to read - as the habit of reading is not so commonplace - would also consider the experience of shopping for their books integral? Correct me here too if I am wrong. 

Maybe it is human tendency that someone would rather download something for free than pay for it. Guess piracy is the  the technology's way of telling us that we are mostly thieves at heart. 
Or maybe the pricing is just way too high. 

I have always wanted to figure this out. 

And I really wish the IPRS can get their act together. Soon. 
P.S.: A lot of people telling me that we can never get the better of pirates. Then I think I am going to start hiring pirates. Something like they show in the movies on the police hiring crooks with a view of reforming them and helping the police force. 


Arun Kumar said...

"Guess piracy is the the technology's way of telling us that we are mostly thieves at heart. "
lols. yeah...

A while back, a friend of mine from kerala was highly excited cos a rock band from kerala was gonna release their new album the next day... I watched them on You tube.... they were pretty good...
I kinda miss a Tamil rock band (altho I haven't known one)... or any genre band for that matter... wud love to follow some tamil band... tired of listening to english bands... wud be grt to listen to grt music coupled with tamil lyrics !!!

n as far as the audio piracy issue goes... "Pirates r way more smarter than Marketers".... Even the big shot recording industries are helpless against piracy...

Dhanasekar said...

On Non film Music, the main reason may be lack of marketing. How many of us know about non film music? Very few. I don't think there is lack of talent. We are living in the world of marketing, and people here don't have time to analyses, instead they opt for the one which comes into their drawing room by TV or Radio.
Then about Piracy "Thieves at Heart" 100% true.
You may stop piracy by
1.Creating awareness about piracy ,here is an example on that
There is a clipping in Casino Royal DVD and many other sony DVDs((of course original:)), which asks you a series of question, like do you steal in a store? Do you steal someone’s money? Then you do you steal a movie? Piracy is Stealing. I never realized till then that piracy is as good as stealing someone’s money. And I am sure your words “Thieves at Heart” will also have an impact :)
2.Music/movie industry adapting to technology ,like to quote Sony example
I think initially Sony was against MP3 players because they do have their own recording company which was affected by piracy. But at last they do released MP3 players. Because of the reach of MP3 players it started affecting their Music player business. So industry should also need to come up with some innovations.
3.Punishing ,which is not under our control, government should wake up
And what you did in this blog is both 1 and 2, created an awareness using technology :)
There are many such reasons for piracy, like cost is another main factor and then many in rural don't even know they are using pirated version. Who knows if you educate them they might stop using it. About print media, I think it is because lack of quality in pirated version, it is not affected as much as music. Don’t worry you have software industry, which is affected as bad as music/movie industry :)
Then what about your thought on pirating someone else work? There is even a very funny incident where the movie Cellular being pirated by two directors at the same time :). I do watched both those movies in TV and ROFL.

Praveen said...

Are you aware that Sonu Nigam has released his first ever non-film Kannada album last month and it is selling like hot cakes here in Blore. I would be happy that they promote the album videos and the music at a national level, considering his huge fan following.

Would you know how successful were Srinivas-Rajeev Menon's Ussele Ussele or Malgudi Subha's Paarai? If I am right, I think they met with reasonable success.
As you replied on tweet, I too think that popular media can play a major role. We do need a strong music broadcast channel like MTV dedicated to the south alone. SS Music is OK, but we need something that is stronger and can reach out to the world. We need to reach out to a larger target audience and promote artists. And as A R Rahman puts it, have a video for EVERY music album.

Kalyan said...

Hi ,

According to me , the answers are already there . As far as Tamilnadu is concerned, brand name always counts. When I was young , I used to think that Rajni,Kamal,Sridevi are singing and dancing .After a long time I realised that songs in the movie are rendered by playback singers and not by the heroes and heroines.Presently with the growing popularity of some reality shows(like Super Singer and Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge), some of the present playback singers and music directors have earned a brand name among common people. With this growing popularity among common people,I think that musical albums sales will see a growing trend in the near future.I feel that devotional albums still continue to sell better than Western Classical albums( in TamilNadu). As you have mentioned, piracy in someway tends to lead ,courtesy technological advances .

If you take the case of print industry , all the popular novels and academic books are presently available in pdf format for free download . According to me ,one reason why print industry remains less affected by piracy is many people find it difficult to read a novel or any book from a computer/laptop .(I am not talking about die-hard J.K.Rowling or Dan Brown fans here).

Sowmya Gopal said...

Regarding the print industry, there are a few things that do not lend to piracy
1. Not many are interested in being up to date w.r.t books (except maybe harry potter), so they are quite content to wait for the books to hit their local library. W.r.t music/movie
hearing/watching it as soon as it is released is more or less a race when talking with friends.

2. Not many can read e-versions, holding a book is important. W.r.t music, the pirated mp3 quality is good enough and listening to it on a laptop with speakers is not a lot different from using a music DVD in a home theatre (unless and until you are a connoisseur and will not settle for second best)

3. Like you mentioned, not many are into reading books as compared to watching movies.

The one thing thats most difficult w.r.t piracy is that people who download movies/music do not believe they are doing something wrong. Microsoft actually gave up on trying to prevent software piracy because its really hard to track, with the world being a global village now and they realised it was not worth the effort.

I think the feeling is more or less that these people make a lot of money anyway and me downloading a couple of songs is not going to make them broke. The other point is when one gets valuable services like searching for information (google), information (wikipedia), maps (google earth, virtual earth, google maps) for free, they are not interested to pay for entertainment services unless absolutely necessary.

