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The Indian Music Industry Needs To Move Up The Global Ladder: Javed Akhtar

Akhtar, now chairman of the Indian Performing Rights Society, talks to BW Businessworld’s Priyaankaa Mathur about the need to inculcate traditional values in children

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Poet, lyricist and screenwriter, Javed Akhtar, has been honoured with the Padma Shri, the Padma Bhushan and the Sahitya Akademi Award. Akhtar, now chairman of the Indian Performing Rights Society, talks to BW Businessworld’s Priyaankaa Mathur about the need to inculcate traditional values in children.  


What are the key challenges before the Indian music industry and what is the way forward? 
I see great opportunities and a few challenges. The last two years have been the most important for the Indian music industry. It saw some major changes because of which it can now strive to reach its full potential. Today all the stakeholders work together — the labels, producers and artistes, with the support of the government — both the current and previous.

The Bill on piracy that changed the whole music ecosystem could not have happened without their patronage. I would like to appeal to all Indian music industry professionals and all stakeholders to stay united. This is the only way the Indian music industry can climb up the global music industry ladder, where it is on the 19th rung today.

Piracy is a major menace for the industry today. What measures are being taken to fight it?
Technology is moving ahead in leaps and bounds. Before you get accustomed to one (technological innovation) a new one arrives. The industry is investing billions of dollars... but we don’t have a watchman to check it (piracy). So, every time the law gets outdated, people take advantage of  it.

The need of  the hour  is to update our laws in tandem with the growing technological advancements. We all need to stay united so that governments and the judiciary may grant us the support we seek to fight those who infringe on the laws.

What is the role of artistes in the Indian music industry?
The real stakeholders are the creative people, the artistes who create music. We need to provide them the right position and the status they deserve to make this industry more powerful.
 The goodwill an artiste commands in any society anywhere in the world is unparalleled, since it’s the poet, musician or the artiste who connects with the most sensitive side of a human being.
Whenever society or governments have needed them in the midst of political crises, wars, oppositions, etc., artistes have always stood by them. This is one power that cannot be substituted and is too precious to be lost.

As a lyricist and also as chairman of IPRS, do you see a void in propagation of Indian classical music? 
I think we need to inculcate Indian values in children from the very beginning – from a very young age children need to be exposed to Indian music. The traditional arts need to be a part of school curriculums so that children develop a taste for Indian classical music, ghazals and other genres.

Why is the Indian music industry dominated by Bollywood music and not regional music forms?
The Indian music industry is dominated by Bollywood because it sells and it has more buyers and that’s how business works. To bring the change, society needs to show a significant urge to listen to other genres of music and that needs to be inculcated among our children and the youth from a very young age.

Our traditional arts and regional music need to be given patronage and encouragement by society. It is the responsibility of society to tell the seller what they want to buy.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Priyaanka Mathur

The author is working in a leading media house

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