Labels agree to distribute each other's music

EMI and Eros Music Publishing, part of Bollywood giant Eros Intl., have pacted to distribute each other’s catalogs.

Under the terms of the deal, announced Thursday, EMI will represent Eros’ Bollywood and South Asian composers around the world, excluding India, while Eros will distribute EMI’s catalog of 1.3 million songs across Indian platforms.

The companies first worked together last year to obtain a license for “Beedi” (music by Vishal Bhardwaj and lyrics by Gulzar for Bollywood film “Omkara”) as the title theme for Brazilian telenovela “Caminho das Indias.”

Indian music has had little impact outside the country so far with the exception of composer A.R. Rahman’s Oscar and Grammy-winning soundtrack for “Slumdog Millionaire,” which reached No. 1 on Billboard’s top electronic albums chart and peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart.

India’s market is dominated by soundtracks, which account for about 70% of music sales, according to the Indian Music Industry org. With the advent of digital music, the effect of piracy has been reduced.

International music has only a 6% market share, with devotional and homegrown nonfilm albums accounting for the rest. Annual revenues are estimated at 10.2 billion rupees ($220.3 million), of which music sales contribute 92%, mobile ringtones 5% and royalties 3%.

Eros Music Publishing exec director Andrew Heffernan said, “Local music dominates the Indian market, but changes in consumption and new technologies mean that the opportunity for EMI’s catalog in India is growing.”

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