Home / Industry / Media /  Music labels focus on acquiring regional film soundtracks

NEW DELHHI: Music labels, that earlier primarily looked at Bollywood film music, are now focusing on buying rights to regional movie soundtracks, across languages such as Tamil, Telugu, Punjabi, Bengali and Gujarati. While Saregama will release Chiranjeevi’s Godfather and Nivin Pauly’s Padavettu, Tips has co-produced Punjabi film Moh that released on 16 September. T-Series will also own the music rights to the multilingual film Adipurush that it is producing. Music firms are queueing up to purchase regional music rights as vernacular cinema gains wider acceptance. Additionally, singers and their independent music are also popular on audio streaming sites.

“India is a country of multiple languages, and any leading entertainment company has to cater to all of these. The population speaking any regional language in India will be more than that of a European country. With digitisation reaching deeper corners of the country, it is now equally feasible and commercially viable for content of all languages to reach their target segment," said Rashna Pochkanawala, executive vice-president, music, Saregama India Pvt. Ltd.

The label is investing heavily in Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu films, Pochkanawala added, including Oye Makhna with Ammy Virk, Shinda Shinda No Papa with Gippy Grewal, God Father with Chiranjeevi, Ravanasura featuring Ravi Teja, Naane Varuven and Captain Miller with Dhanush, Valli Mayil with Vijay Antony, Ayisha with Manju Warrier and Padavettu with Nivin Pauly.

Deepti Gupta, chief executive officer of music label Treasure Records said languages like Bengali, Marathi, Odia, Punjabi, Gujarati, Bhojpuri, Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu account for 5% each of the total catalogue of music labels now. “Punjabi is more in the focus when it comes to soundtrack acquisition since it seems to work from an entertainment perspective, at parties or festivals," Gupta said. Daboo Malik, director at MWM Entertainment, an artiste-first music label said languages like Telugu and Tamil are increasingly finding universal appeal especially among younger audiences across the globe. The company plans to go aggressive on independent soundtracks by Malik’s singer son Armaan Malik across southern languages.

To be sure, regional cinema and private albums are popular on social media and short video apps. South Indian films and their music have made a smooth transition to the national market starting with the Baahubali film franchise followed by more recent films like KGF: Chapter 2, Pushpa, and RRR, said Mousumi Mishra, associate director, music partnerships at short video app Moj. Regional music catalogues have increased from 28% to 35% in the last two years on the platform and regional songs have expanded their presence to gain a pan-India market, she said.

“With an increase in regional language OTT streaming across all platforms, labels are focusing on expanding their audience in new states and catering to what the audience requires. As most southern movies now release across the country, the path to success is already looking easier, and return on investment is high. Since short video platforms are seeing high traction for south music, Bollywood music labels are also now focusing on acquiring more southern content," Mishra said.

Over the past few months, Telugu track Bullet Song, from the movie The Warrior, gained high traction on Moj, receiving nearly 17 billion plays while another Telugu song Oo Antava Mava from Allu Arjun’s Puspha - The Rise: Part One also grabbed eyeballs with the hashtag #OoAntaavaMawa witnessing 664 million views on Moj. While possibly not at par with south Indian songs, music from other regional languages like Bhojpuri (#lendenkechakkarme – 11 billion views) and Punjabi (#panidigal – 615 million views) have also found draw on the platform.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lata Jha

Lata Jha covers media and entertainment for Mint. She focuses on the film, television, video and audio streaming businesses. She is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism. She can be found at the movies, when not writing about them.
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