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Sep 19, 2009 at 03:19am IST

Singers demand royalty in mobile downloads

New Delhi: The most famous voices behind Bollywood's melodys now want their share of the money for songs used by cell-phone service providers as caller tunes and ringtones.

With revenue pouring in from caller tunes and ringtone downloads, singers do not want to be left out.

Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle, Sukhwinder Singh, Suresh Wadkar, Kumar Sanu, Kunal Ganjawala, Shaan and many other famous singers have come together and formed a body called Performers Syndicate to fight for what they say are their rights.

Asha Bhonsle, who is spearheading the campaign said, "Look at the conditions that prevail today. Television and radio do not play songs anymore. Big record companies too have all stopped backing promotion of music albums and songs. I am not so affected but think of the generations of musicians to come."

Reports suggest that sales from mobile ring tones and caller tunes have surpassed CD and tapes sales and new revenue streams from mobile are expected to be generated every year.

Little wonder then that more voices are asking for their legitimate share of the pie.

Composer and singer Anu Malik said, "We are all coming together to make a rule that if we are not getting royalties, we are not working."

His call finds echoes in music composer Ehsaan Noorani who said, "First of all the intellectual property, so that a percentage of the intellectual property stays with you and the other thing is to get a percentage of income on it. I think it is a very good thing for composers and lyricists to get that."

The Performers Syndicate body has already forwarded its proposal to the Ministry Of Human Resources but it seems the music companies are in no mood to negotiate.

CEO of BIG Music, Kulmeet Makkar said, "Unfortunately, the model in India is very different from the global model. Globally, you work on a profit share all across. In India, when you buy the music rights from a producer, you pay huge lumpsum moneys as MGs. If you pay that kind of money and then the demand is that we must share the profits, that may not actually be fair."

It seems a long drawn out and not so musical tussle ahead.

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