Music business faces satellite radio threat

Mumbai, Aug 4 | Updated: Aug 5 2005, 05:37am hrs
The Indian music industry, which is already reeling under the impact of FM radio, will suffer a further loss with the advent of satellite radio. Satellite radio, which gives its listeners the choice of 39 radio stations and non-stop, full-length songs in many genres, is expected to bring down the demand for cassettes and CDs at least by an additional 5%.

Sales of cassettes and CDs had drastically fallen in recent times owing to the advent of FM radios. But now, with satellite radios coming in, the numbers are slated to fall further, said industry sources.

There was a time when we used to sell 1,00,000 cassettes and CDs of a particular album. But now the same song is played several times in FM stations. As a result the number has come down to 10,000, said Venus Music, director, Champak Jain. The number is expected to come down further. A further drop in the sale of cassettes and CDs are expected with the advent of satellite radio, says Tips Industries managing director Kumar Taurani.

One of the ways to pep up the demand for CDs and cassettes is through radio edits. Radio edits are shorter versions of a sound track, and can act as promos for the track. The concept of radio edits, which is very popular worldwide, should be encouraged in India, said Universal Music managing director Rajat Kakkar.

However, satellite radio is not entirely harmful for the music industry. KPMG associate director Anindya Roychowdhury says, New technology will come. You have to adopt it and explore it positively. Industry experts see satellite radio as a platform to promote other genres of music which was till now not in demand. Also, the music industry may stand to gain if they are able to tie up with satellite radio and produce exclusive content for them.