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Film Producer Abhay Deol Takes On Record Labels Over Music Contracts

Nikhil Pahwa & NT Balanarayan

Actor-turned-film-producer Abhay Deol has questioned the legal practices of music label T-Series, alleging that the songs of his movie are not being sold or his movie promoted, because artists do no agree to all the clauses put up by the recording company in their contract. This, he alleges, is against the law, and if producers get artists to sign the contract in that form, they would be breaking the law.

Readers should keep in mind that music is integral to the promotion of a film. Film producers license music out to a record label, which pays them in two ways – in part for the rights and in part for promoting the film.

ALSO READ: T-Series tells Abhay Deol that its contracts are not illegal

Labels with large catalogs like T-Series have deals with TV channels which give lower advertising rates for promoting films, in exchange for both money and access to music for shows. TV is essential for promotion of films, and without promotion, films tend to tank: a substantial amount of a films revenue – around 70% – comes in the first weekend itself.

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The Copyright law in India was changed recently, with the intent of providing musicians and songwriters revenue share for music sales.

Abhay Deol Beaten By T Series by lehren

Deol also turned up at an award show with a black eye apparently his way of saying “visually (and symbolically) that the film’s marketing has taken a hit.”

He wrote:

“Well the entire music fraternity is up in arms against the record labels because they expect musicians to sign a contract with a clause that is against the law. Producers like myself are expected to make sure that they sign. Which means if anyone is arrested for breaking the law it will be the producer!

I am also against the exploitation of artists. I believe in their rights and even if a musician was ready to sign it, I would advise him/her against it. As a result, I have no album in the market. In fact now, I wouldn’t be surprised if the music company pulls out my promos from the TV channels. I don’t have radio play anyway.

1517587_723357574349985_1626720403_nSo far, no producer or studio has taken on this record label. Me and Viacom have nothing more to lose, they have already killed any potential buzz the music could have created for the film had it been put up for sale weeks ago. At the moment I have the entire music fraternity behind me. Ram Sampat and Sona Mohapatra , Amit Trivedi, Vishal and Shekhar, Javed Akhtar and of course Shankar Ehsaan and Loy have all expressed their support.”

It needs to be noted that T-Series is the biggest music label in the country and it becomes very difficult for producers to disagree with their terms. So Viacom18’s decision to stick with Deol’s stance is out of the ordinary. Previously Sonu Nigam had announced his retirement from the industry following disagreement with the same label over the same clause that Deol is talking about now.

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Medianama take: If more producers decide to join Deol, we will see movie songs being distributed completely digitally and independently like the movie F.A.L.T.U did in 2011. Unlike three years back, the market has many options for studios who want to promote the songs on their own rather than depending on labels and TV channels, since YouTube and streaming sites combined provide enough reach, at least among an urban base. This would be the opportune moment for an entity like YouTube, as well as social networks like Twitter and Facebook, to contact producers like Deol, and help them promote the film.

And here’s what people think about this issue:



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