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Mumbai Producer Rohan Rajadhyaksha Addresses Ethics in The Music Scene

‘It’s a personal thing that will have to change with time,’ the composer, keyboardist and vocalist says

David Britto Aug 17, 2020

Mumbai composer Rohan Rajadhyaksha. Photo: Parizad D

Yesterday, Mumbai musician Rohan Rajadhyaksha (keyboardist-vocalist of alt-rockers Spud in the Box) posed pointed questions about royalties and producer credits over on his Instagram, asking why a fairly universal professional courtesy is not given in the Indian music industry.

He says, “A lot of people got in touch with me kind of sharing that they felt similarly but it’s on different levels. It’s not something that’s a quick fix or it’s not something that you can wave a magic wand and tomorrow it’s going to change or anything. It’s a personal thing that will have to change with ethics and time.”

Rajadhyaksha tells us that he’s experienced times where he’s had to demand royalties or credits. “I can only speak on my behalf, but yeah, 100 percent I’ve been in that situation,” he says. The musician also mentions that usually for film projects (like being part of Mumbai’s Salvage Audio Collective for hip-hop film Gully Boy) there are contracts in place but indie work is mostly a “friendly situation.” The pianist says, “That I guess has to change. Some people do have contracts for indie stuff also now, and that’s great. And that’s something we have to start doing, for sure.” He adds, “It’s a learning curve, in the sense that I don’t think anybody is following 100 percent protocol. We’re a very nascent industry over here. So protocol is forming as we go along.”

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The artist explains that we can take only so much from the west because things aren’t the same in India. Rajadhyaksha feels that constant reminders and keeping in touch with people from the music community as well as having an open dialogue on this subject is important for it to grow. “We should basically just make sure everyone’s okay,” he says. The keyboardist adds, “They [musicians] don’t often realize that the 10 other people that are employed or asked to help on that project or even if it comes to artwork. I think it has to do with communication and a fair process acknowledging that, without this person or without this input, this product wouldn’t be what it is.”

Rajadhyaksha also notes that everyone is human and that at times people might forget these protocols or ethics, including himself. However, he explains the issue arises when the conversation brought up about it is met with confusion, metric denial or more problems. “It’s happened a few times to the point where I felt the need to post [about] that,” he says.

Watch Mumbai producer Ayan De speak about a related issue about ethics on his IGTV.