Will leverage opportunities in digital ecosystem: President & CEO- Indian Music Industry

Blaise Fernandes on how IMI plans to sustain the recent revenue growth of music streaming services and their game-plan to eradicate piracy in a multi-prolonged manner

e4m by Misbaah Mansuri
Updated: May 7, 2018 8:55 AM

According to recent data from IFPI, a not-for-profit international organisation, the total music industry revenues in India grew from Rs 570.7 crore in 2016 to Rs 725.6 crore in 2017. This increase in revenue by Rs 154.9 crore is the largest since 2011. On this front, Blaise Fernandes, President & CEO- Indian Music Industry chatted with exchange4media on how IMI plans to sustain this growth of music streaming services and their game-plan to take on piracy in a multi-prolonged manner.

Edited excerpts:

What according to you are the key reasons for the recent increase in revenues from music streaming?

Cheap data and smart phone penetration are the base. The latest figures by TRAI released as on February 2018 end show over 981 million active wireless subscribers in India. But the recording industry has also geared up for the streaming era through innovation, high quality back-end work, development of local artistes, as well a tenacious approach in marketing and music delivery to fans across the country. You can build a Formula 1 car but without high octane fuel, it will not run; great content and vast catalogues are the heady mix that creates the high-octane fuel.

Tell us about IMI's plans to sustain this growth of music streaming services.

The revenues from music streaming grew at a rate of 37.26% and digital music now captures 91% of the revenue pie. IMI members are undertaking several initiatives to sustain the growth of music streaming revenues including laying the ground work for a subscription eco-system. IMI members work with the streaming service providers to steer the consumer towards an affordable subscription plan to deliver unlimited high-quality content. The subscription-based ecosystem offers features a fully interactive service with on-demand search and stream facilities, availability of off line cache and play, unlimited number of skips, advertisement-free and 320 KBPS high-quality audio.

With music streaming being the lion's share of music sales, what about piracy? What is the extent of music piracy in India? How does IMI approach and deal with it in a multi-pronged manner?

An IFPI – IMI – IPSOS study conducted last year found that while the surveyed consumers spent over 23 hours per week listening to music, which is the second highest in the world, 94% of these users admitted to using some form of pirated music. That’s an area of concern as this has a multiplier effect, loss of revenues to the music labels, rights holders and the exchequer. There is no quick fix solution. IMI is working with the central and state governments, and welcomes the proactive stance taken by the DIPP with their initiative of launching CIPAM. DIPP – CIPAM are conducting a number of exercises ranging from copyright workshops and seminars for law enforcers to outreach programs at schools and colleges educating students and making them aware about the ills of piracy. State governments are also working on programs to curb internet piracy, for example Maharashtra government's Digital Crime Unit is working on a few initiatives with the stakeholders.

What are IMI's other focus areas for 2018?

Plans for the fiscal year include working with members - the majors and mini labels - to:



  • Leverage opportunities in the digital ecosystem



  • Work with CIPAM and state govt. agencies on steps to further eradicate piracy
  • Organize regular workshops to keep members, especially the smaller and regional labels, abreast of global trends and best practices
  • Work with the Central and State governments on Anti-Piracy.
  • Have the launch of The IMI Music Charts by the end of the calendar year
  • Formation and consolidation of the regional chapters to address each region's unique challenges

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