Saregama signs global licensing deal with Facebook

The users of social media platforms- Facebook and Instagram will be able to add music to their posts and stories from the Saregama music label

Music label Saregama has signed a global deal with social media and technology company Facebook to license its music for video and other social experiences across Facebook and Instagram. This partnership will allow users to choose from a wide variety of music to add to their social experiences such as videos, stories via music stickers and other creative content. People will also be able to add songs to their Facebook Profile.

According to Vikram Mehra, managing director, Saregama India, with this partnership, millions of Facebook users will be able to add music from our vast catalogue to stories and videos they create and share. For Manish Chopra, director and head of partnerships, Facebook India, at Facebook, we believe music is an integral part of self-expression and bringing people closer together and creating memories that last. “Our partnership with Saregama will allow people on our platforms, globally, to use their favourite retro Indian music to further enrich their content on our platforms,” he added.

As part of the deal, people will be able to use music from India’s musical catalogue with classics from singers such as Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar, Mohammed Rafi, Asha Bhosle, Gulzar, Jagjit Singh, R.D Burman, Kalyanji Anandji, Geeta Dutt and Laxmikant Pyarelal, in order to enhance their experience on the platform.

Tarun Pathak, associate director at Counterpoint Research, told Ashmita Dey of FE: “If you look at one of the few big trends for Facebook across its products (Instagram, WhatsApp) in the past few years, it is the impact of stories. Popularity of stories means more stickiness/more time spent on Facebook platforms by users, which means more visibility for ads.”

Mandar Thakur, chief operating officer at Times Music, says it is imperative to note the diversity of a huge market like India that thrives on regional consumption. Due to the explosion of low-cost data, platforms like Facebook, YouTube and TikTok have also found a strong consumer base in small towns. Getting access to a vast collection of local music will only help the platforms to strengthen and widen their user portfolio. 

“These platforms make a lot of money from advertising by using our music. For us, it is an additional usage of music and a revenue stream,” Thakur told Dey of FE. As life has moved to the internet and cloud, the way to emote with music has also changed. “The whole point of Facebook and Instagram is user-generated content,” Thakur said. Although Thakur did not reveal the value that such deals fetch on an average, he said: “It is commensurate with your share in the market and the value that your repertoire brings to the platform and consumers.”

Industry experts estimated Indian music labels to rake in anywhere between Rs 100 crore and Rs 120 crore in revenues from social media platforms in 2019, according to media reports.

Formerly known as The Gramophone Company of India Ltd, Saregama owns music archives in India. Saregama has also expanded into other branches of entertainment – publishing, film production and digital content. Saregama is a music label with a catalogue of over 100,000 songs across many different genres including film songs, devotional music, ghazals and indipop in more than 25 languages.

Shares of Saregama on Wednesday ended at Rs 333.95 apiece on the BSE, up 20%.

Facebook made $17.44 billion in advertising revenues in the three months to March 2020 against $14.91 billion in Q1FY19, up 17% year-on-year. “The largest Facebook and WhatsApp communities in the world are in India,” said Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

In the past, Facebook has stitched similar deals with T-Series, Zee Music and Yash Raj Films.

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