Exclusive: YRF Has Not Paid Royalties to Us, Says Salim Merchant

Salim Merchant talks about not being paid by Yash Raj Films.

Updated
Music
2 min read
Duo Salim-Sulaiman say Yash Raj Films has not paid them their dues.
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The Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS), a body that represents composers, musicians and lyricists, on Wednesday, 20 November, filed an FIR against production house Yash Raj Films over the purported unauthorised collection of over Rs 100 crores in music royalty belonging to IPRS members. It has alleged that YRF has “prevented the body from collecting royalties from telecom companies, radio stations and music streaming platforms by pressuring artists into signing illegal agreements.”

Salim Merchant, part of composer duo Salim-Sulaiman, opened up about the allegations in an exclusive chat with The Quint, saying that YRF has failed to pay royalties owed to them despite having collected them on their behalf.

He says,

“Yash Raj has been collecting money on behalf of the composer and lyricist – that much I know – but I don’t know whether they have paid anyone. They have certainly not paid me and Sulaiman.
Salim Merchant, Artiste

Salim also claims that Bhushan Kumar’s T-Series is another production company that has not paid artistes their royalties. He says that the IPRS had spoken to T-Series about the matter though a final decision is awaited. “It’s Yash Raj and T-Series, these two companies have not been paying,” he says.

Salim tells us that lyricist Javed Akhtar, who is also the chairperson of the IPRS, has also not been paid his dues. “I know Javed Akhtar sahib has not been paid, for sure. Because my last meeting with him... you know he's not been paid, Sulaiman and I have not been paid – any royalties that have come from Yash Raj, we have not been paid,” says the musician.

When asked whether the non-payment of dues has affected the duo’s career, he says,

“I didn’t think like that it is going to affect my career. There are lots of other companies like Zee Music, Sa Re Ga Ma, Sony Music. So whatever music we’ve been doing in the recent past are with these companies.”
Salim Merchant

Salim-Sulaiman say they haven’t worked with Yash Raj in the past four years. The duo have been focusing on making independent music and performing at concerts around the world. Salim tells us,

“You can create a music album of your own, you can create a music single of your own and get your revenues from the streaming sites like Gaana, Spotify, Jio Saavn, Wynk music. I do make music for movies. But not just Hindi films. If a Hindi film comes my way, I do it.  I do make music on my terms.
Salim Merchant

Lyricist Sameer Anjaan, who is a member of the IPRS has also said that YRF has been flouting the Copyright Act passed in 2012 and claims that “T-Series is the other company which hasn’t paid dues” to the artistes.

The Quint has reached out to Yash Raj Films who are yet to respond.

The story has been updated after the reporter spoke to Salim Merchant and had certain facts clarified.

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