The Team at IPRS
Mr. Rakesh Nigam, CEO IPRS

For me, the IPRS journey from being an INR 9 Crore, 25-employee company, to an imposing INR 300 Crore institution can largely be attributed to the hard work and passion of the IPRS team that drives the organization. Upbeat, as we are with this continued success, scaling up to INR 400 Crores is our target by the coming year. While royalties are the final outcome, the story behind the scenes includes a robust machinery and multiple teams managing different aspects of the business. Join me as I take you through the multiple functions and roles at IPRS.

The membership team is the gateway into our world here at IPRS. The team ensures that our members’ journey with IPRS is smooth sailing from the beginning. One of their key task is to build awareness about IPRS and the critical role of a copyright society. They play a significant role in identifying and reaching out to prospective members from varied genres of music from all around the country and help to build a strong community of music creators and publishers in India. As a result of the regular awareness and outreach initiatives IPRS today is a representative body of over 9000 talented songwriters, composers and leading music publishers.

As a society for the members, by the members and of the members, the team leaves no stone unturned to ensure that our members have a beneficial and rewarding relationship with IPRS. The team is readily accessible to address member queries. Through an efficient channel of communication over emails, messages and calls, they ensure that our members are well informed about the latest development and initiatives at IPRS. In an attempt to upskill and educate our members, the membership team arranges regular training sessions and workshops. A dedicated member helpdesk has also been put up where members can reach out and interact with the team to clarify their doubts. The Membership team also serves as a bridge between the members and internal departments at IPRS. The Membership team at IPRS is thus the one point contact for all existing and prospective members. They play a significant role in enrolling and retaining a strong member base, while building flourishing community of music creators and publishers.

This team is the backbone of IPRS and facilitates the registration of the works submitted by the members. It goes without saying that the foundation of the music industry and a copyright society is Metadata. The lack of proper Metadata has been the bane of the music industry for years. Inaccurate meta-data has led to huge financial losses for creators and publishers. This is where the critical role of the documentation team at IPRS comes to the fore. Focusing on accuracy, the documentation team verifies and ensures that only error-free data is ingested into our system, thus ensuring accurate data and proper royalty distribution to our members. The Documentation team along with the membership team conducts online training sessions for the members to familiarize them with the online data registration process. It is an initiative to help our members transition smoothly from an offline to online mode of working. We are gradually transitioning away from hard copies and urging our members to upload work in a soft copy format. And this is a significant step towards a digital, paperless, and efficient way for members to submit their works.

Administering licenses to music users for commercial usage of music is arguably one of the most challenging and critical functions at IPRS. Compliance with the law is the need of the hour, thus the licensing regime aims to convince commercial music users procure licenses so our members get duly paid for the music they make.

The IPRS licensing team goes about its task with single minded dedication and perseverance, reaching out to entities, business owners and commercial institutions introducing them to the music licensing norms, driving effective conversation on the importance of procuring a music license, and ensuring that a music license is taken for the commercial utilization of our members works.

One of the frequent challenges faced by the IPRS licensing team is tackling the mindset that music is free. The irrefutable fact that music is an integral part of our culture and tradition, when coupled with the fact that it has always been available for free as and when we want to use it, often strengthens the belief that music is free. This is a hardwired understanding prevailing across many in India and needs to be tackled with care as it involves a change in mindset. The IPRS licensing team realizes that this is a long haul and is slowly but surely managing to soften the resistance.

Retaining clients who take the IPRS license is also another area needing constant surveillance. The licensing vertical at IPRS comprises specific teams managing the different platforms and avenues playing music. The Public Performance team monitors licensing for all public places like bars, pubs, malls, retail outlets, hotels, live events, and commercial venues where music is played. The broadcasting team deals with the musical works telecast on television, radio, and other broadcasting platforms. A dedicated team focuses on licensing in the telecom sector and reaches out to all telecom operators to drive compliance. The OTT team deals with various Digital Service Providers and Online streaming platforms for license acquisition. It is this gamut of teams that ensures that our members are duly compensated for their creations.

The distribution team allocates the money against the works registered to help remunerate the rightful owners in the most accurate manner. The massive task of managing trillion lines of data and allocating the revenue generated to the member is undertaken by the distribution team. This is done by matching the music usage to the works data received from our members. The distribution team also analyses data inconsistencies received from various music platforms and forwards them to the documentation team to be rectified with the members.

