A movie’s music track being its first element to engage with the audience, music releases have now gained importance like never before. While production houses go all out across mediums to create a multiple touch point base, radio and digital dominate the charts owing to the high consumption of audio content through both the mediums.
In spite of its increasing clout and easy accessibility, digital seems to be one step behind in grabbing the music release pie as compared to radio. Unlike digital, radio is not used only for laying grounds of the movie and promoting content, but also for exclusively breaking music.
One may recall actor Ajay Devgn addressing the audience every time before his movie ‘Himmatwala’s tracks were played. Right from audio release to exclusive song play to star interviews – film music is promoted on radio rigorously almost till the release date of the movie.
Radio + audio release = A profitable transaction
Nothing matters when a business transaction generates worthwhile returns. Music release on radio suits the revenue needs of the production houses and radio stations.
“Production houses sell music rights much in advance of the film’s release. Thus, exclusive music release on radio can imply a separate source of income to them,” said Anindya Ray, Vice President, Lodestar UM. Music rights are usually given to various distribution channels and thus, a separate exclusive right to radio could translate into RoI.
Radio stations and production houses also seem to be in sync in terms of a business model. While most of the radio stations refuse to shed light on the business model, industry sources share that a production house and a radio station usually have a barter system in place.
For instance, a radio station will pay royalty for a new track and will play it approximately six times day. However, according to the business deal, the radio station will acquire exclusive rights of the tracks, pay its royalty and play it approximately 15 times a day in return for indirect marketing profits. Radio stations can use the star cast of the movie for other marketing activities of the station. The exclusive rights are given only on for a period between seven and 10 days.
While there might not be direct RoI, radio stations and production houses can acquire wired benefits. Also, production houses get to organise an audio release at low cost and radio stations receive marketing benefits and exclusive music rights with the only cost incurred being of the music royalty.
‘Aashiqui 2’, ‘Shootout at Wadala’, ‘Gippi’, ‘Go Goa Gone’ and ‘Ek Thi Dayan’ are some films that were released back to back. In such situations, the longevity of films has reduced to a mere two weeks. Thus, releasing music on radio helps movies create ground for pre-movie release and do a follow up act (in terms of how much are users still hooked to the movie tracks) post the movie’s release.
Radio stations also gain strength in terms of content from such on air music releases. “Releasing the music of a new movie enables the radio station to become the window which provides access to listeners and exposes them to new music,” said Ashwin Padmanabhan, Business Head, Big FM.
Music releases also give radio stations an opportunity to introduce fresh content within the common followed mass formats. Ashit Kukian, President and COO, Radio City explained that RJs weave life into the content to make it different for listeners. “Our RJs interact with the star cast and give away exciting trivia about the movie and the music to our listeners.” This gives listeners the opportunity to tune in to a treasure trove, complete with new songs, celebrity interviews and interesting stories.
Radio has now become the main vehicle for audio releases, explained Tapas Sen, Chief Programming Officer, Radio Mirchi. Sen explains that television no longer caters to the music component like before and that digital is a sub set of radio, thus giving radio a huge advantage in terms of listenership, content and coverage.
Music is no longer a mere movie track that listeners consume while it is played on ‘Binaca Geet Mala’. Movie songs have now transformed into an active marketing element, whose success or failure can impact the performance of the film on the big screen.