Interviews

“AI Holds Immense Potential As A Creative Ally For Artists”-Rakesh Nigam IPRS CEO

By Ojasvi Kapoor
November 14, 2023
“AI Holds Immense Potential As A Creative Ally For Artists”-Rakesh Nigam IPRS CEO

Rakesh Nigam, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS), is a distinguished figure in the realm of music and copyright management. With a proven track record and extensive experience in the industry, Nigam has played a pivotal role in steering IPRS through transformative phases.

The Indian Performing Right Society Limited (IPRS) has achieved a remarkable milestone, becoming the 4th largest Society by revenue in the Asia-Pacific region. They've seen an astounding 92.5% increase in income over the past year.

In an exclusive interview with loudest.in he talks about this achievement and the thriving music industry in India.

Here are edited excerpts:

Q1.Can you elaborate on IPRS's remarkable ascent to become the 4th largest Society in the Asia-Pacific region, and India's rise to the 23rd position among global music collections? What factors do you attribute to this achievement?

IPRS has achieved remarkable success, emerging as the 4th largest music copyright society in revenues in the Asia-Pacific region, with India securing the 23rd position among the top 50 global music collections. Several key factors contribute to this accomplishment.

IPRS has implemented proactive licensing strategies, ensuring comprehensive coverage and maximizing revenue generation from diverse music usage platforms. The implementation of efficient royalty collection mechanisms has been crucial. Streamlined processes backed by technology have facilitated the timely and accurate distribution of royalties to rights holders, fostering efficiency and trust within the industry.

Additionally, fostering strong relationships with stakeholders, including music creators, publishers, and music users, has bolstered the society's standing. This collaborative approach has not only enhanced the society's reputation but also created a conducive environment for mutual growth.

Embracing technological advancements has been pivotal. The integration of modern tools and platforms has allowed for more effective monitoring, collection, and distribution of royalties in a rapidly evolving digital music landscape. In this rapidly evolving music industry, IPRS is leaving no stone unturned to ensure robust enforcement of intellectual property rights, which has played a crucial role in safeguarding the interests of our members and ensuring that the value of music is duly recognized and protected. IPRS's commitment to transparency in its operations has instilled confidence among its members and the industry at large. Clear and open communication about processes and revenue distribution has contributed to a positive perception.

Remaining adaptable to the ever-changing music industry landscape has been key. IPRS has demonstrated flexibility in response to new trends, emerging technologies, and shifts in our stakeholders and members’ needs, ensuring its continued relevance.

IPRS's ascent and India's rise in global music collections can be attributed to a combination of strategic planning, technological innovation, strong industry relationships, and a commitment to transparency and adaptability. These factors collectively position IPRS as a prominent player in the global music copyright landscape.

Q2. IPRS has undergone strategic diversification, reducing its reliance on digital revenues. Can you share some insights into the reasons behind this diversification and how it has impacted the organization's financial stability?

Certainly, IPRS's diversification away from heavy reliance on digital revenues marks a significant achievement, contributing positively to the organization's financial stability. We are cognizant of the potential volatility and rapid changes in the digital music landscape. Thus diversification of its revenue streams benefits IPRS in mitigating the risks associated with dependency on a single source. This approach has enhanced the organization's resilience against fluctuations in digital music consumption patterns.

By diversifying, IPRS expanded its licensing horizons beyond digital platforms. It involved our success in licensing public performance of music, broadcasting, and other avenues. This broader spectrum of licensing has allowed the organization to tap into a more diverse range of revenue streams. Diversification contributes to improved financial stability, offering resilience against industry changes and economic uncertainties, thus optimizing revenue potential and maximizing returns for our members and rights holders.

Q3.With the increasing role of AI in the digital music landscape, how is IPRS preparing to navigate this dynamic landscape, and what opportunities and challenges do you foresee for the Indian music community in relation to AI?

In the dynamic realm of digital music, AI holds immense potential as a creative ally for artists. However, it's paramount that this technological evolution doesn't compromise the essence of creativity or the rights of original creators. When AI is employed to generate content, it should always acknowledge and compensate the creators whose works serve as its foundation.

On the front of royalty management, the integration of AI tools will be a strategic move. This will not only streamline royalty collection but will also enhance content identification and data analytics. The power of AI extends to providing richer insights for rights management and optimizing revenue. Yet, in this journey, the safeguarding of creators' rights and proprietary information must be a top priority.

The time has come for all industry stakeholders, creators, and the Government to collaborate in shaping laws that foster a supportive environment. These laws should champion the rightful owners of intellectual properties, striking a balance that protects their interests while nurturing an atmosphere conducive to unabated creativity. Together, we can navigate the evolving landscape, ensuring that innovation and protection coexist harmoniously.

Q4. Can you highlight key initiatives or projects that IPRS is currently working on to further its mission in the music industry, especially in the context of the transformative digital era?

IPRS is actively involved in expanding its footprint both in terms of licensing and community building. IPRS has implemented a robust online digital licensing mechanism for efficient revenue collection in the digital era.

Integration of technology in our systems and processes will remain our key focus. Embracing advanced technologies to enhance the onboarding of members, data management and royalty tracking will ensure accurate and timely payments to the rights holders. Today music is transcending borders and our members are finding opportunities and audiences across countries. Thus through strategic collaborations with global music entities, we aim to expand international reach and maximize opportunities for Indian creators and publishers.  Member outreach and engagement programmes will also be a priority in our upcoming initiative. While reaching out to talent across the country, we will continue to conduct extensive educational programs to raise awareness about copyright protection and royalty entitlements among musicians and the industry.

Last but not least, IPRS will continue to engage in policy advocacy to ensure a favourable regulatory environment for music copyright in the digital landscape. All our initiatives underscore our commitment to navigating the transformative digital era and advancing the interests of the music community.

Q5. As CEO of IPRS, what do you consider the most significant accomplishments and milestones for the organization, and what are your long-term goals for its continued growth and success?

Over the past five years, IPRS has achieved remarkable milestones, witnessing phenomenal growth from INR 45 crores to a staggering revenue of INR 564 crores. A feat in a nation where music often seems as free as the air. This journey underscores our success in robustly licensing music, with increased membership, meticulous data management, and substantial royalty payouts.

Looking ahead, our long-term goals are centered on fostering a more compliant music ecosystem. While our government has been instrumental in framing exemplary Copyright Laws safeguarding creators' rights, we now aim to collaborate closely with the Government to ensure the effective enforcement of these rights. Where can we find another land with such a vibrant tapestry of music, with the myriad of sounds and expressions emerging from different corners of the country? This underscores our collective responsibility to safeguard our rich cultural heritage and cultivate a compliant environment where music is appropriately valued, and creators' rights are protected. We envision a future where the contributions of those behind the music are duly recognized and protected, further elevating the vibrancy of the music industry.

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