Zee is all set to take on T-Series with its own music label

Mar 15, 2014, 09:30 IST | Gaurav Dubey

With another big player joining the fray, is T-Series’ monopoly in danger now? More importantly, will the royalty issue finally be resolved?

Reams have already been devoted to covering the royalty issue between music company T-Series and a bevy of singers and music composers. Recent instances include the much-publicised controversy that broke out when actor-turned-producer Abhay Deol decided to take on T-Series by supporting the rights of the music director trio, Shankar Ehsaan and Loy. 

Sonu Nigam and (right) Sunidhi Chauhan were shown the door upon demanding royalty; their songs were then re-recorded with other singers

Similarly, Sonu Nigam and Sunidhi Chauhan were shown the door upon demanding royalty; their songs were then re-recorded with other singers. For quite some time now, the industry seems to have been unable to resolve this conflict.
But it looks like a solution is not so far away. If sources are to be believed, Zee is all set to take on T-Series with its own music label. What’s more, this label is apparently pro musicians and is considering giving them royalty.

Lyricist Sameer 

Says a source, “The chairman of Essel Group, Subhash Chandra, called for a meeting with the industry’s top music directors, lyricists and producers where they were informed about Zee’s music label. He stressed on the fact that the company will seriously consider the amended copyright clause that deals with paying royalty to music composers and lyricists.”

Singer Kailash Kher

This secret meeting is said to have included director Vikramaditya Motwane, filmmaker Vipul Shah, actor-filmmaker Arbaaz Khan and some leading music directors from the industry. When informed about this, Bhushan Kumar of T-Series said, “Music is a big market and recently it has incurred us losses, so we have now diversified into film production. Besides, we have always welcomed healthy competition from big names.”

Kailash Kher is happy with this development. He says, “Some people are not ready to give singers their due but there are a few good people in the industry who follow the rules. We respect Zee’s ideology.”

Essel Group chairman Subhash Chandra and Music director Ehsaan Noorani

Sonu Nigam, who has been fighting the royalty battle for a long time now, sounds relieved. He says, “For a musician like me, who is loved and appreciated by people, it is difficult to accept a scenario where an autocratic, unrepentant set of people snatch away my songs and make others sing them. So this news is a breath of fresh air.”

The new music label has apparently acquired music rights of a few films and this list could include Shah Rukh Khan starrer Happy New Year, Akshay Kumar starrer Holiday, and a film being made by Vashu Bhagnani.

Lyricist Sameer, who was present at the meeting, says, “Zee is reviving its music label and this is great for us, because they have promised to follow the new copyright law which will give singers royalty and performance rights.”

Bhushan Kumar, chairman, T-Series

Music composer Ehsaan Noorani, who also attended the meeting, points out that healthy completion is always welcome. “It’s good to have more music companies distributing and acquiring music. Copyright laws apply to everyone, but their implementation by record companies is taking a long time. A lot of administration and monitoring work needs to be done for it to be smoothly executed.”

Punit Goenka, CEO of Zee Entertainment, remained unavailable for comment. Anurag Bedi, business head, Zee Entertainment, said, “When the time is right, we will surely comment on this.”

(With inputs by Bharati Dubey)

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