BCR News (Ajay Shastri/New Delhi): The Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS) is the only government authorized body in the country to administer rights, issue licenses and collect royalties for authors, music composers and music publishers. Founded in 1969, it has over 4,000, members across the country and represents also the world’s music repertoire. It was recently granted re-registration under the amended Copyright Act. The Society with Registered Office at Mumbai also has administrative offices in 12 cites across India.
Last week members of the IPRS’ Governing Council held discussions in Chennai with over a hundred of its members from the South, including stalwarts such as Illayaraja, A. R. Rahman and Vidyasagar. As part of its plan to increase members’ involvement in the governance of the Society and to achieve greater market efficiency, IPRS is setting up Regional Committees whose task will be to advise the Governing Council on industry matters and relay IPRS policies to the regional members and authorities in coordination with its local administrative offices. The first Regional Committee was set up last week in Chennai. IPRS is now urging members in other States to join hands and set up similar Committees to help drive the music industry to greater heights.
Commenting on this development, Javed Akhtar, Chairman of the IPRS said, “IPRS is like a cooperative: it exists by and for its members. We have carefully assessed the situation, analyzed all the challenges faced by the Society and decided on a development plan. Our first step is to effectively localise and bring greater regional involvement in the Society’s operations. We started with South India, which is the country’s largest music producer and music exporter, with internationally acclaimed legends such as Illyaraja and A. R. Rahman. In the coming months, we will expand this regional drive so as to cover all the main music production centers this year itself.”
After meeting and discussing industry issues with the representatives from the Tamil music industry, music composer Aashish Rego said,“Meeting all these illustrious composers, lyricists and music publishers was a highly emotional moment for me. We have pledged to increase our local office staff at these places to speed up the licensing process and increase the royalty collection. We trust that these measures will substantially boost our members’ income.”
Addressing the concerns of the artists, composer Raju Singh said, “Lyricists and composers who don’t sing are the most fragile members of the music industry: they don’t get concert fees but depend to a great extent on the royalties collected by IPRS when their music is used here or anywhere in the world. It is of utmost importance that the voices of individual creators, wherever they may work, are heard and taken into consideration; it gives us hope that the Society is on the right track and that we will be fairly remunerated whenever our music is used – which has not been the case till today.”
Mandar Thakur, COO of Times Music, further added, “The economic contribution and the international influence of the South Indian music industry is second to none and is even greater than Bollywood in several parts of the world, particularly in South-East Asia, the Far East and some European countries. But until now we have somehow not been able to properly monetize our assets. I warmly welcome this healing step of IPRS: it goes to show that the new management is inclusive and means business.”
Lyricist Sahithi G also said, “I am very pleased that the first step taken by the new IPRS is to move away from its former Mumbai and Bollywood-centric attitude by acknowledging the importance of other music productions centers and by involving every member instead of having just two representatives from the South on the Governing Council.”