Actually they are websites now offering legal downloading of english movies for a fee per month. This would be one good way since people wouldn't mind paying a few bucks per month if they can get movies in a really good quality. This is something Indian movie industry should look into.

Vishesh said...

Interesting...I read a lot and always buy my books from Landmark or some other book for music..I think it is because the second we listen to it online, we want to download and if we find a download button it is easier.

Also in the case of books, it takes a while to read and assimilate case of music, well you buy it put it in the car music player and if get stuck in traffic, the CD might have played itself out in no time...

And the quantum also comes into play. A CD is not going to have more than 15-20 songs, now if I were to download a torrent, lets say I type in "scorpions" or "morzart" I can download their entire collection for nothing...

E books are there too, but then there are many(like me) who don't like them..

Tisai said...

I also think along the same lines of the previous comment by SG. Piracy like "Thiruttu VCD" can only be abolished when there is a strict enforcement by the law authorities combined with individual mindset change that can acknowledge the amount of effort that the actors/singers/producers put to bring a movie or album. NetFlix / BlockBuster kind of movie streaming at a budget price might help reducing piracy. I am sure we will catch up infrastructure vice in few years from now.

All the best with your album efforts.

scribblefEzra said...

and mam in terms of tackling piracy,which is a challengin task in this robust techie world.and ur ideaof hirin pirates sound a good and best one...bcoz like a tamil sayin "vallavanuku vallavan vaiyagathil undu"..whatever superior technology u find out to tackle piracy ,it'll soon be flawed by another technology,it's better to reach out to the master-minds of this thingie and bring a transformation ...Good Job ahead..Kudos..Good luck...

Unknown said...

Piracy cannot be eliminated, but can be definitely be reduced. Just campaigns would help! CD prices are getting cheaper these days and people are actually buying. It will get better.

Legal downloads where you can download songs and not an entire album helps as well!

Add 'awareness' to all these and hoping things will be better when it comes to Piracy!


Anonymous said...

They air the songs...and also do a countdown/rank of locally-made songs (aka non-film songs) in Malaysia's Tamil FM stn - i.e. THR Raaga. cool rite!


LOGIC said...

The concept of copyright and exlusive access *still* remains flawed and is diametrically opposite of the way computers function. --> Watch this movie to get more insight on copyright / piracy / role of computers etc. Since you termed it as "publish", i would say compose, release the music under creative commons license on a website and add a "Applaud" badge through which people can contribute to the creator of the music monetarily. Better business models have to evolve to keep the entertainment industry. Adding a creative commons license frees its from traditional copyright and hence promotes the human tendency of sharing and stops piracy.

SM said...

Well people who download songs won't buy it anyway if there was no choice to download them.Real fans always buy it even if they can download it for free.If people love it they will buy it no matter what
and i really like Matt and Kim
They offer songs for download in their site at no cost and i would buy their albums coz i love their work.Maybe we need to look at things at a different perspective.

SM said...

And the i think that print industry is not long off from being affected by piracy.With ebooks available for download and technology like ebook reader its just a matter of time.

Actor Blog said...

Good Post

Yogesh said...


Being a techie, there are ways to curb audio piracy which neither the big player like Sony nor the producers like to encourage as it would cut down on their margins.

Do you know that people inside the industry want to promote the illegal stuff so as to be numero uno in chart ratings.

We are in experimental mode and need bold decisions to come out from the producers like Moser Baer who boldly came out to give you a film DVD at Rs.99/- within months of release. Hindi industry is trying parallel releases of movies in DVD to cash in on the profits and abolish these pirated downloads.

The MP3 generation has given away to Cassettes & CD's and we are still in this age. Majority of people has an IPOD/MP3 player which needs new songs to be fuelled frequently and Cassettes / CD's doesn't give them the reach. End of the day, a genuine person falls for the illegal MP3 download. Why couldn't the producers come out with something unique, like the NOKIA CONNECTIONS thing. Five MP3 songs composed by AR RAHMAN were preloaded in their Xpress Music phones for about 6 months which saw brisk sales in those phones. Also, fuelling this was a music video of the title song.

One such instance isn't good. We need more participation from the film fraternity and just creating laws and enforcement wouldn't do anything away with.

Sathish Mayil said...

1. We cannot compare print industry with Music industry regd Piracy (And a lot of people have elaborated on that). One thing which can help in reduce help piracy is giving Songs on a quality bit rate in some India based music franchise at a considerable rate. In stores like itunes, it costs 99 cents, roughly 50 rupees for a song which is extremely high. We need good sense in setting up the rates which will make people come to the site. With the advent of mp3 devices we can certainly feel the difference between a song at 128 kbps and 256 kbps, hence higher the bit rates better it is for the digitized music of today. (Yeah somebody might hack it up and put it for free, but this is worth trying it.)

Considering the market which lies out there, I believe giving the songs at a cheaper rate would bring in more revenue instead of fewer downloads at a higher price. I believe a larger market always helps than a small elite segment.

2. Regarding albums, the main reason for them not getting popular is poor exposure by TV and radio. Many films songs become a hit even before we see them once; hence I won't accept the fact that the popularity of the on screen star is a factor for the song to become a hit. But certainly visuals are an important factor. Believe the most challenging task would be if people want to make some big bucks. The piracy won't allow it, but if produced economically scale and intelligent marketing can help break even. But if FMs and TV come forward, we certainly have a big market for them.

Venkat said...

Print industry doesnt get afftected by piracy as much as movies and sogs do?

- I now know that,u have never been any where near Madras central station / Moore market area.