Singers get their due

The first royalty distribution by the southern chapter of ISRA (Indian Singers' Rights Association) was held in Chennai earlier today
Singers get their due

The southern chapter of Indian Singers' Rights Association (ISRA) organised a royalty distribution event in Chennai today. The event's agenda was to pass on to the singers a cheque of Rs 51 lakh, which was collected from the royalties paid by radio stations, TV channels, caller tunes, internet portals such as Saavn and Gaana and even IPL teams, gyms and theme parks who have paid for the songs they've used. Veteran singers such as Yesudas, SP Balasubramaniam, P Susheela, Vani Jairam and Chitra took part in the event, which also saw many others, including Mano, Srinivas, Unnikrishnan, Tippu, Vijay Yesudas and Vasundhara Das in attendance. 

Talking at the event, ISRA's CEO Sanjay Tandon said, "The southern chapter began three years back and after many legal issues, we're finally able to give back to the singers. I think this is the right approach to respect them." Singer Srinivas, who is also on the Board of Directors of ISRA, said, "This is the first time such an event is happening and more than money, it's a matter of pride for singers"

Incidentally, the event also doubled as a celebration stage for Yesudas's eighth National Award as the Best Male Playback Singer. The veteran singer said, "When we sing a song, we only care about the sruthi and thalam and not about the money. Someone coming up to us and saying that we've done a good job at the recording studio is the royalty we love getting." Advising the next generation of singers, Yesudas said, "I remember what my guru told me once - the Goddess Lakshmi might forget us but not Saraswathi. Don't run behind recognition. Do your job perfectly and it'll find you. Pure music is the need of the hour."

SP Balasubrahmanyam stated, "We only get to hear the name of singers and I'm glad that I'm able to see them all in person under the same roof. Back in those days, people knew our value and we got paid what we deserved. A lot of people don't even know that singers can get royalties. Even we weren't sure about the legalities. But at least the wheels are in motion now." The veteran also pointed out that singers who've signed contracts foregoing their royalties, when signing films, don't have to worry as those contracts are null and void now.

With a meager 25 per cent of royalties collected now, the association believes that next year, the amount might total up to more than Rs 1.2 crore. 

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