21, Feb 2023
IPRS: Shaping the Future as a Music Copyright Society

The IPRS has gone on to become the most invaluable and desired support system of the Indian music industry today. Standing strong for owner’s rights, royalties, and promoting the creators’ causes, have been driving IPRS while keeping it invigorated and focused over the years.

The amendments in the Copyright Act in 2012 cleared the way for a new beginning for IPRS and the fraternity of Music Creators & Publishers. IPRS set forth on its new journey in 2017 with a clear task in hand, led by the new board and Javed Akhtar as the Chairman. The same year IPRS got registered as a Copyright Society by the Government of India. The IPRS has since then grown from strength to strength to become the leading music copyright society in India, representing the authors, composers, and publishers of music. In 2018 the re-admittance of the IPRS as a Copyright Society in the apex Paris-based International Confederation of Societies of Authors & Composers (CISAC) further led to the wider acceptance of the IPRS as a top global copyright society.

The following years saw IPRS signing strategic licensing deals with major International Digital Service Providers (DSPs) and significant players in the Indian music industry shooting the IPRS revenue from INR 46 crores in FY2017-18 to a whooping INR 314 crores in FY21-22. A jump of over 500% in 5 years. IPRS went on to be recognised as the fastest-growing music collection society in the world by CISAC. During the recent pandemic, the critical role of copyright societies like IPRS became even more evident when the regular sources of income from the music industry were severely hit. By distributing royalty amounting to INR 210 crores, along with regular grants and aids, IPRS has proven its pivotal role in the sustenance and welfare of the Music community. FY22-23 IPRS is expected to touch INR 400 crores in revenues and surpass INR 300 crores in royalty distribution.

With the growing role of copyright societies in the digital era, there’s little to benefit and everything to lose without embracing technology in its ever-evolving avatar. Being the progressive society it is, it was only expected that IPRS would readily adapt to new-age technology for the benefit of its members. The launch of the Backoffice backed Members Portal has been a major milestone in terms of technology advancement and has brought increased transparency to the overall system. IPRS members, today, unlike in earlier years, are in control of their data and have the convenience of checking their data online thus flagging off errors and helping in efficient data management.

Today, music is created, distributed, and consumed digitally. But tracking, matching, processing, and distributing billions of usages is incredibly complex and requires massive investments in IT and specialised human resources. Better licensing and improved data management & processing backed by technology have been the secret sauce of IPRS’ success. The result of this development is visible through increased income, robust data processing along with frequent and increased royalty distribution. IPRS will continue to improve its systems for greater transparency and a better experience for its members and licensees.

On the membership front, IPRS has been very active in speaking to members and listening to them. Advancement in technology has made it mandatory for the modern-day creator to be hand in hand with the need to upgrade to rapid changes. IPRS’s ongoing forays to help music creators and publishers achieve their goals through knowledge and know-how are efforts to help them deduce how the music business works at an everyday level. It has also emerged as a strong voice for its members on issues plaguing the music industry, on various platforms, and in multiple institutions. Such and many other visionary initiatives have seen the IPRS membership mount up to over 10K. More and more music composers, authors, and publishers have begun investing their implicit faith in IPRS.

The coming times will see a fully geared-up IPRS shinning amid emerging opportunities and challenges, adhering to the highest levels of commitment while remaining true to its core values of Solidarity, Equality, Resilience, and Transparency to serve the interests of its members and the music community at large.

Commenting on IPRS’s journey so far, legendary poet, lyricist, screenwriter, and IPRS Chairman Javed Akhtar Sahab said, “I am pleased with the IPRS’s initiatives, led by the CEO, Mr. Rakesh Nigam, to not only safeguard the rights of music creators but also consistently reach out to them through various initiatives to ensure they are aware of their rights over the music they create. I am happy that the IPRS not only survived the pandemic but could also distribute frequent royalties to the members and financial aid to many struggling to make ends meet. And all these were made possible due to the commendable increase in revenues and our ability to do what was necessary during a calamity. Concerted efforts by IPRS at problem-solving in vexing matters have shown visible gains that have brightened the prospects of our members and stakeholders. For further progress and development, I hope our government will appreciate our efforts and give us a helping hand in building a more compliant music ecosystem, which we will always need.”

Commenting on IPRS’s role, music maestro A. R. Rahman said, “As an IPRS member, I am glad to see IPRS evolving as a strong pillar of the music industry. It has not only emerged as a prominent voice upholding its members’ rights and ensuring their due credit and royalties but has been actively working to support its members with the required knowledge and guidance, to help them make the most from the music they create. With its expanding footprint and rapid advancements, the role of IPRS has gained considerable significance in the burgeoning Indian music industry.”

Commenting on the IPRS initiatives legendary lyricist and IPRS Board member, Sameer Anjaan said: “As an author myself, I am happy to state that IPRS has worked hard to guarantee that music creators are acknowledged and credited for their work and that their creativity is respected. I appreciate the efforts made to raise awareness of copyrights and licensing matters through various initiatives that will help drive compliance and bring about a mindset shift. Non-compliance with music licensing norms continues to plague the nation, draining the music industry of huge revenues and depriving the creators and music owners of what is rightfully theirs.”

Rakesh Nigam, CEO of IPRS said: “Our five-decade journey has been incredible, and we feel privileged and honoured to continue on this path of collective growth with our members and business partners. We are thrilled to be setting a new benchmark with every passing year and want to smash the ceiling in revenues and royalties for our members. However, compliance with music copyright remains a big concern for CMOs like IPRS. Although our efforts to develop a more compliant music ecosystem continue, we invite all key stakeholders and industry groups to join us in paving the way for a prosperous future for music and its makers.”

“IPRS is a not-for-profit Society owned by its members, working to ensure fair remuneration for the utilisation of their music. Music is more than an industry. It is a cultural powerhouse. I take this opportunity to thank all who have joined us in our efforts to promote music and its creators and leave a message for the rest that denying royalties to those deserving will dampen creativity and ultimately weaken the cultural fabric of the nation.” added Mr. Nigam

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