Thursday 21 June 2012

Who’s the Singer, Lyricist, Composer…

Ms. Shubha Mudgal, recently tweeted, “Appeal to the music lovers. Please, let’s ask FM stations in India to start announcing credits for music they play. They hardly ever do so”.
My Two Cents
I agree with what Ms. Mudgal has to say. As a listener, there are times when I like a particular song on radio, and instinctively the question pops in my mind..."Which movie…?", though it’s difficult to define the degree of likeness, but based on how much one appreciates the song on-air, the next questions are who is the singer, composer, etc.
Television broadcast of songs on popular music channels usually include three lines of customary credits which include Name of the Song, Name of the Film and Music Label, shown once at the beginning and later towards end of the song (depending upon the policy adopted by the channel). Television being a media that engages both visual and aural faculties, display of customary credits once the song is rolling does not eat into the air time of the TV Channel.
From the perspective of the radio business owner, announcing customary credits or acknowledging singer, composer, lyricist, film etc. at the beginning of each song shrinks precious real estate of the station, the AIR TIME. Assuming acknowledgements are not read out in a manner in which disclaimers are read towards the end of ads featuring mutual fund products…”Mutual fund investments are subject to market risks, please read the offer document carefully before investing”…(read out in two seconds flat!), it will take the station jockey at least 10 seconds to acknowledge the four parameters of film, lyricist, composer and singer. Assuming a station plays 10 – 12 songs in an hour, it is a hit of approximately 2 minutes on the valuable inventory (AIR TIME) of the station.
If the listening pleasure is not being compromised by the lack of ‘meta data’ for each song, is it worth for the station to read it out? I say no! It’s not that credits are ‘never’ given to any song. Being an avid listener of two hindi radio stations in Bangalore, I can vouch that new songs that debut on these stations are given due credits. Even for existing ones, a random sampling usually throws up a pattern like: RJ Talk > Up coming Back to Back Song Pre-listen > Occasional mention of film name > Commercial Break > Back to Back Songs.
Though as a practice, instutionalization of customary credits on contemporary FM radio stations sounds more like state owned radio broadcasts, which fortunately are not strained by commercial considerations but rather on how to deploy the monetary grants, unlike private FM broadcasters.
Today FM radio stations are not confined to on-air terrestrial presence. One can engage with them vide their mobile apps, website, WAP site and social media presence. A middle path, without compromising on commercial considerations, will be attribution of the song to its creators/performers, in an off-air environment.
Station websites can include names of the Lyricist, Composer and Singer in the Top 10/20/30/40 charts on their websites. Information on songs including attribution to its creators is a good conversation starter on the social media presence of the station and is a common practice on certain social media channels owned by FM stations.
So, why the fuss and why stations should be apologetic about this whole tweet thing?
Please share your thoughts on this!


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  2. If I were to fancy myself a singer/composer and witness my creation entertaining the listeners and yielding wealth to a radio station or recording company and yet observe my association to the song enduring an existential crisis, I would perhaps remark the same as Ms. Shuba Mudgal has. The primary question is not how an RJ would manage to do it, but wheteher he or she should or should not.
    As an RJ myself, I have noted the name of the singer and more often the composer getting lost behind the noise. A song belongs to which movie and is picturised on which actor is another thing but after all who remembers the singer and the composer? I agree that reading out credits at the beginning or the end will be boring, but come on, doing this would be making the classical mistake of mapping Television and Radio one on one. Radio sans it visuals is much more than a TV. Anything engaging does not constitute eating up of airtime and I believe a good RJ can definitely figure out how to do it in an innovative and interesting way. Welcome to the Radio!!!!

  3. Fantastic blog Keep giving us knowledge in the same manner.

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