It’s time for the Indian Music Industry (IMI) to croon a melody of hope and happiness. In a refreshed attempt to reconcile its position in the industry, the financially beleaguered consortium of 50 music companies, has sought for a shelter in the leadership of Vijay Lazarus, who is famed for his contribution in the Indian music industry achieving global recognition. Lazarus’ appointment as the full-time President of IMI comes as a shot in the arm for the organisation in its battle against rampant piracy.
In his current capacity, Lazarus will serve a dual responsibility – as the full time President of the Indian Music Industry (IMI) and also as the President of the Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL – the exclusive Copyright Society of the recording industry), informed an official communiqué. Lazarus has been the President and Managing Director of Universal Music India Ltd, (formerly Polydor, Music India, Polygram). Recently, he took over as the Chairman of the company. Lazarus has been actively involved with the IMI and PPL for several years. He also represents India on the Asia Pacific Board of the International Federation of Phonographic Industry (IFPI - the World Music body). Besides being a key advisor to the Government of India for the entertainment industry, he is a member of the recently formed National Task Force for the protection of Intellectual Property Rights.
On the role IMI has been playing, Lazarus was quoted as saying, "The Indian music industry has been going through a very tough phase due to rampant piracy, but IMI's relentless efforts have paid off and our cause has generated momentum over the years. At IMI, we believe that the Indian music industry has immense growth potential to sustain not only the music companies and the artistes, but also play a part in the development of the economy.”
Lazarus takes over the charge of the syndicate at a time when it is laid under a mammoth Rs 1,800-crore loss incurred over a period of three years. Despite being the fifth largest consumer of music units in the world, the industry slogs way behind at the 18th spot in terms of music value on account of piracy-hit plummeting sales figure. “The music industry in the US contributes about five per cent to its GDP annually. We believe that with sustained efforts at curbing piracy and reformed laws and policies, we can turn around this depleting state and revive the rich cultural heritage of Indian music that we almost lost to piracy. I am confident that we can not only better the US average by contributing effectively to the growth of the country, but also take Indian music and its artistes to greater echelons around the globe," the release quoted Lazarus.
Under the new leadership, IMI has geared up to fight several issues that have been plaguing the industry over the years. Alongside the lethal impact of unabated music piracy, comes the pressure of high rate of taxes and, the new-age threats like online downloads and competing forms of entertainment such as FM radio, multiple music television channels, video games and DVDs.
In its anti-piracy mission, IMI is aiming to adopt new legal initiatives and enforcement actions besides enhancing the non-physical format revenues. The organisation is seeking strategic government intervention in amending the copyright act and appealing for exemptions and relief from levies.
In its mission to eradicate the menace of piracy from the face of the Indian music industry, IMI enjoys support from its affiliate members like Saregama, Universal Music, Tips, Venus, BMG Crescendo, Sangeetha, Sony Music, Virgin, Aditya Music and many other of national and international repute.