Should IPRS be collecting streaming royalties? Yes, but this is definitely NOT the way to go about it.
IPRS is a tape recorder trying to control a digital world. They are out of tune & out of touch. They also drive away all the people who can help them. They can barely cope with the registration of songs considering how woefully inadequate their database is. To expect them to cope with the digital future in their current form is simply foolhardy.
Since India has adopted digital streaming pipelines, portals & platforms from the west, we should first understand what the copyright societies in the west are doing eg. PRS, JASRAC, ASCAP, etc & then find a customised solution for India instead of reinventing the wheel. Sadly this is too much to expect of IPRS. Why don’t they ever hold meetings or conferences with their stakeholders to discuss ways & means to deal with a changing world? Why don’t they ever share the methodology behind their ‘formulae’ for distribution of royalties? The answers are painfully obvious. Unless we question them & revamp the processes & systems, we will be back to square one, just taking whatever they dole out & not seeing any tangible benefits for all.
During lockdown, I’ve done live streaming concerts of different kinds. Some to raise money for charity, one, a paid corporate gig & one just for the fun of it on social media. All these come under different categories for monetisation, but it’s not my job to worry about how much royalty is to be paid to me as a composer or how much I should be charged as a performer. It’s IPRS’s job to reach out to the streaming platforms & work out a realistic monetisation scheme based on data, fairness, transparency & logic rather than striking fear into the hearts of singers & performers for wanting to exist.
On the creation of songs, I firmly believe it takes a team : composer, lyricist, singer, arranger/producer ,musicians & technicians ALL are equally important. Do singers have an easier ride? Maybe some do.. but that could also be said of certain composers, lyricists, actors, directors, rappers, DJs, etc.. so where does this end? It ends at excellence. A great singer is simply irreplaceable. The other truth is : singers are the face of the song, like actors are the face of a movie. They do get the lion’s share of the attention but I’ve never grudged any singer their success because it’s taken them decades of hard work to become an ‘overnight success’. There are no free lunches here.
I’m a 'singer-composer-lyricist-musician-arranger-producer-studio owner-engineer-publisher', so please don’t tell me about the pain of any specific collective. We’re all in deep waters & we need to come together to find win-win scenarios, not punish singers/ performers for doing their job to earn a living. An eco-system built on reciprocity is more likely to be transparent & rewarding for all.
Let’s hope IPRS is listening.
- Much love,