Why Ilaiyaraaja sent a legal notice to SPB ?

Chennai, Mar 20(tamilnaducentral): Though the public opinion trending on the net is against Ilaiyaraaja for sending a legal notice to SPB, the composer is well within his rights to do so. Secondly, the composer had not taken this decision to ask for royalty for the first time. Thirdly, Ilaiyaraaja and SPB were not on talking terms for either of them to take up the phone and sort things out.

A leading singer cum composer,who is also a top office bearer of a musicians’ association, revealed the truth behind the SPB-Ilaiyaraaja spat. He said that two years back, the composer called a meeting of all light music troupes at Vani Mahal in Chennai. It was attended by members of the cine musicians’ union. At the meeting, Isai Gnani said that the Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS) was not giving the due percentage that it collect as royalty from those who sang his compositions on stage. He was not even paid 10% of the money collected in his name, he alleged. IPRS used to deduct a large sum as expenses and did not specify for what it was used. He said that he has pulled out of IPRS.

He told the orchestra troupes who played his film songs on stage to come to his office and pay the royalty. He left it to them to decide on the amount. He also told them that he had never put up a fixed price for music direction and varied according to the budget of the film and the subject. The cine musicians’ union that gives out pension to several musicians who have fallen on bad times is funded by the maestro, reveals the source.

As per law, music director, lyricist, producer or music company and the singer in that order get royalty. Major chunk goes to the composer and lyricist. The source said that Ilaiyaraaja had only done something that benefits music directors, lyricists and singers. He also pointed out that the legal notice has not stated any amount. He said that actors engage managers to handle date and money issues with the producer and similarly the music director has a legal cell that looks after piracy and copyright issues. Even though the actor is pally with the producer, the manager fixes a price and sees it reaches his boss. This too was a similar exercise, he says.

Ilaiyaraja had planned a tour of five US cities in September 2016. In 2013, he held a concert in USA. Kalalaya, an organisation that promotes Indian arts and culture in California was the organiser. A 50-member orchestra was in place. The organisers approached SPB. His manager quoted a price which Ilaiyaraja did not even get in the peak 1990’s of his career. A pained Ilaiyaraaja went ahead ¬†with the tour and used newcomer’s voice.

A Rahman after a couple of hits made a foolproof system by which he held the music distribution rights of all movies that he scored. He made this as a part of the agreement covering his fees.

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