New Delhi, Indian filmmakers are now looking at the digital medium to make up for losses due to music piracy. Actor Aamir Khan and singer Lucky Ali were among those who tried to catch up with the new media in 2009.
Music launches traditionally give way to the release of cassettes and CDs of an album, but today filmmakers and artists are depending on the digital medium. In 2009, two films – “Blue” and “3 Idiots” – released their music on the digital format.
While the music of underwater thriller “Blue” was launched through micro chips and pen drives, Aamir decided to float the music of his forthcoming film “3 Idiots” on the internet.
“Music is being consumed more and more by youngsters and the medium they usually prefer is digital and online. Those who were using cassettes are moving to CDs, those using CDs are moving to pen drives and downloads,” Bhushan Kumar, MD of T-Series, told IANS.
“The mode of consumption has been changing over a period of time and as a new age company, one of our tasks is to identify new trends and consumption patterns,” he added.
Mobile and digital entertainment company Hungama Digital Media digitally distributed and promoted the music for “Blue” with T-Series making the movie’s music available on pen drives and micro chips. A.R. Rahman had composed the music for the Akshay Kumar-Sanjay Dutt-Lara Dutta-Zayed Khan-starrer.
Aamir, who is part of “3 Idiots”, was instrumental in organising the online release of its music.
“The film revolves around youngsters and thus our target audience is people from that age group. Since young guys and girls today are hooked to the internet, we thought it makes sense to release our music there,” Aamir told IANS.
The size of the music industry came down from an estimated Rs.8.3 billion in 2005 to Rs.7.3 billion in 2008, to a great extent due to piracy. But new technology seems to have come to its rescue.
According to Rajeeta Hemwani, vice president (content) of Universal Music, the trend of digital release of music is not likely to fade out.
“Records gave way to cassettes which in turn gave way to CDs. In due course, CDs would take a backseat. The new medium of sales (digital) will take over. The process, like you can see, has already begun,” she said.
The digital trend is also spreading its wings to the non-film music segment. Recently singer Lucky Ali refrained from indulging in physical distribution of the music of his new album “Xsuie” – he released it online.
Ali said: “Things are changing and trends are altering. People are more digitally literate now. As it is when you put out your music digitally, the quality of sound is high. But when you put it on a CD, the sound starts deteriorating. I didn’t want that to happen.
The songs of his new album have been made available on sites like www.nimbit.com/luckyali and www.bluefrogsounds.com.
Even film production companies have taken the plunge. Yash Raj Films’ official website offers digital downloads of audio tracks of their films and uses the Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology that enables content providers to own copyrighted material in a digital format and use it on the basis of the licence rights given.
Down south too, music makers are trying to use the new medium. The audio of “Thiru Thiru Thuru Thuru” was made in digital format and Tamil thespian Kamal Haasan was delighted with the fact that the southern film industry finally accepted new technology.
“I am so happy that (director) Nandini has done a fantabulous job. Satyam Cinemas and Real Image have elevated the standard of Tamil cinema by making this film in digital format. This is picture perfect for future cinema,” said Kamal Wednesday.
“There were more groups opposing satellite channels and films in video cassette format when they entered our society. I was standing alone in welcoming the technical advancement in the entertainment world. Now everyone has accepted the new technology. I am sure no one can stop the growth of electronic and digital media,” Haasan said.