For singers, a happy tune during tough times

Singer Devanand will soon receive a payment of ₹6,000 from the Indian Singers’ Rights Association (ISRA). The amount may not be much, but it is significant – because it is the first ever he is getting as royalty.

“It feels nice that I have become eligible for getting royalty for the songs I have sung,” says Devanand, the singer of popular songs like Karimizhi kuruviye... (Meesha Madhavan). “It is a promising beginning and I hope it could become one of the sources of income in the future for singers like me.”

Like him, it is for the first time that the majority of the Malayalam playback singers are getting royalty. It was only in 2012 that the singers became eligible for royalty. Till then, only the composer and the lyricist used to get it.

ISRA members

“Singers like K.J Yesudas and K.S. Chithra had become members of the ISRA earlier so they have been paid from 2017 onwards,” says Sanjay Tandon, CEO, ISRA. “This time around, some 60 singers from Kerala will benefit for the first time.”

He adds it is only the beginning. “The amount will increase greatly once radio stations, television channels and OTT platforms begin to pay royalty to the singers,” he says. “Our lawyers are negotiating with them, but it may take some time.”

Seasoned playback singer G. Venugopal says he is glad that the money is being released during the tough times of COVID-19. “Our singers have been making this demand from the onset of the pandemic, and it is good to know that ISRA has decided to distribute it now,” he says.

“Of course, there is much more to be done to make the people concerned – radio stations, television channels, OTT platforms – pay us what is due to us,” he adds.

Making them pay

Mr. Tandon says at the moment only a few sectors, such as hotels and restaurants, are paying royalty to singers. “That too, mostly in places like Mumbai and Delhi,” he says. “Hotels in Kerala and other parts of South India are not willing to pay, even if we are asking them for the lowest charged item on the menu or ₹2.15 per room, on yearly basis.”

He says the ISRA is paying ₹6000 each to all its 702 members from the ₹40 lakhs it collected. “Every member is eligible for this amount, it used to be ₹3,225 in 2017,” he says. “Besides, singers are also paid directly for their logged songs, which are played in events like the Indian Premier League cricket tournament.”

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 6:15:28 PM |

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