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Universal Music Partners With Indian Hit-Maker Desi Melodies in Push to Grow…

by Ace Damon

The deal highlights the drive to increase India’s non-film market and the growing consumption of content in regional languages.

Universal Music Group is partnering with Indian Desi Melodies, a leader in the recent wave of Punjabi music, in a global distribution agreement that highlights the rapid growth in consumption of content in regional languages ​​in the emerging market.

The deal announced on Tuesday (July 7) will solidify the position of Universal and Desi Melodies at the forefront of India’s burgeoning non-cinema music sector, which in recent years has been cutting the overall pie of the Bollywood-dominated market in India.

Universal Music India “remains committed to transforming the non-cinema music market, with the goal of offering Indian artists and musicians a global platform to succeed,” said Devraj Sanyal, MD and CEO of Universal Music India and South Africa. Asia. declaration.

Under the terms of the multi-annual partnership, Universal Music India will exclusively distribute all audio recordings from the Desi Melodies label catalog, including past and future non-film releases, where rights are retained by the label worldwide. Universal will provide Desi Melodies with global support and distribution for its audio catalog and future releases from UMG partner record companies worldwide, Universal said in a press release. The first launch of the partners is scheduled for the end of this month, says Universal.

Founded three years ago in northern India’s Punjab region by lyricist Jaani and filmmaker Arvindr Khaira, Desi Melodies has emerged as a rising actor in India’s entertainment industry. The label’s hits include the singles “Filhall”, “Coka” and “Kuch Bhi ho jaaya”. The duo, working with frequent collaborator B Praak, also produced successful albums for other record labels and film soundtracks. The label has more than 5.5 million subscribers on YouTube.

Desi Melodies is benefiting from a radical change in the growth of regional language content in India in recent years, as a result of increased smartphone penetration, low-cost, high-speed Internet access and proliferation of streaming platforms, including native ones from India, like JioSaavn.

Punjabi, Tamil and Telegu are the dominant languages ​​for content in regional languages ​​in India, which now accounts for more than 30% of all consumption of streaming services in the country. Punjabi tracks are contributing 12% of all regional music broadcasts, the same proportion as Tamil and Telugu songs combined, according to a KPMG report. Acts like Badshah and Guru Randhawa helped Punjabi overcome English as the second most played language on the platform.

In the Gaana streaming service, the consumption of regional music now contributes to about a third of all streams on the platform. And at JioSaavn, an increase in demand for regional music led to a drop in the share of international music from 25% in 2018 to just half in 2019.

While the majority of Tamil and Telugu music comes from film soundtracks, most of the Punjabi pieces are non-movie pop and hip-hop. As a result, the share of Bollywood music, India’s dominant music genre, has declined as a percentage of India’s overall flow. The Bollywood music pie portion fell from 70% in mid-2016 to just over 50% in early 2019, while international music dropped to 18%, according to KPMG.

India is the 15th largest market in the world in recorded music, with streaming representing 73% of all sales. General industry revenues increased 19% in 2019, totaling $ 181 million, according to the IFPI’s Global Market 2020 report.

For Universal, Desi Melodies’ distribution agreement is the latest in a series of strategic label launches in India. In 2018, UMI launched VYRL Originals, India’s first dedicated non-cinema label. He released more than 50 singles from a list of 20 artists, including Mithoon, Vishal Mishra and Arjun Kanungo. Last year Universal formed a “multichannel partnership” with Mass Appeal, a New York-based content company, co-owned by Nas. Mass Appeal India entries include hip-hop star DIVINE.

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