EY’s Ashish Pherwani decodes growth of music publishing industry in India

EY, a leading professional services firm, has launched a pioneering report that provides unprecedented insights into the state of India’s music publishing industry. Titled ‘The Music Creator Economy: The Rise of Music Publishing in India’, the report thoroughly explores the current landscape, market potential, and perspectives shaping the music publishing sector in the country.

Key Findings:

According to the report, India stands as a powerhouse, producing over 20,000 original songs annually, a collaborative effort from an impressive 40,000 music creators. The music industry, whether directly or indirectly, contributes over Rs 12,000 crore in revenue each year.

Ashish Pherwani, EY India Media & Entertainment Leader, highlighted the survey findings, emphasising the critical role of music in India’s media and entertainment sector. He noted that while sound recording revenues have traditionally been propelled by both local and international labels, music publishing revenues remain comparatively modest, impacted by differing views on its applicability and legal complexities.

Survey Insights:

EY’s groundbreaking survey involved 500 music creators, offering valuable insights into their financial dynamics:

  • Income Challenges: An overwhelming 87% expressed the desire to sustain themselves solely through music, but only 60% were able to achieve this goal.
  • Diverse Income Sources: Outside conventional employer-employee relationships, creators leaned on one-time payments, live performances, and royalties as primary income sources.
  • Education and Equipment: A significant majority felt the need to learn more about music production and monetisation. Only 56% had access to the necessary equipment for music production.
  • Reinvestment: Notably, 35% of respondents reinvested over 50% of their earnings into equipment, gear, software, and infrastructure for creating music.

“We create more than 20,000 songs a year as a country. Second is that when it comes to YouTube, if I look at data for 2022, out of the top 10 songs, 7 songs were Indian songs in terms of number of streams. The third thing is that when we did a survey of 500 music composers, it came out very starkly that their main source of income is still creating music for the film producers and the music labels and royalties was a distinct fourth or fifth in terms of the income that they earn and royalties are really very low,” Pherwani noted.

“Then, when we went deeper, the sound recording industry earns around 3,000 crore a year and the music publishing industry earns about 880 crore a year. We did a survey of 500 creators, who are the composers or lyricists, etc., and we found that most of them were not able to earn enough royalty income and, therefore, they had to do live performances, and they had to go and do session work and do background score and all kinds of stuff for other people, because they were not able to earn enough royalty. So, that was another finding that came out of the whole report,” he added.

“The last part of the report that really got me doing is that the soft part of music is so brilliant because in 7 countries outside India, the number one artist on YouTube is again Indian. Very interestingly, the number one artist in Pakistan is Alka Yagnik.”

“We produce 2,000 songs a year, out of which around 300 songs are really superstar hits, and those songs actually are good exports for India. It’s a very big ‘Make in India’ kind of thing that’s happening over here. Those songs go out. They get consumed across the world, and we earn income because of that. That’s really what this report is about.”

“In 2023, the sound recording market will be about 3,000 crores and the publishing market will be about maybe 1,000 crore, so total income is around 4,000 crore at best for the calendar year 2023. This will grow at least at 20% CAGR for the next 5 years. We will see it doubling in 6 years – from 4,000 crore to 8,000 crore is easy to happen.”


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