The distribution process has been streamlined to improve efficiency and decrease errors in royalty allocation. Distribution of accurate royalties to our members is one of the core functions of a Copyright Society like IPRS.

Finance Department
Both, our day-to-day and long-term monetary operations are managed by the Finance department. Besides its everyday functions, the department has to ensure that the collected revenues finally reach the members. While the documentation team focuses on registering the member data, the distribution team filters through the trillion lines of data and allocates the revenue earned by the members, the finance team ensures that the revenue reaches the member’s account. The finance team is the vigil that keeps a record of the revenue coming in and the royalties being distributed out. In collaboration with the distribution department, the finance department releases the annual transparency report to provide an increased transparency and efficiency in the inflow and outflow of revenues.

Information technology is ubiquitous today. It became apparent during the COVID period that the wheels of commerce ran on the services provided by Information Technology (IT). IPRS also reinvented itself with the changing dynamics of music consumption. And with it, the role of IT became pervasive since it is impossible to process the huge amount of data registered with IPRS manually to identify the works of our members and claim them for distribution to our members. With member work data registered crossing the 1.1 million mark, numerous claims, data, enrollment, licensing, and other peripheral activities, IPRS is saddled with a series of responsibilities. At IPRS, we deal with the collection and filtering of data, it is therefore only reasonable that our IT team provides us with the best-in-class infrastructure, thoroughly secure in every way to meet the rising demands of the organization. From the moment a member has decided to join us till the moment the member receives their royalty, we are reliant on robust technology for everything to happen in an easy transition. Keeping with its vow to bring transparency to its members, IPRS has tied up with Back-office Music services to provide a world-class Members Portal. The portal allows our members to have control and visibility of their data and works. We are also the proud owners of the ISO 27001 certificate for improved security of our members’ data.

Legal & International Relations
The Legal team is the guiding light for all legal and statutory matters. While we have multiple teams to make sure that every step of the business is meticulously managed and executed to the best benefit of our members, things are not as simple as it seems. Even with the systems and process and the law in place, there are multiple challenges as a copyright society we have to face. Being a copyright society, it is imperative that our documents and agreements are in complete compliance. From the intricacies of the agreements signed by our members to the multiple deals executed by the licensing teams, the legal team offers the required guidance in every legal matter and statutory documents. Compliance being one of the biggest issues faced by our society, the legal team stands up and fights those legal battles against music users who are reluctant or are unwilling to procure licenses and pay royalties.

We as a copyright society we put in continuous efforts to expand our global footprint. The International Relations team helps in materializing reciprocal agreement with our sister societies to ensure that our members don’t miss on their due royalties for the music played in territories outside India.

HR department
As an organisation we require an equally competent team to match the expanding role of the society. While upskilling and developing the teams within IPRS, the HR team scouts and recruits highly motivated individuals dedicated to reaching new milestones with us. The HR goes the extra mile in setting the seal on drawing the best employee performances through monitoring and regular upskilling via training and other intensive programs and events. HR plays a significant role in developing positive business culture and improving employee morale and productivity.

Corporate Communication
Effective communication is the key to success for any business entity. The Corporate Communication team plays a critical task in highlighting the role of IPRS as a Copyright Society. It helps to establish a regular flow of information both with our internal and external stakeholders. IPRS conducts multiple member benefit programmes where the Corporate Communication team plays an important role in designing and publishing those information in an easy to understand format across multiple channels. It is also the team behind the regular PR initiatives and campaigns launched by IPRS from time to time.

A creative world of tomorrow, we believe, can only be fortified with a strong community that goes out of its way to protect the rights of its members. The Corporate Communication division is the de facto voice of brand IPRS, engaged in upholding the issues that will shape the future of music and its makers through effective messaging across all channels of communication, reaching out to the audience and decision makers.

As an organization, we’ve come a long way, but there is much more to do and many more coveted destinations to attain. I have no doubt in my mind that we are rapidly gearing ourselves to become one of the most sought-after copyright societies in Asia. It is therefore imperative that team IPRS functions as a well-oiled unit ready to take on all emerging challenges by being ahead of the growth curve. The idea is to maximize the value we add and grow exponentially as we have been in recent times.