The music industry in India is different from the music industry in any other part of the world. The reason for this is the close ties the Indian music business has with the Indian film industry. Indian film and music companies frequently finance each other’s projects and generally what is good for one is good for the other. The Indian music market is small in terms of the global market and part of the reason for this is that only about half of the revenue reported comes from legitimate tax- paying companies. The rest comes from small factories that mass-produce old and new albums for which they don’t own the rights.
New streams of revenue and new delivery methods offer hope for music companies in India. Telephony, satellite radio, FM radio and licensing of films currently generate almost a quarter of total revenue and is growing. Saregama is India’s oldest and largest music company. Founded in 1901 as a subsidiary of EMI, Gramco (or HMV) records experienced early competition but for almost 70 years was the only company in India manufacturing recorded music. In the 1970’s some International companies tried to move in but experienced little success.
Gramco was taken over by the RPG group a division of the parent company EMI in 1985 and the name changed to Saregama India in 2000. The Indian music industry is fragmented but has experienced growth of late where the international music industry’s revenue and profits have been contracting. Since the late 1960’s, the Indian government has passed laws attempting to stem the flow of pirated material, which has in some ways bolstered the industry but in an industry closely tied to Hindi music, revenues and profits are slow in coming.