Friday April 25, 2014

Saregama’s villainpanti in T-series’ Heropanti?

Posted by Karthik

I have been noticing an interesting trend with regard music launches for some films in Hindi.

Amit Trivedi-composed Queen was on T-series, but the song Hungama ho gaya alone was released by Saregama, online. Similarly, Heropanti’s Whistle Baja was reelased online by Saregama, while the rest was on T-series.

Granted that Saregama owns the rights of the original songs in question (Hungama ho gaya – Anhonee, 1973; Flute theme from Subhash Ghai’s Hero), but can Saregama arm-twist producers to part with the audio rights even while they have a deal with another label – either for entire soundtrack or for one song? I’m not sure how this arm-twisting works – do they jack up the price of royalty so much that producers think it is better to just let Saregama release that one song as a single?

There is an earlier precedence to this too, where Saregama was seeking the entire soundtrack’s rights, if someone wanted to remix just one or two songs from their repertoire!

The interesting fall-out is that when people buy the song on CD or on iTunes, the Saregama owned song is not part of the soundtrack (See Queen’s CD track listing, for instance). Even on Gaana, Queen is usually listed twice – once as a full soundtrack (the T-series release) and again, as a single (Saregama-owned single).

Well, you could argue that Hungama ho gaya uses Asha Bhonsle’s actual voice from the original, and hence Saregama is perhaps right in asking them to be the record label for this song, but Heropanti’s Whistle baja is different. The original was an instrumental piece while the new version is almost like a new-age remix (a good one, at that!). Nothing from the original is used, or, since it is an instrumental, can easily be recreated. So, at least in case, T-series can technically release the song under their own label by crediting Saregama as the song’s copyright owner.

It was also amusing to see T-series actively ignoring the queries on where Whistle Baja was in the Heropanti soundtrack when they released it as a jukebox on YouTube and were cross-promoting it on FB and Twitter. Ironically, the Saregama-owned track was the best song in Heropanti’s soundtrack, so T-series couldn’t say much 🙂

Incidentally, reports indicate that Sajid Nadiadwala, Heropanti’s producer has spent Rs.1.5 crores to acquire the rights of the Flute theme from Hero. Does that include Saregama retaining the rights to release the song too, and block the film’s actual record label from releasing it?

Amidst all this, you have the PR team of the films trying to salvage the situation by sharing nonsense like, ‘Two different music companies come together for Heropanti’ – Heropanti’s director, Sabbir Khan is quoted saying, ‘Yes it’s unusual and I guess the first of its kind when two giant music companies like T-Series and Saregama have collaborated for one film’!

I’m not sure what collaboration he is referring to, when what people (fans/consumers) see online are two different listings, across iTunes, Gaana, Saavn and even on physical CD copies!

This happens too, online – see the first 4 comments on T-series’ Facebook post announcing Heropanti’s soundtrack jukebox on YouTube! No, it DOES NOT include Whistle Baja, but Saregama has already released the song 2-3 weeks before the soundtrack was released and people refer to that song in a jukebox post promotion that does not have the song in question!



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