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Business News/ Industry / Media/  Saregama bets big on live musicals, tours

NEW DELHI : Following the release of Disco Dancer-The Musical on 14 April, music label Saregama is betting big on live shows and concerts to improve the monetization opportunities for of its owned intellectual properties (IPs).

Saregama, which has a vast library of Hindi original songs is planning more live musical shows based on these soundtracks and by acquiring rights of the movies these songs were featured in, to draw up story lines for the shows.

After premiering at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London in 2022, Disco Dancer, the show based on the 1980s hit featuring Mithun Chakraborty,was launched last week in Mumbai. Going forward, Saregama is looking to adapt other Bollywood hits on stage, and organize concerts and tours with artistes, besides ramping up its Hindi and regional film soundtrack acquisitions.

It said digital revenues will improve as consumers learn to pay for music in the years to come. The company is also planning new versions of Carvaan, the wireless speakers.

“The idea of Saregama Live was born from the idea that music does not just have to be heard, but also entertain people in other ways. We will continue looking at other big films whose music rights are with us and procure the rights of the film and convert into a musical play, and monetize the IP in another format," said Vikram Mehra, managing director, Saregama India Ltd. It is also looking to adapt the 1980s hit Karz, he added.

Other than premiering in different parts of India, these broadway-style musical shows will also be taken to countries with a sizeable Indian diaspora such as the US, Dubai and Australia. Mehra said the company will be using Carvaan’s user base to the spread word about the live shows, and brand them as Carvaan Live to tap into the power of nostalgia marketing.

Saregama’s tour with Diljit Dosanjh to Canada and the US last year was a success. Going forward, out-of-home entertainment will supplement digital and physical revenue sources that it hopes to build on.

Mehra said the Indian music industry is witnessing growth despite the waning effects of covid-led stay-at-home. “The time people were spending at home listening to music, may have gone down. But the good thing is many who were sceptical of trying digital avenues of music, were exposed to it and that’s not going away. 2023 is the year when streaming platforms will start moving from an advertising-based to a subscription-based economy."

After selling 3 million units of Carvaan, the firm said there is a large market to tap into in India provided music products are packaged and priced right. The product has seen success with Carvaan Mini Kids, Carvaan Bhagavad Gita and Carvaan Mobile, and is working on more variants to cater to niche audience segments.

Going forward, Saregama will focus on the Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam movie industry and explore Kannada and Bengali films.

It has also signed singer Arijit Singh for launching individual tracks in Hindi and Bengali.

The company has Karan Johar’s Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahaani, Ajay Devgn’s Maidaan, Vicky Kaushal and Sara Ali Khan-starrer Zara Hat Ke Zara Bach Ke, and other productions with Johar and Ronnie Screwvala lined up over the coming months. In the south, the company is collaborating on projects with Suriya, Mammootty and Mohanlal. 

“We’re also looking at doing a lot of non-film songs in Bhojpuri and Gujarati and exploring Marathi and Bengali besides Hindi too," Mehra said. 

On the film side, however, Yoodlee Films, the movie production arm of Saregama, is focusing solely on regional cinema, primarily Malayalam and Punjabi, but also Tamil and Telugu. “The learning is that we can make high-quality films in a definite time-frame. The next round of digital growth will all be coming from the smaller markets of the country which enjoys big Bollywood films, but also content in their own languages. That’s the segment we’re going after," Mehra said.

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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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Updated: 18 Apr 2023, 10:49 PM IST
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