Many predicted that 2017 would become a year where major new artist releases are regularly ‘windowed’ on pay-only tiers of streaming services.
That forecast was lent more certainty when both Universal Music Group and Merlin struck multi-year licensing deals with Spotify which explicitly gave them the freedom to put their music behind limited-time paywalls.
Now, in a pioneering move, the seal has been broken – in India.
Sony Music has negotiated with leading streaming services in the territory such as Saavn, Gaana, Apple Music and Hungama to force fans to pay for subscriptions if they want to listen to the hotly-anticipated new single by established local star Pritam.
The track, Phurr, is a collaboration with an artist who will be well known to global audiences: superstar DJ and producer Diplo, who previously offered career-boosting services to Justin Bieber.
Phurr is taken from the upcoming comedy/musical film Jab Harry Met Sejal (pictured) from production house Red Chillies, and also features the two stars of the movie, Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma.
“The concept of ‘everything-free’ will change or rather needs to change to an ecosystem where some things will be free and other things will be paid.”
Shridhar Subramaniam, Sony Music India
The song will arrive for fans willing to pay for it on Friday (August 3) alongside a YouTube teaser of the video.
Sony Music Entertainment, India and Middle East president. Shridhar Subramaniam said. “The concept of ‘everything-free’ will change or rather needs to change to an ecosystem where some things will be free and other things will be paid.
“The reason ‘Phurr’ was chosen is because it is the biggest project of the year with an international collaboration, so we felt that if we are taking this step, then we must do it with a very big song. We needed a big project with a must-listen song that had so much anticipation.
“We’re inserting a paid window in the music business which didn’t exist prior to this.”
He added: “At the end of the day, it is the health of the music industry and the health of the platforms that are at stake, and this decision directly benefits the health of the creators. They will definitely be in for this.
“[Sony], Red Chillies, Shah Rukh Khan and Pritam embraced this idea whole-hardheartedly.”Music Business Worldwide