5 suggestions to recognize film music’s “extras”

Ever wondered who played the violin in Yeh Ab Aap Sochiye (Mere Sanam); the sitar in Deewana Hua Baadal (Kashmir Ki Kali); the harmonica in Ye Dosti (Sholay); the accordion in Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega (Sangam); the guitar in Ilaya Nila (Payanangal Mudivadhillai); or even who whistled in Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke (Nau Do Gyarah)? I researched and haven’t found any record yet. It appears that we have failed to recognize and give credit to hundreds of instrumentalists and other artistes who have contributed to film music over decades.

However, recent releases (not sure when the trend started), seem to be doing a very good job of giving credit to people involved in the creation of the music. Inserts are getting meatier and provide a lot of information, including the lyrics and credits for the musicians and the recording crew. Sharing credit is a no-brainer because all parties win. Contributors get recognized; creators (labels, producers, music directors) appear nice because everyone likes people who share credit publicly and visibly; consumers get information. Can anyone, who has seen “Om Shanti Om”, forget the credits for the movie? My esteem for Farah Khan went up several notches for giving the credits a human touch. In general, movie folks seem to do a better job at sharing credit than their music industry counterparts.

While the detailed inserts are welcome, I have the following suggestions to offer:

  1. Standardize the nomenclature and format for sharing credits on the inserts, so that finding information becomes easy and intuitive.
  2. Make the insert available in digital form.
  3. Provide information on a per song basis.
  4. Add an audio clip that gives credit to all contributors. When compared to inserts, audio clips would be more easily accessible, more closely associated with the music and less likely to be misplaced.
  5. Throw in a “Making of the music” audio or video. Credit for individual contribution is nice but what people really love are stories of collaboration between the musicians. A great example is the “Making of Veer Zaara” CD.

The extra offerings should not come at extra cost. Instead, they should be provided as incentive to people who buy music, by using DRM type technology or providing online access based on a key/code provided during purchase.