| 10 Dec 2023
Olds Still Gold in Music Industry

 The Om shanti Oms and the Saawariyas might be the rage of the moment, but if statistics are to be believed, Bollywood`s golden oldies continue to rule the roost.

On an average, 30 per cent of music sold at retail outlets by labels still belongs to the `old` genre, depending on how companies define the term.

Times Music CEO Adarsh Gupta says 30 per cent of the label`s music sold at all the retail outlets today is old Bollywood music. Saregama India`s catalogue music head Chandana Agrawal too avers that 40 per cent of the label`s sales come from old Bollywood.

Although it doesn`t have a huge repertoire of old Bollywood, 21 per cent of Big Music`s sales come from old Bollywood, says Big Music business head, A&R Rajeeta Hemwani.

On an average then, Rs 1.6 billion of the Rs 7.4 crore overall music market in India still comes from old Hindi film music.

How old?

The pertinent question is the definition of `old` according to the industry.Says Agrawal, "Typically in the industry, old music is defined as songs that are more than three years old. However, for purposes of sales, Old Hindi film music is referred to songs up to 1980."

Surveys however indicate that for a layman, old Hindi music is any music before the 1990s. Says homemaker and music buff Vrushali Gohil, "Depending on one`s age, people define `old.`

Like for instance, I term old to those songs belonging to the times when I was a youngster. But my kid calls songs from Dil To Pagal Hai also old."

Rajeeta Hemwani adds, "The definition of old is quite vague. It depends on how each person perceives it as. But generally when one says old, it means music before the 1990s."

According to Gupta, "Music that belongs to the previous catalog or from the previous financial year is classified as old music. For Times, around 45 per cent belongs to the old music category."

Top ten hot selling albums:1Silsila/ Kabhie kabhie2Hum Aapke hain kaun3Aansoo - the falling tears4Bindiya Chamkegi5Lambi Judaai6Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge7Arth/Saath Saath8Umrao Jaan/ Pakeezah9Guide/Jewel Thief10Sheesha ho ya dil ho


Old Hindi film music compilations are not being lapped up only by the older generation alone.

Says Gupta, "We come up with around 20-25 compilations of old Bollywood Music every month and every compilation has a different target audience." According to Agrawal, "With old Hindi music, we target 30+ Sec ABC. Geographically, West and North contribute to more than 60 per cent of the total sales for this genre."

23-year old Jitesh Jagani`s words lend credence to the theory. "I believe old music is more sensible and soothing to the ears. Whenever I travel or I want to relax, I put on some Rafi and Kishore da songs. And not just me, many people who are more or less of my age also prefer old music over the latest songs."

A casual survey at Rhythm House, Churchgate also reveals that Old hindi music, in fact, sells more than the latest music.

This is probably because the latest music is available online for free downloads and original old hindi music is tough to get.

The survey also reveals that compilations sell more than film albums. Adds Shemaroo director Hiren Gada, "Artists are the number one sellers in this genre. Digital trend for this genre has yet to gain momentum the way it has gained for the latest songs."

Top Selling Artists:1Lata Mangeshkar 2Rafi 3Asha Bhosle 4Manna Dey

Tunes and tonesThe popularity of old Hindi music is also not just among songs. Caller tunes and ring tones of old Hindi music are also doing great business. Adds Agrawal, "Ringtones of old songs are popular with the segment that buys them, the 30+ age group. The size of the ringtone, the market for old Hindi music is Rs 30 billion (Rs 3000 crore) and the size of the physical sales is Rs 10 billion (Rs 1000 crore)."

Piracy Whatever gives good business to the music industry is often the delight of the music pirates. Even in this genre, piracy has hurt the physical and digital sales which are turning out to be quite a costly affair to the industry. Adds Adarsh Gupta, "Grey market sales do hurt our sales. If a film is a big hit and the music is very popular, the digital downloads of it our better. For an average or a mediocre film, physical sales are better."

With a lot of revenue lost to the pirates, the music industry is uniting and making rigorous efforts to curb piracy.

Pirates usually take the MP3 format for better sales. Says Agrawal, "Grey market sells about 200 per cent more as it has a far deeper reach and sells products at very attractive price points. Grey market, while operational in all formats is primarily driven by the MP3 format off late while traditionally it was being driven by cassettes."

If this genre of music contributes so substantially to the Indian music industry, the monetary returns, minus the piracy, will of course be worth quoting too. Says Adarsh Gupta, "Bollywood music is driving the music industry today.

In terms of monetisation, old Bollywood music contributes to around 50 per cent to our overall figures."

Most requested songs:1Woh Chand Khila Woh Taare Hanse2Ude Jab Jab Zulphen teri3Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya4Jiya Bekaraar Hai 5Ik Pardesi Mera Dil Le Gaya 6Ichaka Daanaa 7Baharo Phool Barsaao 8Are Ja Re Hat Nat Khat

Remix or Unremix?

The trend of remixes done by popular DJs appears to be stagnating. Says Hemwani, "In Hindi music, a lot of cult music sells the most even today like Dev Anand is still in. Remixes are no more happening as far as the old Hindi segment is concerned. Even if the remixes are by established DJs they don`t sell much. But remixed versions are often aired because of the tie-ups a radio station has with the music companies. The latest remix albums by Suketu and Aqeel also couldn`t make the kind of business expected from them. Only what is musically different will sell now." Adds Gupta, "Remixes were in but then the remixed versions don`t sell more than the original sound tracks."

As Agrawal puts it, "With regards to trends - Good content will always be valued. The challenge is to market and monetize it across formats."

Gada adds, "We have around 250 compilations of old Bollywood music every year. And in order to push up the sales, we have reduced the prices of VCD compilations or single disc compilations. With old Bollywood music, discovery is the major problem. There are so many movies with more than 80,000 - 90,000 songs. But it`s good to see the mobile companies and service providers working towards this cause."