Sony BMG repositions itself; unfolds plans

MUMBAI: Music major Sony BMG India has major expansion plans up its sleeves. In April this year, the top bosses of the company had flown down from Los Angeles to chalk out plans in various streams like film production, international cross-over alliances with Sony BMG artists globally and more.


Now the company is looking at diversifying into different avenues, thus strengthening its position in the Indian music market. The first step towards this will be to venture into the regional music space. Plans are also afoot to set up an artist management division.


While until now, the company has been very selective on buying music rights of Hindi films, it has now set its sight on the regional markets too.


Speaking exclusively to Businessofcinema.com, Sony BMG India managing director Shridhar Subramaniam says, “When our top officials were down here to decide our next move, they figured out that the Hindi music market is too small. That’s when we decided that we need to tap the non-Hindi music. After Hindi, Tamil music is a big hit and then comes Punjabi. We plan to set up our new regional offices soon. One will be in the South, which will take care of the Tamil music and the other will be either in Delhi or Chandigarh for Punjabi music.”< Page Break >


As far as the new artist management division is concerned, Sony BMG has already signed up 18 new artists from various fields like actors, models, writers, lyricists, video directors and not just from the music field.


“Like we have a few companies in the west, which manage big stars, we will be piecing together a huge infrastructure for this. This will not be limited to actors, singers or models but will extend to writers, lyricists and video directors who are in and around the world of music. It is a big step for us,” says Subramaniam.


This division, which is unnamed as yet, will comprise a legal advisor, financial advisor, stylists and a PR agency. Sony BMG is also looking at hiring someone to head this new division. With these plans in place, the company is poised to reposition itself as a ‘Music and Entertainment’ company rather than just a ‘Music’ company.


That apart, Sony BMG will also be concentrating on film production. It’s sister concern – Sony Pictures Entertainment’s first Indian film co-production Saawariya, directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and introducing Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor, is all set to release on 9 November this year. Informs Subramaniam, “We will be actively considering films now and are evaluating potential partnerships in this business. We need to strike strategic alliances with production houses. So, co-productions and co-funding is definitely on the cards.”


The company is looking at being a long term player in the production business. Subramaniam elaborates, “We have good relations with a few production houses like Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions. So if and when we strike a deal and if they have plans to produce a slate of films in a set span of time, we will buy out the music rights of all. Hence there will be a continuous flow.”


With these plans in place and some more on the anvil, it will be interesting to watch the company’s playout in the burgeoning Indian filmed entertainment space.

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