Since I am an admirer of good music and since music piracy is huge in India, I wanted to find out if anything is happening in the right direction to reduce it.
The primary method of selling songs to consumers, it seems, is still the VCD/DVD. They are sold both through the shops and online retailers.
But as consumers, there are certain things that we might expect. So, here are my ten suggestions to the Indian music industry that might help reduce piracy (at least, make a start in the right direction)…
1. Music should be sold as individual songs (We only listen to some songs in an album, not the whole album).
2. Those individual songs should be priced reasonably less.
3. Official song depots / existing music stores should allow us to select MP3 songs, and upon paying, just transfer it to our pen-drives or mobile phones directly. Why waste CD’s?
4. Allow to download individual songs legally (after paying) from an official website. It cannot get simpler than that, can it?
5. Give a sample of all the songs in display (30 seconds of what the artist thinks is the best part of the song), so that people get to listen to them before buying. Or better, even the full song can be streamed like online radio.
6. Come up with Top-20/ Top-50/ Top-100 and most popular songs listings. People need exposure as to which songs are the current favorites and doing well. An interactive medium which allows people to vote, conducts competitions etc to identify the most liked songs, would be helpful.
7. Allow individual artistes to host and sell their own songs (Like cdbaby.com, but priced much lesser for the Indian market) – We might get a lot of new and talented singers that way.
8. The Music talent shows that are televised on TV feature some good singers and their songs should be hosted online as well so that people can listen to some of the songs at their leisure. Better still, create and give a direct link to an online store where the consumers can buy and download those songs.
9. Each part of India has its own specialty – From the Carnatic music to the Hindustani music, from the various unique Instrumentals to Ghazals we arguably have the best of songs and artists. But the exposure to those art forms (various musical types, songs and artistes) remains very low till date! (In fact, I feel that two things where India is really hard to beat is the depth of the soulful classical music and the variety of the vegetarian food and dishes). Use the Internet and other forms of media (TV, Newspapers, Magazines, etc) to give exposures to some great works from diverse locations, genres and artists.
10. Run anti-piracy campaigns. Many consumers in India are unaware that downloading a song from Internet or getting songs filled up from a mobile retailer for a small price in your micro SD card is unlawful and wrong!
raaga.com is selling songs in some windows protected DRM format where you can play songs only in windows media player and only in the PC that you download the license (along with a cell phone – perhaps only with windows media player too? and some restricted amount of CD burning). Even if you change some hardware components in your own PC’s, the license becomes void!! Needless to say, for people like me (who use Linux OS/VLC player), the songs do not get played! We appreciate your efforts to combat piracy with DRM’s and all, but with so many restrictions do you think its worth it? Common guys, allow people to pay and download MP3 directly or workaround a more flexible DRM policy. The other site saregama.com doesn’t even mention which format the songs are being sold!
So, what do you think? Is it possible to reduce music piracy in India? Any suggestions?