It has been a strong second in the Bollywood music industry for a while now, and Sony Music is taking definite steps towards becoming the number one label in the country. Currently commanding a share of 23-25% (revenue wise) in the Bollywood music space, Sony Music has adopted a two pronged approach to increase this figure. This in turn will help it become a leader in the Indian music industry considering it already holds 35% share in the international music space in India, which is expected to reach 55% by the half year mark after its deal with WarmerMusic last year.
The label has joined hands with the recently launched Zee Music Company for a seven film deal and will also be acquiring the music rights of Bollywood and Tamil films through deals with production houses. Apart from this, Sony Music is also focusing on the publishing business, leveraging its association with global leader in the business - ATV.
Under the deal with Zee Music, the international label will license the radio, digital and physical rights for the seven films which include Holiday, Bang Bang, BombayVelvet, Humshakal and Hawa Hawaii that Zee Music worldwide. The publishing rights for these movies lie with Sony Music for only the international market while the domestic publishing and television/satellite broadcast rights are will with Zee Music.
This means that international digital platforms like Spotify and Rhapsody (erstwhile Napster) will bebuying content from Sony Music to enhance their Bollywood libraries.This will give Sony Music a differentiator in the overseas market interms of content and for Zee Music, it brings the much needed global exposure for its library.
Currently, Sony Music stakes claim to 20% market share in digital music (Bollywood) and the deal,according to the company, will help increase it to 35%.Considering that most music labels are now focussing on digital B2B sales as a revenue stream, this deal could be the ace that wins the game for Sony Music. Already, almost 60% of total music salesfor Sony Music come from digital.
"This is the initial phase of thedeal. We may ramp up the number of licensed movies from Zee (Music)over the course of time," informs Sony Music India marketing director Sanujeet Bhujabal.
The Bollywood music space is dominated by two players - Bhushan Kumar led T-series which has around 33 to35% share followed by Sony Music. Through the dual edgedstrategy gives Sony Music the leverage to close the gap between it and T-series. The label has tied up with three production houses -Dharma Production, Vishesh Films and Fox Star Studios in direct deals to acquire the complete music rights for their upcoming films.
Apart from this, the label has signed on nearly 15 Punjabi artists, 10 indie music bands and signed 40 Tamil film albums to ensure robust presence in India.
The strategy to up its share in the Bollywood music category comes as a part of its bigger plan to be present aggressively in the Indian music industry. In December last year, Sony Music entered a licensing deal with Warner Music Group that gave it access to Warner's catalogue in India and Sri Lanka andis expected to help Sony increase in market share in international music in India by 20%.