Gone are the days of outlets, where people used to queue up. Music stores have been reducing their carpet area and some are shutting shop.
Any technology which creates opportunities for the industry may turn disruptive at times. There is a paradigm shift in media and entertainment industry due to digitisation. Many accolades for it, be it for cutting down production costs or for opening new distribution platforms.
On the flip side, digitisation in music industry has not only brought down the music sales but is also deteriorating the music quality.
Surprisingly, the MP3 song listener could only hear from 5 per cent of the data from what is recorded at the studio. Audio CDs are better to an extent, where listener would get 15 per cent of the data of what was recorded at the studio. But, the format of audio CDs may soon vanish from the industry after due to growing demand of MP3s in the form of legal and illegal downloads.
Gone are the days of physical music outlets, where people used to queue to buy CDs. Many music stores have been reducing their carpet area and some are closing their outlets. A true music listener is finding it hard to get his favourite audio CD from a nearby store.
Sadly, even record labels are also promoting MP3 CDs which can accommodate huge number of songs in a single CD, badly affecting the quality of music. Adding to this, there is also trend of online MP3 store and streaming music culture which would make quality music a distant dream for a listener.
“This disruptive trend is spread across different music industries. However, Bollywood or western music lover can get high resolution formats for popular music — DVD Audio, SACD and Vinyl. For a vernacular music lover, getting a high resolution audio is almost impossible as the record labels are not releasing music in any of these formats,” said G Bobby, CEO, The Audio People, Hyderabad.
“It is true that quality of music has fallen over years. There are very few genuine music lovers, who buy CDs from the stores. The audio sales are mostly driven by the star cast (hero) and sometimes a combination of a star with a composer. Around three years ago, record labels used to release three lakh copies (audio CDs) for a major star, which has now come to 15,000 copies. For small films, the numbers have fallen to 1,000 CDs, compared to 10,000 CDs three years ago. Unfortunately, the CD format is being eclipsed by MP3 and online music. At times, it is being difficult to sell 2,000 copies of a decent film audio.
“The mobile revenue, which takes 50 per cent of overall revenues in the form of caller tunes and ring tones also have fallen drastically by around 30 per cent over the last year with the aging of mobile caller tune technology. Earlier, there was a trend where people used to regularly change caller tunes or ring tones and showed their interest, but now the interest is withering with the time,” says Madhura Sreedhar, filmmaker and also a founder of leading record company, Madhura Audio.
He adds, “However, there is always life for quality and soulful music. A good song will bring lifelong returns for the record label in terms of mobile or radio broadcasting. Growing trend of music streaming will further add to it, where in the more number of times the song is streamed, the better the revenues are for the record company. Over time, the piracy will be eradicated and the trend on legal MP3 downloads from stores will see a huge growth. Any record company with huge catalogue will emerge as a winner in long run with this opportunity.”
The online sales have become a ray of hope for the industry to bounce back and make revenues. However, the online music trend is enabling a customer to get carried away with the comfort of downloading rather than buying quality music.
Return on investment from platforms
- Audio rights cost for a major star: Up to Rs.1 crore
- Audio CD sales: 10 per cent
- Mobile caller tunes and ring tones: 50 per cent
- Online streaming, YouTube, Radio: 10 percent
- Over the time from different platforms: 30 per cent