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Spotlight on India: Saregama’s revenues up 37%, with a focus on regional and “non-film” music


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Each day this week, journalist Amit Gurbaxani focuses on some interesting stories in the Indian music business, with plenty of links for you to explore.

India’s oldest record label Saregama is among the country’s few publicly traded music-focused companies, one that also produces films as well as TV and web series. Its Q1 financial results were announced last month and show that revenues were up 37% year-on-year to Rs105 crore (around $14 million), a figure that includes Rs91.8 crore ($12.3 million) from music licensing, which grew 32%. However, total revenues were down 15% from the last quarter, while those from just music fell 9%. The severe second wave of the pandemic impacted business in April and May, although June saw the release of one of the label’s biggest “non-film” hits to date, “Paani Paani” by rapper Badshah and singer Aastha Gill, which is currently No.1 on YouTube’s Top Music Videos chart for India.

Badshah, who recently signed an exclusive worldwide deal with the Universal Music Group, was reportedly paid Rs3 crore ($400,000) by Saregama for the Hindi track. Doubling down on its renewed focus on both regional language and Hindi film music, the label also put out Bhojpuri, Gujarati, Punjabi and Tamil singles during the quarter and acquired the rights to two of Bollywood director-producer-composer Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s upcoming movies and that of his first “non-film” Hindi album. Unsurprisingly, sales of its flagship physical product, the Carvaan digital jukebox, were muted, at 45,000 units, down from the 110,000 sold the previous quarter.


Written by: Joe Sparrow