Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL), India's leading television media and entertainment company, has forayed into the Rs 960 crore music industry with the launch of its music label – Zee Music Company (ZMC).
The company, according to top officials, has been toying with the idea for a while now and felt it was the right time to hit the market with the latest venture.
Punit Goenka, MD & CEO, ZEEL, said branching out into the music label space gives the company an opportunity to widen its business.
"The music industry is a large playing field and there is scope for us to explore the opportunity in this market. Technology has also emerged as a key transformer of the music industry and digital revenues are driving growth in the market. Since we are a content company, it is essential to own intellectual property as content is the king," said Goenka.
Spearheading the venture will be Anurag Bedi, business head and EVP for ZMC. The music label plans to acquire over 20 major motion pictures this fiscal. It has already acquired the music rights of Akshay Kumar-Sonakshi Sinha starrer 'Holiday', which is being jointly produced by Reliance Big Entertainment, Sunshine Pictures and Hari Om Entertainment Co.
ZMC has already begun work on building its music label catalogue with some big banner movie releases expected in the coming months. "We have partnered Fox Star Studios and signed the latter for the music of five of its Hindi releases for the year," said Bedi, without sharing any financial details associated with the acquisition of music rights.
Among films in the Fox Star Studio partnership include Saif Ali Khan and Riteish Deshmukh starrer 'Humshakals', Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif starrer 'Bang Bang' and Ranbir Kapoor and Anushka Sharma starrer 'Bombay Velvet'.
With ZEEL taking the music label plunge with ZMC, industry experts said more players will join the bandwagon and launch music labels in the future.
"Networks, especially those with strong television channel portfolio, could very well make use of this untapped opportunity," said a senior industry professional.
Industry experts see ZEEL's music label foray as an attempt to put an end to some of the monopolistic business practices adopted T-Series, thereby offering the Indian film and music fraternity a strong alternative.
"The fraternity was not very happy with the way T-Series has been treating film producers, music composers as well as other music industry artists. Some of the unfortunate incidents/controversies involving T-Series and artists like Sonu Nigam, Sunidhi Chauhan and actor-turned-producer Abhay Deol clearly indicated the tiff," said an industry expert.
"ZEEL being a big network and a leading player in the Indian television and media industry it's foray in the music label space is a befitting answer to this monopolistic ways of doing business. ZMC is the much-needed alternative that the film and music industry has been looking for," said a music industry veteran, who stressed that following the amended copyright clause that outlined paying royalty to music composers and lyricists has been a key area of concern for the fraternity.