Friday Review » Music

Updated: July 17, 2013 12:14 IST

G.V. Prakash exposes rip-off by audio firms

  • Karthik Subramanian
Comment (10)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
G.V. Prakash
G.V. Prakash

An angry sequence of tweets by young and popular music director G.V. Prakash on dominant music labels ripping off music directors and lyricists by forcing them to sign contracts surrendering future royalties on the music score for movies has found traction among leading artists in the Tamil film industry.

The young music director, whose songs for the upcoming Vijay-starrer Thalaivaa has become a chart-topper in recent weeks, tweeted on Monday on his Twitter account (@gvprakash): “Some audio companies are stealing from composers, lyricists and making them sign fake agreements! Not fair!” and “Royalty is the basic right of the creator and it stays with him or her. Trying to steal that from them is cheap!”

Prakash found backers in popular lyricist Madhan Karky and music director Vijay Antony, among others, and by Tuesday afternoon most of the Tamil film industry seemed to agree with him.

“The problems have started increasing after the Copyrights (Amendment) Act, 2012 came into effect,” says upcoming lyricist Madhan Karky. “No one has been quite able to wrap their heads around what the amendments mean. Whereas we thought the royalty earnings would increase, pressure is being exerted to sign agreements where our salaries are being broken down into two parts as service charge and ‘advance royalty’.”

The issue has come up exactly a year after the amendment to the Copyrights Act was hailed by the likes of veteran lyricist Javed Akthar as a boon to Indian artists, as it conferred lifelong royalty to music directors, performers and lyricists.

What seems to be irking music directors and lyricists alike is the lack of revenue as royalties from new streams such as mobile ring tones, online song downloads and the revenue turnover from online media such as YouTube. “I pay Rs.45 a month to listen to my own songs as a ringtone,” says lyricist Thamarai.

Do you think creators, such as composers, lyricists and singers are entitled to receive a share of the royalty?
Yes. It’s their right.
No. They get paid for their work, right?
It’s purely an one-on-one issue between a label and a creator.

New streams of revenue out of boundsJuly 17, 2013

I am from Europe. In the places I live and work, street performers playing their classical music. Almost, 3/4'th of the music ring the tamil songs. I can't believe folk songs and classics of Europe have copied from Chennai, because this music is the legacy of the villages of European countries. I thank the Tamil music directors to help us listen to Spanish folk song in tamil. But please tell me, did you pay royalty to the governments of Europe? Do they know that you have copied them? Have you had the guts to tell us the origin of the tune? So, who has copied? Who should own the copyright?

from:  Rajesh
Posted on: Jul 17, 2013 at 17:54 IST

The royalty issues faced by the artists are mainy due to the lack of
business innovation from these music / production companies. Its high
time these companies explore the possibilities of all the untapped
revenue streams and keep the share the royalty with the creators.

from:  Muthu
Posted on: Jul 17, 2013 at 14:59 IST

While it is encouraging to note that GV Prakash and other young music directors are standing up for their rights, there is also a question of whether people like GV Prakash have the moral rights to question.

GV Prakash copies blatantly. Even the most famous songs of GV like "Yathe Yathe" (Adukalam) is copied (Susheela Raman's Bolo Bolo). Most of his background scores are copied from popular Hollywood scores, like Godfather (for Adukalam), Robinhood (for Deivathirumagal) and several films scores and game scores including American Beauty, Excorcist and Grand Theft auto game for Mayakkam enna!

I seriously wish the producers and music labels ask GV to pay penalty for all the stealing he has done and put the producers/labels in the risk of getting sued!

from:  Narain
Posted on: Jul 17, 2013 at 13:44 IST

Its not very shocking that New Tamil MP3 songs are available on net on the day when new movies are released, when new illegal movie CD's are easily available in CD shops. Police people conduct raids on few of these shops but not on all.
The producers take a lot of effort to make a film and if it is available on DVD's the next day, the efforts becomes useless. The same theory applies for a musician also. In this electronic era it is very difficult to keep the copyright of any substance intact.

from:  Rajkumar M
Posted on: Jul 17, 2013 at 12:28 IST

Songs are illegally shared as MP3s all over the internet right on
the same day of audio launch. Veteran musicians put in their hard
work to create such symphonic master pieces for Tamil Cinema and
producers spend a lot to support such creative music to be composed
for the listeners. Whereas the listeners just illegally download
free MP3s ditching the music directors and producers altogether...
very sad state of affairs indeed. What morality have we learnt by
listening to uplifting music for these many years?

from:  Mani Selvaraj
Posted on: Jul 17, 2013 at 10:25 IST

Royality should go to creator of the subject; Fine, how many music directors mentioned in this news articles do create original song? Most of their songs Raga & Tune are copied from Western/Arabian/Tribes album. Be careful, when someone start on this topic.

from:  Srinivas
Posted on: Jul 17, 2013 at 10:02 IST

Is there any segment in India where everything happens legally? This Copyright Act amendment was a protection for the creator-musician. But now it seems that the audio disc companies have found out a novel way to bypass this too...

from:  Hari Radhakrishnan Kurup
Posted on: Jul 17, 2013 at 09:58 IST

The film industry is dominant by a few biggies and the level of sycophancy prevails it would be difficult for a few to stand up
and rise. A change would be there. It is only a beginning.
Let us hope for the best and at least new generation knows what
one wants!

from:  C Deekshitulu
Posted on: Jul 17, 2013 at 09:57 IST

Audio companies only facilitate reaching audio CDs to the customers.
But other than that, they are no way part of the entire process. Be it
composition, mixing, studio arrangements, etc. No song can be marketed
unless they have the novelty which is given by composers and lyricsts.
Hence no body has the right to ask for loyalities. Not even actors.
There are many songs of Ilayaraja which people don't who acted in it..
For e.g Malayirom Mayile (Prabhu), Naan Thaedum Sevandhi Poovidhu
(Karthick), Poove Sempoove (Radha Ravi), Thalaiyai Kuniyum Thamaraiye
(Raghuvaran), ..

from:  Rajesh
Posted on: Jul 17, 2013 at 08:45 IST

This is the usual case when you associate yourself with companies/corporates, who pays you money to own your work. Same is the case even with every employee working in companies. Companies pay them salary and owns all the creative work that employees do. If you want to own your work, you need to have your own setup/company. On the other hand, companies give you a easy way to make your work part of a big thing and so make it more useful and popular. But I guess top music directors having bigger image would like to own their work. Same is the case with top creative employees in companies who hate to work in companies and would ideally like to have start-ups of their own.

from:  labki
Posted on: Jul 17, 2013 at 08:29 IST
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