With the advent of renewed activities from BLCPS (Bangladesh Lyricists, Composers and Performers Society), things are looking upward for the music industry. As World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) now certify the CMO, the organisation has promised to obtain proper royalty collection and disbursement for all signed artistes down the line. We talked to some musicians from the band industry for their perspective on these activities.
"While I am extremely happy that initiatives are being taken to ensure artistes' rights, we have to manage our expecations," says Sufi, the vocalist of rock band Arbovirus. "Nothing will change overnight, and we have to not only work hard to establish a structure, but also change the mentality of listeners and musicians." The energetic vocalist went on to highlight the socio-economic factors that might hinder this prowess, stating that the people should be made aware that music is also a commodity that has to be paid for, much like any other product they buy. "As musicians, we heavily rely on shows to get by. At these times, if the members of Arbovirus did not have other jobs, we would starve. It is harsh, but it is the truth." Sufi went on to mention that alongside Arbovirus enlisting with BLCPS, he personally joined Singers' Association of Bangladesh.
Trainwreck and Poraho were among the first wave of bands to join BLCPS. "I remember the time when we used to perform on the radio, and they would tell us that our song is 'trending' on their station," says A K Rahul, a member of both the popular bands. "Now that we have matured, we have come to realise that it is not only ethically wrong, but illegal that they played our music without our knowledge. I have full faith in BLCPS, and the fact that we will eventually be able to collect royalty from all places playing our music." The multi-instrumentalist added that if payment methods were made easier for the audiences, people would be more likely to pay for music. "Buying a song for BDT 10 is nothing in this day and age, its just that the process is complicated. Think about apps like Uber and Pathao, do you think twice before using them? Probably not, because you can pay in a variety of ways. This is what streaming sites have to do, besides actually paying us for streaming our music (laughs)."
A K Ratul, the vocalist and bassist of Owned, is cautiously hopeful for the future. "I just hope that these goals can be implemented," he says. "I remember being promised a lot by streaming sites in particular, and not seeing any actual money, even after years. We would be ecstatic if these situations are rectified under a CMO."
Even though Conclusion is a popular band among listeners of rock music, it has yet to see a steady income from the industry. "To be honest, I did not know about BLCPS until just now. It would be a game-changer if we could actually get our due revenue from all the songs that we have out," says Atif Imtiaz, Conclusion's vocalist.
Alif Alauddin, besides being a renowned anchor and solo artiste, is also known for being one of the vocalist of the band Pentagon. "My father, Alauddin Ali, worked very hard until the very end to make BLCPS an organisation that gets artistes their due," she says. "Even when he was very sick with cancer, he worked for the organisation. I have faith in BLCPS, and I know that they would ensure a more structured industry for us in the future - one where artistes will get steady revenue from," she concludes.
PHOTOS: STAR & COLLECTED