Hungama Digital Media Entertainment Pvt Ltd has come up with a unique way to fight piracy and promote original music. The digital entertainment company has floated a new website,
, that will offer new, unreleased music of over 30 Indipop, indie, and Bollywood musicians, including Roopkumar and Sonali Rathod, Hema Sardesai, Sunita Rao, Parikrama, Dream Out Loud and Mukul Deora.
Says Neeraj Roy, MD of Hungama, “In the last few years, a lot of new talent has been discovered through reality shows, but they’ve never had the chance to reach out to people. We felt that independent artistes should get the same platform as Bollywood artistes, through the Internet. We don’t want Indian music to only be a derivate of Bollywood.”
The website aims at being the equivalent of Apple’s Itunes in India, where fans of music can legally buy songs of artistes they admire. In a market where piracy is rampant, and mp3s of new album releases are available all over the internet, Roy admits it would be tough to convince people to buy the songs that are available free, but feels it’s worth the effort.
“It’s a sincere effort from our end, and we don’t see any reason for true fans of music refusing to buy these songs,” explains Roy. “This is the first time we’ve enabled a legit platform for them to buy it, and I think it ultimately depends on the popularity of the music that would determine the downloads.”
Subir Malik, from the band Parikrama that has also signed on to the website, feels it would be stupid to think that it will stop piracy. “Such thieves exist all over the world, and the moment anyone buys an album, you find it online the next moment,” he comments."The reason for this website becoming a path-breaking one is that it’s the most organised effort I’ve seen so far. Finally, there’s a site that has nothing to do with Bollywood, and a lot of time and money has gone into marketing it. The music industry is almost over in India; there is no music in MTV either. At least there’s someone trying to promote non-commercial music."
To ensure that the website has maximum reach, Hungama plans to go on a publicity overdrive. It also plans to introduce the songs on other platforms like caller tunes and ringtones, where piracy isn’t possible.
Hema Sardesai, who’s also signed up for the website, is excited about the endeavour. “There are still plenty of music lovers out there who buy the music they like. So, this would be an opportunity for songs of independent artistes to get justice.”
Sardesai has contributed devotional songs and an inspirational song, ‘She’s the leader’, on women empowerment. Parikrama, on the other hand, have put up a tribute to the 26/11 terrorist attacks on the website. Over 100 other songs are available on the website, from their personal catalogs.
Though many of the songs are unreleased, Hungama hasn’t put any binding contracts on the artistes. Roy confirms, “We don’t want to make things restrictive in any manner so the artistes are free to deal with any record label and showcase their entire catalog. Our idea is to give due share to independent talent.”