Film producers are now bearing the brunt of the collapsing music industry. Audio rights, even for star-studded films, have very few takers.
Audio rights have gone down from being sold at Rs 85 lakh to Rs 45 lakh. Producers are reluctant to disclose this "reality" to the stars as they don`t want to hurt their egos.
Music companies are shutting shop after the industry has lost almost Rs 40 crores. The few remaining are exploring options to recover their investment. The counter sales of albums have gone down from 80,000 units to just 30,000 units. "As soon as we announce a star-studded film the first amount comes in from audio rights, but now the reduced rates have put us in a dilemma. If we commit for a lesser amount, the stars get hurt," says a leading producer who delivered two hits this year.
The stars being unaware of the slash in audio rights rates seem to be true. Ramcharan Tej says: "I don`t think there is a big fall. In fact, the audio of my last film Orange was a huge hit. The audio company boss personally informed me that he was satisfied. So the producer of my next film Rachcha which has a few chartbusters, could trade it for a reasonably good price."
After losing heavily in films like Shakti, Teen Maar and Badrinath and almost lost 60 per cent of his total investment of Rs 1.80 crores in the three films, Umesh Gupta, owner of Aditya Music, has reportedly bought the audio rights of the much-hyped Dookudu and Ooseravalli for Rs 45 lakhs.
"More than the stars, its piracy and free downloading that has crippled the audio industry. We are covering our investments through digital tones and by launching a pre-loaded memory card with Sri Rama Rajyam," he says.
However, Sridhar Reddy, who released 25 films through Madhura Audio, feels that returns in this industry happen over a period of time.
"It will take at least two to three years to recover money in various modes," he points out.
Meanwhile, Jr NTR says that albums of Ooseravalli are selling like hot cakes. "The first bunch was taken by fans and once the music is declared a hit, others will follow suit," he says.