In Conversation with Ratish Tagde

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The International Federation of Musicians (FIM) and Musicians Federation of India (MIF) are collectively organising a seminar to highlight the problems faced by musicians internationally and in India.

The seminar begins on 2nd till 3rd December 2019 at IMC, Churchgate, Mumbai, and will be attended by around 25 delegates from the European Union, UK, Australia, USA, Canada, Japan, Thailand, Kenya, and other countries.

The International Federation of Musicians is an organisation for musicians’ unions and similar representative organisations and has about 70 members in 60 countries throughout the world.

The Federation aims to preserve and further the interests of musicians represented by its member unions. FIM strives to safeguard the interest of musicians and stakeholders in various segments like streaming, royalties, musicians health, copyrights laws, rights of musicians, problems and many other matters.

We spoke to the President of MIF ahead of the seminar to learn more about this endeavour and what they mean achieve from it.

How are MFI and FIM planning to work together in India?

Ratish: FIM is in existence for over 4 decades now. It is an International body having affiliations across 70 countries. FIM has been closely working with this huge network of music professionals, foundations, associations, unions collective management societies from different countries. FIM closely works at the Government levels. This has enabled them to collate, disseminate and pass on important information for the benefits of musicians in different countries across all genres. MFI is planning to take advantage of FIM’s international knowledge base for Indian Music Industry stakeholders with regards to Copyright, royalties, rights of musicians, musicians’ health, regulations, streaming, etc.

Royalties have been a concern for artists in India, how do you intend to help them?

Ratish: The Indian Copyrights Act has recently been amended to protect artists, composers, and lyricists. Still, there exist many anomalies in the Act. This includes ambiguity in relation to the distribution of royalties, recognition of copyright societies, the definition of musical work, publishing, licensing, etc. MFI would, along with the other senior stakeholders of the industry like PPL, IPRS, ISRA, IMI will establish consensus first and then take up relevant matters jointly with the Government of India in the larger interest of the creative community.  Additionally, we will bring on table expertise of FIM on all relevant issues which will be the icing on the cake.

What are the different sectors are bringing on board to combat these issues?

Ratish: The major stakeholders of the industry include business communities, Musicians, consumers, and Government authorities. The seminar would witness representatives from all of them. All sectors have been trying to resolve issues but instead of resolution of the problem, its getting imbalances.

What is the main obstacle you think India is facing currently with this issue?

Ratish: Lack of sectoral unity and awareness among musicians. Presently the royalty collection system does not allow the Music Industry to expand the horizon. There are many anomalies with respect to even what all segments does the Music Industry consists of. This finally affects the royalties payable to the musicians. So the work has to start right from redefining the “Music Industry”. There will be a sea change thereafter.

What can we expect from MFI in the near future?

Ratish: Bringing musicians under one roof with a view to helping the music industry to grow further. MFI’s endeavour will always be for expanding the market size of the music industry and ensure that musicians get their due share timely and transparently.

MFI feels that there is a complete lack of synchronization of thought processes between all stakeholders which are hampering 360-degree growth of the music industry overall.

I may be sounding very ambitious however, these are the facts.

John Smith, President, FIM, Rajesh Nigam, CEO, IPRS, Geidy Lung, Senior Counsellor, Copyright Law Division,
WIPO, Hoshiar Singh, Registrar, Indian Copyright Office, Blaise Fernandes, CEO, IMI – India, Sidhhart Roy,
CEO, Hungama – India, Lauri Rechardt, Chief Legal Officer, IFPI, Mandar Thakur, Times Music India – will be
present at the seminar.

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