Complete digitisation may help music industry

Cultural Correspondent | Published: 17:17, Jan 03,2017 | Updated: 17:25, Jan 03,2017

Momotaz Begom

A scene from Momotaz Begom’s music video Local Bus, which got good response following its online release in 2016.

Complete digitisation may be the way out of misery for the struggling music industry, say industry insiders.

In the past two years, adoption of digital technologies has helped revive the industry to some extent, taking music to a wider audience.  

According to a rough estimate, almost half of the 400 albums and singles of 2016 were released digitally, and many of them succeeded to attract the music lovers.

Industry insiders think it is time to work towards a complete digitisation but problems such as piracy and royalty-sharing may in all likelihood persist.

‘It’s great to see the industry is keeping pace with the digital world. In 2016, many albums and singles were released digitally. We hope this trend will continue in 2017,’ said Foad Naser Babu, general secretary of Bangladesh Musical Bands Association.

Babu, however, thinks that an accurate royalty sharing system should be in place to ensure the rights of the musicians.  

According to sources, there is a nexus between the production houses and online music portals depriving the musicians of their due.

In some cases, the musicians come into agreement with a production house for an album, and then the house gives the album to online portals for distribution and sale. In the process, the musicians are deprived of their due from online sales.

‘Despite there being a very well-formulated copyright act, copyrights remain a thorny issue with the act being violated regularly,’ said Sujit Mustafa, chief executive of Bangladesh Lyricists, Composers and Performers Society (BLCPS).

‘We must address these issues anyway possible,’ he added.

On their part, the musicians think that a complete digitisation of the industry will greatly help.

‘Forgetting their differences, the musicians should focus on finding a way out of the royalty-sharing problem. Digitisation seems to be the way at this moment,’ said senior music director Sheikh Sadi Khan.  

However, Mazharul Islam, general manager of Laser Vision, is optimistic about 2017.

‘Last year, we saw some albums getting popular with the audience. Besides the conventional CDs, online releases have added a new dimension to the industry,’ he said.

‘I hope the music lovers and musicians can expect to see lots of positive changes in 2017,’ he added.

Meanwhile, some musicians expressed the need for a congenial environment so that open-air concerts can be held round the year.

‘An industry cannot be vibrant when we have only CDs and online releases to reach our fans. We also need concerts on a regular basis to connect them,’ said Naquib Khan, frontman of popular band Renaissance.

‘For that to happen, we need a congenial social-political atmosphere.’

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