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To the Beat of Bollywood

India’s pro-audio industry continues to thrive thanks to the popularity of locally produced film, TV, and, increasingly, music.

THE SECOND most-populous country in the world, India, produces some of the most consumed content from films to music. While most people outside of the country are well aware of the phenomenon of Bollywood (and Indian cinema in general), the country’s music industry is also starting to grow independently and is dominated by locally produced content both for physical and digital sales. According to the IFPI’s latest report, India is nearing an all time high with industry analysts believing the country could become a top 10 global market within the next few years.

“The Indian music scene has traditionally been driven by Bollywood, but changing demographics, massive internet exposure to global music trends, and a progressive youth culture are leading to evolving tastes and this

growing market is set to be much more diverse in the future,” commented Mandar Thakur, chief operating officer, Times Music. One of the biggest drivers for India’s music industry has been the huge uptake in mobile phone subscribers, which now totals more than 900 million. Since 2006, a number of streaming services such as Gaana and Saavn, as well as independent download stores have begun to emerge. Yet, like in most other countries around the globe, piracy is still a big issue with an estimated 54% of internet users accessing unlicensed services on a monthly basis.

In February of this year one of the top-funded music startups, streaming service Dhingana, reportedly shut down due to ‘industry challenges’ including piracy that reportedly costs the industry nearly £2.5 billion every year.

Despite this, India has a long history of protecting its content producers. The Indian Music Industry (formerly the Indian Phonographic Industry) was established in 1936 and is the second-oldest music companies’ association in the world engaged in defending, preserving, and developing the rights of phonogram producers while actively promoting and encouraging advancement of creativity and culture through sound recordings.

The IMI includes members ranging from Saregama India and Universal Music India, to other prominent national and regional labels that represent over 75% on the output of recordings. As part of its mission to protect the rights of music producers, the IMI has been actively seeking ways to curb music piracy and in the last few years has obtained court orders

Munro India: Meeting Challenges >>> STUDIO DESIGN

After opening an office in Mumbai seven years ago, Munro India continues to build some of the country’s top recording and post-production studios. We talk to studio designer and acoustic and electroacoustic consultant Kapil Thirwani.

I’ve heard from other sources that no real large- format recording studios have been built in India in the better part of a decade. How do you feel about the current market for recording studios? The large-format recording studios are not really coming up because of real estate prices here. If they move out to the outskirts they will be out of business because no one would travel that far thanks to the traffic problems in this country. The last big format facility we did was last year. It was for a big corporate group in the jewellery business called Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri who forayed into entertainment. The studio is called ENZY studios (pictured). Before this was a studio for another corporate –

the Sahara Group. The studio is called Studio Nysa and has M4 large-format monitoring and an SSL 9000 K. The corporates started shying away from [building studios] as the engineers and musicians are driving

20 April 2014

the industry and they build their own studios so all the work is done in their facility. Now if they have to record strings or a big band then they will hire these big studios for a week max to get their work done. The final mix for movies is done in certified

Dolby Mix rooms, which only now are being designed properly as Dolby is active in the country and have their checks in place. Before this ‘engineers’ had lovely internet designs that would then be built into horrible sounding rooms by carpenters.

What about post-production facilities? The big names are Prime Focus and Famous but a lot of Bollywood post production is done in cheap facilities and along very fast timelines. Television on the other hand I find is more

professional and organised. It’s a big market out here for TV. In the 80s we had only two channels and now I would say there are 200 or more. Then there are language versions for the south, west,

north, and east of the country. This country has over 30 languages and they dub for all of them.

Are there any design requests you’ve received that might be unique to the Indian film/music industries? They pretty much follow the studio design internationally but the Indians listen to their music/mixing loud. The musician/programmer/ music director wants to work on big monitoring so that the producer feels the ‘effect’. All the mastering is done in the UK or US and these mastering engineers are always complaining about the material levels that they receive. For television, big, spacious rooms are the norm (heights we get are a maximum of 3m) so we go as big as the room ratios allow. The engineers sit in the sweet spot, the musicians sit directly behind him, and the production house people are all over the studio.

directing all internet service providers in the country to block more than 250 illegal music sharing sites.

In the country’s thriving film market, 2013 marked 100 years of Indian cinema and saw the release of multiple big-budget productions. Three films from 2013, including two sequels (Dhoom 3 and Krrish 3) and one original (Chennai Express) became the highest grossing Bollywood films of all time. The constant output of both film and, growingly, television, means that there is steady business for audio post-production facilities. Global post-production powerhouse Prime Focus first started in Mumbai more than 16 years ago and now boasts facilities in London, LA, Vancouver, New York, and Beijing, while independent post houses such as TeamWork Studio continue to expand.

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