Sonu Nigam, Adnan Sami question monopoly in Bollywood music, triggers debate

The entire nation has been in shock over the news of Sushant Singh Rajput committing suicide exactly two weeks ago.

This was followed by a storm triggered by a video of  Sonu Nigam over  music industry of Hindi films. 

In the video that went viral soon after it was uploaded Sonu Nigam stated that it was painful to know that Sushant, an actor is no more. “And tomorrow you can hear a similar news from Music industry that a lyric writer or a music composer or a singer is no more. The situation of the music industry in our country is as such that it has even bigger mafia than that of film industry.”

Claiming that only two people who owe two major music companies in the country are running the entire industry Nigam alleged that they (the two composers) have made it so difficult for the new comers that they are shedding tears of blood because of their helpless situation.  

He also describes an incident in which nine singers were asked to sing for a single recording and tries to highlight that it’s a clear act of exploitation. 

While Sonu Nigam had constantly appealed to the industry to be kind to new comers, he has also mentioned about the monopoly of two companies that have control over the entire Bollywood music industry.

What Nigam has said appears to be based on facts. In 2019 broadly 113 films were released by Bollywood and out of those Zee Music Company stood as label for 52 films, T-series for 33, Saregama Music contributing 8, Sony 4 and rest represented multiple labels with one or two movies.

In 2020 from January to March largely 35 movies were released and again Zee Music Company held label for 13 films, T-series had contract with 9, Sony and Tips with 2 and 3. Once again them were released by companies with one or two labels.

This revelation has sparked the controversy. Marina Kuwar who had accused Bhushan Kumar of sexual misconduct in 2018,when the #Me too” debate was raging.

Says she in her new post, “When your life changes drastically due to some unwanted incidents happened in your life, that time you choose to go into depression. No one knows how badly these incidents affect your life. Sometimes we give up and we end up with our life! Feeling so depressed.”

This led to a war of words in the industry.  Sonu Nigam in another video claimed that Bhushan Kumar from T – Series was forcefully trying to put forward his views via other singers.

This lead to Bhushan Kumar’s wife Divya Khosle saying, “I’m seeing people being able to sell lies and deceits with their strong campaign. Sonu Nigam kind of people know how to play with minds of the audience …Such people are thankless.” The fact still can’t be ignored that T- Series is the biggest player in the Hindi film music industry and holds an estimated 50 percent market share.

Adnan Sami came out in support of Sonu Nigam sharing his thoughts online: “Trying to put forward high time that music industry changes its outlook towards music and newcomers as they are being exploited.” He also questioned the credibility of people at the top and hit out at them. He pointed out that they were trying to play god with no knowledge of creativity. Specifically upset with remix and remake culture, he questioned future of the industry.

Mandushree, a singer who has experience in wide range of languages like Bengali, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Hindi and known for her voice in AR Rahman’s films agrees that mafia in film industry do exist and there have been attempts to choke her voice.

It became an edging two way game when singers like Amaal Malik and Shilpa Rao, Composer Rochak Kohli and lyricists Manoj Muntasir’s views didn’t tally with Sonu Nigam’s.

For Armaan Mallik things were different. He comes from a family of musicians. He started working when he was 19 years of age and got his first film when he was 24. He claims it to be equally difficult with failures by his way into the industry and even more difficult for his brother Amaal Mallik.

Music director Rochak Kohli shared  his approach towards singers; be it a newcomer or an established one he treats them all equally. To his statement he added names of singers like Arjit Singh and Sachet Tandon for justification. He terms it to be a progressive process.

It is clear that problems do exist in the industry and, yes, there is Monopoly of a few over it. Right from Badshah to Armaan Malik, Neha Kakkar to Shreya Goshal and Sonu Nigam to Arijit Singh all the top faces in the industry have labels like Zee Music Company or T- Series or Sony Music. The problem doesn’t lie with singers and producers working with labels but it is in labels that have monopoly over music. This is definitely making it difficult for the new comers to get recognition.

Hussain Saify