Fair trade music, a practice that needs to be accepted and followed in India: Rakesh Nigam, CEO, IPRS

For over half a century, IPRS has been supporting the creators and publishers of music, with relentless efforts put in to safeguard our ‘members’ right to fair compensation’ for their creation, writes Nigam.


There has rarely been a day which has been without music. Music is the universal language of humans and part of the fabric of everyday life. We resort to music for solace and joy, but what motivates an artist to devote his/her life to creating music. It is not money but his passion and love for music that draws an artist to music, but the truth is, an artist cannot make music without money! And the survival of many is at stake in the fast-evolving music landscape with dwindling value for musical content and lack of credit given to its creators.

The music industry is growing faster than ever. We are witnessing new platforms and mediums gaining prominence every year, reinventing ways audiences connect with artists. Similarly, new technologies empower many through new creative tools, who previously had limited access to them, redefining how music is being created and consumed today. In an age where opportunities and challenges go hand in hand, the role of Fair Pay and Fair Trade of Music could not have been more significant.

Fair Trade is about supporting, acknowledging, and celebrating businesses that seek to create an equal trade system through respect and transparency. At IPRS, we aim to raise awareness about why fair trade of music is critical and how it will help the original creators. Established in 1969, The Indian Performing Right Society has been driving significant changes, keeping pace with the changing times and positively influencing our members. We leave no stone unturned to ensure our members reap all benefits possible of their hard work and creative ability.

For over half a century, IPRS has been supporting the creators and publishers of music, with relentless efforts put in to safeguard our ‘members’ right to fair compensation’ for their creation. Supporters of fair trade music trust all who populate the music landscape, from creators to consumers, and all those in-between embracing simple, ethical practices that ensure all parties in the music value chain, including songwriters, composers are compensated for the use of their work. Fair-trade music would give consumers a clear choice in the music value chain by clearly indicating which digital streaming and other music services operate in a fair, transparent, and ethical way.

However, the whole concept of fair trade in music, and making consumers aware of it, empowering them to influence the way companies do business and the choices they can make as consumers — is new. Hence, Copyright Societies like IPRS will play a vital role in changing the mindset of users.

With the growing consumption of audio in the OTT market, it is imperative to create an equal trade system where the streaming platforms respect and pay music creators for their work. Paying back the creators shows respect for their creative work and help them have fair remuneration for the efforts put in. The revolution in distribution and consumption brought about by digitalization is helping music to reach more people than ever before. It is a thing to be wholeheartedly appreciated by music creators. But without an equitable foundation, this musical ecosystem would be fundamentally unsustainable for all stakeholders.

Our strategic alliances with prominent OTT platforms and national and international players like YouTube, Spotify, Facebook, Apple Music, Hungama Music, Alt Balaji, Ola is a positive step towards creating a sustainable and transparent music ecosystem. We congratulate our Fair Music Partners for coming on board to support the cause we stand for. At IPRS, we protect the rights of authors, composers, publishers and the creations they present to the world. It makes us a willing seller, only when streaming platforms and music users show interest as a willing buyer. These will not only help, the disadvantaged creators of music, but also the music community at large. Participation in this cause from all music industry players will help us stop the unfair treatment towards music creators / publishers and their rights prevalent for many years now. These will also encourage young talents to choose music as their career option.

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