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Royalty rights are forever yours

At the Delhi preview of ‘All About Music’ – a first-time conference on developing business opportunities in music industry within India, I traveled the distance and spent the time because it spoke about streamlining the legal rights of the music industry – publishing, licensing, and copyrights. Each professional in the Media and Entertainment industry is clueless about these rights and has forever been questioning them. Most often, the questions appear when it’s too late and hence, the show keeps going on, with you or without you. I was excited and curious to know if the laws on these are really getting created and more so, will we see them ‘implemented’ in our lifetime.

This evening there was a panel discussion – Tarsame Mittal, Siddhartha Roy, Priyanka Khimani, Vijay Arora, AdityaAnand and Ritnika Nayan and the audience (people like us).

Key insights that I have must share with you all as a part of our promise to you, performing artists:

  • For all works after 2012, the royalty rights are forever yours. Rights rest in the respective category and respective percentage of stakeholders. They now forever rest with the content creators, even if they have given up or written off all rights, in a contract with the engaging parties.E.g.: In a contract with a label called, even if a singer – named QQ, gives away ALL his rights to AB…The royalty in the percentage allotted to singers, is forever belonging to QQ. Whether AB agrees or not. How does this work?
  • All content creators should register themselves with IPRS (The Indian Performing Right Society Limited): or other such registered bodies. ISRA for singers and others for all other different genres.
  • As your content is commercially used and the royalty meter starts, the royalty worth the share of Singer QQ and worth the share of Producer (label) AB will get deposited with IPRS and other such bodies. As it is received there, it will be transferred to the bank accounts of the receiving parties.
  • In case of a delay/non-existence of something that one deserves, you can check with IPRS or the society you are registered under and be sure to get supported.

While royalty is the right of every performing artiste, this conference was about the music industry and hence the examples were that of singers, composers, and labels. For all practical reading, replace ‘singer’ with ‘performer’ and that is what the law largely is all about.

When I double-checked, I found an article of The Indian Express, dated October 10, 2016, quoting exact content. For your convenience, here is a brief excerpt matching the discussion on the panel.

“ The performance, or “a substantial part thereof”, cannot be recorded, reproduced, broadcast or communicated without the Performer’s consent. Performers (which include Singers) have the Right to Receive Royalty (R3) in case their performances are commercially utilized.

While a Singer can sign over the rights to a song to a producer/third party, R3 for the song cannot be given over.

This means that once a Singer has recorded an original song, everyone except the producer/copyright holder needs to get permission and pay a royalty to play/perform it in public”. Do read this article on

The panel also emphasized and acknowledged the following:

  • It is often the artiste who does not work with a lawyer to go through the contracts
  • It is often the artiste who is scared of changing anything in the contract, for the fear of losing the project itself
  • It is often this that the artiste feels cheated only when his or her creative work becomes popular and someone else seems to be minting money on it. Before that, most often, the artiste is in gratitude only because it has been taken/owned/produced by someone recognizable.

Performers, I totally agree with these observations. I have been fighting for the same for as long back as I can look behind. It is one of the most critical reasons for which we have created – MatchMyTalent too!

The reason I titled this article – good laws, is in the same breathe as ‘Good Riddance’. Please read it like that. Some things just have to come from the law for us to shed our inhibitions. E.g.: Wearing a car seat belt is mandatory. Even if you don’t see the possibility of dying in a road accident versus just wearing the seat belt, for heaven’s sake now wear it because the cops will bother you over it.

I am hoping that ALL you performing artistes out there, would now understand that:

  • Whether you sell your content for Rs 1 or any number of zeros ahead of it, each time your content is reproduced by anyone except your producer, you have a stake in that, at the agreed value, for the rest of your family’s lifetimes.
  • That, your producer is also getting his or her share of the royalty. He will anyways not get your share of Royalty. If you don’t claim it, it will keep sitting with the organizations that are waiting for you to come and claim it. So, by starting to talk about your royalty, your producer cannot take the project away from you.

But I am still skeptical. You know why? Because I am not able to imagine, how my dearest performing artistes would stand without folding hands in front of producers and paymasters? I am not able to imagine if our performers will walk to organizations like IPRS, ISRA, and others and get their presence recorded?

Will you?

And then I am getting so anxious, just imagining, that if this begins to come true, what would the bank balances of the performing artistes look like? And will it then mean that all software engineers and Human Rights professionals will start to become actors, singers, comedians, dancers, DJs, voice artistes, RJs, musicians, anchors, magicians, stuntmen? Oh my god! What is all this making me imagine!

If you could see me now while I type this fast fast fast in anxiety, you wouldn’t miss the smile that I can’t help to see broadening on my face!

Ever since we have been building matchmytalent, we have been sick and tired of the question that people ask – How big is the market? How many performing artists are there in the country? In the world?

We have spent days and weeks trying to calculate how many of you are there but no permutation, calculation and set of assumptions could get us near a believable number. You know why? Because when the number looks really large, people don’t believe it and when the number looks really small, people feel its not a good enough number of people to make lives easy for!

So now I am wondering, that, with the basic forever-royalty law, two things should happen in the next few years:

  1. People will realize that if they have to pay for reproducing/playing the older content anyways, they might want to spend in new artists – new content too!
  2. Performers would realize that out of the 100 things that maybe the creators of, even if one is commercially used and re-used and re-reused, it will continue to get money in your bank till the last man in your family lives.

I don’t think such rights exist for a software programmer and even for policymakers. Do you know if it does?

I am now beginning to get nervous thinking of what market size will now emerge of this niche professional community that only a handful of people currently even notice as a market.

I am getting goosebumps as I write this and I wish you all could see my speed of typing right now… just imagining that, what will everyone who has asked me for ROI on working with performing artists think of it few years down the line?

Whatever it is …I just hope, all those people do not become performers themselves suddenly! We will have a real tough time supporting sooooooooo many of you at MatchMyTalent !

Anyways, this is great news performers for all of you and you deserve every bit of it because you entertain us through our best days to the worst days, from the day we are conceived to the day we are remembered in our annual remembrances, much after we have left our bodies for a different world too. Your families most often do not see the life that most other professional’s families do. Often you have to even answer to your near and dear ones that – why are you the way you are!

The cheque’s in your banks now will hopefully answer some of this!

Keep creating original work performers…just keep creating!

For your ‘showcase rights’, we will update you soon!

To know more, get to the conference yourself on Sep 18-19 2017 in Mumbai. Click here to read the article on