Saregama India Ltd: Striking a Digital Chord

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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR237
Case Length : 20 Pages
Period : 1986-2006
Organization : Saregama India Ltd.
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note :Not Available
Countries : India
Industry : Media and Entertainment

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Saregama: A Musical Journey

India has always been a land of music, with each of its states known for its unique musical heritage.

Music has always been a major form of entertainment in India, but it was only in 1895 that the first musical recordings became available. These were sold by the Mutoscope Biograph Company.

SIL's predecessor, the Gramophone and Typewriter Company (Gramco) began operations in India in 1901. It started a Gramophone record factory in Calcutta, West Bengal, in 1907. The very next year, the first recording studio and record pressing unit were also built.

Being the only recording company in India, Gramco ruled the Indian music industry. The company soon secured exclusive rights to market the His Master's Voice (HMV)5 brand in India.

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In the 1920s, Gramco faced competition in the form of Viel-O-Phone & Ramagraph and Odeon & Ruby Recording Company. However, these companies did not last long. In 1931, Gramco made history when it recorded the sound track for the movie Alam Ara, the first Hindi talkie.

Gramco became the Gramophone Company (India) Limited (GC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of EMI Records Ltd., on August 13, 1946. The company was headquartered at Calcutta. In 1956, the word 'private' was added to the name, to comply with the provisions of the Companies Act, 1956.

GC went on to dominate the Indian music industry, recording almost all the songs recorded in the late 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s -- a period considered the golden era of Hindi film music.

Some of the songs recorded included songs from memorable films like Mahal, and Barsaat, from the 1940s, Shri 420, Pyaasa, Awaara, and Madhumati from the 1950s, and Guide, Teesri Manzil, and Jewel Thief from the 1960s.

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5] His Master's Voice or HMV is a popular trademark in the music industry. The name was first coined in 1899 as the title of a painting of a fox terrier listening to his master's recorded voice from a wind-up gramophone by an English artist - Francis Berrard. The painting was purchased by The Gramophone Company in the same year and was used in its publicity material from 1900 onwards.


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