In the 90s, T-Series was one of the few music labels that churned out some of the best independent albums with top <g data-gr-id="254">artistes</g>. Now it looks like the label is going down the same path once again with its new initiative of releasing singles almost every month. The recently released Chal <g data-gr-id="255">wahan</g> <g data-gr-id="256">jaate</g> <g data-gr-id="257">hain</g>, has drawn a phenomenal response and the label is all set to release another single, Dheere <g data-gr-id="258">dheere</g> <g data-gr-id="259">se</g> from Aashiqui, featuring Hrithik Roshan and Sonam Kapoor. And it’s not only in the music industry but T-Series is also making its presence felt in almost every facets in the entertainment industry.
From associating with Saavn for mobile music streaming to launching its own YouTube kids’ channel as well as acquiring the music rights of films along with the production of its own films, T-Series has its hands full. Bhushan Kumar, Chairman and Managing Director, T-Series, speaks to Swagata Panjari on his new singles initiative and plans for producing films and music acquisitions. Excerpts:
For Bajrangi Bhaijaan, T-Series took a unique approach of releasing and promoting singles, instead of launching the whole album. Will we see the same approach for your future projects?
BK: We are following this approach for all film songs. When you release single tracks instead of a full album, whether video or audio, it is easier to gauge the response for each song. It also gives each song the time it needs to get its due appreciation. Nowadays, there are so many films releasing with each film having at least five songs. There is already so much competition that the need of the hour is to let every song grow on you.
In the last few months, T-Series released many independent singles. What were your thoughts while coming up with this initiative and will we see more such singles in the future?
BK: A long time ago T-Series used to release music albums of the likes of Sonu Nigam, Pankaj Udhas, Adnan Sami and Agam Kumar Nigam, among others. Back then these albums worked way better than film albums. The era of music albums disappeared over <g data-gr-id="244">time</g> but the magic of these songs stayed with us. I wanted to relive those days and with so many composers and singers who are keen to explore we decided to make some singles and study the response. We started with Yo! Yo! Honey Singh’s singles, Blue eyes and One bottle down to which we received a huge response. So
we ahead to make more albums/singles.
After <g data-gr-id="235">that</g> there was no looking back as we received great support from the media and audience. We had Ayushmann Khurrana’s Mitti di <g data-gr-id="237">khushboo</g>, Honey Singh’s Desi <g data-gr-id="234">Kalakaar</g> and the more recent Zindagi aa <g data-gr-id="238">raha</g> hoon main and Chal <g data-gr-id="239">wahan</g> <g data-gr-id="240">jaate</g> <g data-gr-id="241">hain</g>. We are making many more singles, the names of which we’ll announce soon. The single which we will release next month will be the re-created version of my father’s song Dheere <g data-gr-id="242">dheere</g> <g data-gr-id="243">se</g> from Aashiqui, which has been re-composed by Honey Singh and features Hrithik Roshan and Sonam Kapoor.
What was the response like to Chal <g data-gr-id="213">wahan</g> <g data-gr-id="214">jaate</g> <g data-gr-id="215">hain</g>? Have you tied up with any other actor or actress for this initiative?
BK: Chal <g data-gr-id="224">wahan</g> <g data-gr-id="225">jaate</g> <g data-gr-id="226">hain</g> is being appreciated by all and the video looks so beautiful that it garnered 5,882,008 (and counting) views on YouTube since it released. We will definitely release more singles over time. Since I started releasing singles, many actors and singers have appreciated this step and have shown their eagerness to work on singles in the future.
Tell us more about Hrithik and Sonam’s Dheere <g data-gr-id="209">dheere</g> <g data-gr-id="210">se</g>. How are you planning to promote and market this song?
BK: As an ode to my father, I am very excited to have re-created his cult movie Aashiqui’s song Dheere <g data-gr-id="247">dheere</g> <g data-gr-id="248">se</g>, which is still on everyone’s playlist. Yo! Yo! Honey Singh came to me one day and said that he wanted to re-create one of my father’s old tracks. I loved the idea and we worked on the re-creation of Dheere <g data-gr-id="249">dheere</g> <g data-gr-id="250">se</g>, together. I am grateful that both Hrithik and Sonam agreed to come on board for this. We have already shot the song and it will most probably release next month. Since the song is so special to all of us, we are chalking out a unique marketing strategy, from the launching of the video to its further promotions.
Zindagi aa <g data-gr-id="217">raha</g> hoon main was sung by Atif Aslam while Chal <g data-gr-id="218">wahan</g> <g data-gr-id="219">jaate</g> <g data-gr-id="220">hain</g> had Arijit Singh. Will this open doors for independent and upcoming <g data-gr-id="221">artistes</g> apart from the mainstream singers?
BK: Yes, we have been working with established singers but T-Series has always given a platform to new talent. We are happy to support them by promoting and marketing the songs on different media platforms. We recently signed <g data-gr-id="222">Amaal</g> Mallik and Armaan Malik and will give them various opportunities to showcase their work. Also, we will soon announce more <g data-gr-id="223">artiste</g> collaborations.
Who owns the creative rights to these songs?
BK: The creative rights of the singles are owned by T-Series. I am the one who sits in the music making sessions, I select the tune and work with the lyricists of each song. The creative control is with me and the decisions are also taken by me.
T-Series has been producing several films. Recently, you signed a two-film deal with Remo D’Souza and will also be producing Vipul Shah’s next. Has music acquisition taken a back seat?
BK: We are expanding by working with different directors and also planning a lot of joint productions. This enables us to work on different kinds of films and with various people. We have a lot of films under production and I am quite excited to bring them to the audience. We have Junooniyat, Sanam Re, Hate Story 3, Airlift and Cabaret already on the floors and will soon start working on Baadshaho and Love Affair. We are also working with Vipul Shah’s Saif Ali Khan-<g data-gr-id="253">starrer</g>, which is an adaptation of Before I Go To Sleep. We have signed Remo for two films and will lock those scripts soon.
We have also signed Mohit Suri and Anurag Basu and will soon green light their scripts before making official announcements. We are also planning Aashiqui 3 and Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin 2.
We want to grow in the movie production space but I won’t keep music acquisition on the back burner. T-Series was, and will always be a music label. We have acquired a lot of film music and will keep moving ahead in this space.
After Welcome Back and Hera Pheri 3, which other films are lined up for music acquisition?
BK: With Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Phantom and Bangistan already released, we have films like Hero, Fraud Saiyaan, Welcome Back, Rocky Handsome, Calendar Girls, Tamasha, Phir Se, Baaghi, Housefull 3, Jagga Jasoos, Rangoon and Dishoom along with the music of our own films.
What are your views on Friday being the new global release day for music? Do you think it will affect the music industry in India? Has the Indian music industry already started to abide by it?
BK: The concept is still very new for India. We have our plans chalked out as per the release date of our films. I think only one music label has started following this trend but I think it will take some time for the other labels to accept and for the audience to get accustomed to such a format.
How would you further enhance your offerings this year?
BK: The year started on a great note for us and I hope it only gets better. As I said, we have acquired a lot of film music that we will release as per the film release dates and will soon announce our other projects.
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