A few days ago, veteran singer Sonu Nigam, while speaking about Sushant Singh Rajput's suicide, had revealed how two big music companies had been exploiting aspiring singers at their own will. His Instagram video had opened a can of worms that has triggered the fraternity to rethink about the functioning of the music industry.
While many including Bhushan Kumar's wife Divya Khosla Kumar disagreed with Sonu, singers like Adnan Sami, Monali Thakur and Alisha Chinai backed Sonu's claims of the existence of music mafias who try to control the talent. And now Salim Merchant of Salim-Sulaiman music composer duo, has joined the bandwagon saying that whatever Sonu said in his vlog is the truth.
"It is not just the singers, the composers are also going through a tough time. The record labels he is talking about have certain music directors and singers they work with. There are certain artistes they have signed. There is definitely that favoritism for certain artistes and composers, which these labels work with," Salim Merchant told Hindustan Times.
He further added, "There are a lot of composers like me, who don't want to do just one song in the film. But there are others who are comfortable with the record labels terms and conditions and are okay to compose just one song in the film. Sonu Nigam has not said anything wrong. Whatever he has said is the truth. There are singers who gets called and they get dumped later on. There are so many directors who want to work with composers like ourselves, but when it reaches the record labels, they have their own conditions and they feel they cannot work with us."
Salim Merchant sheds some light on how the music industry functions
When Salim was asked if ever he was asked to replace any singer while composing music, he said, "No we haven't been asked to. However, we have got feedbacks from directors and producers to try another singer. And indulged in trying but it has been very peaceful and was done very respectfully. These decisions have been taken mutually. For instance, for Ainvayi Ainvayi Lut Gaya (Band Baaja Baarat; 2010), we had recorded with Master Salim, who has a folk touch in his voice. And Aditya Chopra wanted a lighter voice for Ranveer Singh. And we tried another singer that was me. But this decision was mutual. Yet we kept Master Salim's credit in the end credits."
Salim said that it really breaks him when something like this comes up. He said that the creative process that gets hampered is just one level and there's more to it. "Sulaiman and I had worked on a project with a new director. The music turned out so good that it helped them get a really big actor on board. Then they took it to a big production house/record company, and they said, 'we love the film, but please change the composers.' They have some personal vendetta against us, I don't know why. It is about time that people find about it," Salim shared some anecdotes from his personal experience.