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THE POWER OF SINGLES

By Sindhu Vijayakumar

It’s the season of singles. Kollywood has been witnessing the release of single track audios at a steady pace and everyone associated with it seems to be enjoying the rewards like never before. Releasing the single from the album ahead of the audio launch has become the latest trend in Kollywood. Behindwoods.com takes a look on these singles…

The history of single track launches in Tamil can be traced back to the music release of Priyadarshan’s Lesa Lesa in 2003, which pushed Trisha to the heroine status. The producer of the film, Vikram Singh chose to release the single track audio of the film at a rate of Rs 12 to avoid piracy. The film’s music was by Harris Jayaraj and the lyrics were by Vaali.

However, it took almost 7 years for Kollywood to take a cue from it and it was Simbu who came up with the novel idea to promote his film Vaanam by releasing a single track. The song, Evan Di Unna Pethan, sung by him was separately released as a single track to promote and popularize the film. Initially the track was planned to be launched in London, but after some delay it was officially unveiled in Chennai in November 2010, almost four months before the actual audio launch. Nevertheless, the song went on to become a rage.

Ajith’s 50th movie Mankatha’s hype was doubled as the music label decided to release its single Vilayadu Mankatha, at one of the FM stations and it went on to become a chartbuster. Interestingly, Yuvan Shankar Raja was the composer for both Vaanam and Mankatha. Yuvan later created history as music composer with the single launch of Vikram starrer Rajapattai and Madhavan-Arya starrer Vettai.

After the stupendous success of Ko, RS Infotainment came up with Muppozhudhum Un Karpanaigal (MUK) with Atharva and Amala Paul in the lead. The film was directed by Elred Kumar and had music by GV Prakash. Elred Kumar says about MUK’s music launch, “We did our single track launch in a unique way as we released the Oru Murai…song sung by GV himself at Chennai. Ko’s hero Jiiva launched the album. However, the song’s remix version was released at Las Vegas with much fanfare.” Explaining the logic behind the single track launch, he says, “While acting in MUK, Atharva and Amala Paul were medium level artistes. When a single track audio is released, there’s considerable hype around it and it helps not only the songs but the artistes to garner eyeballs. Single track launches help films like a teaser and going by it people will be able to gauge the quality of not only the music and lyrics but also the quality of the film.”

It seems, as a single track is normally released 3 to 4 months in advance, it helps the audience to get a feel of the film.

“More than established artistes, it helps medium level actors and their films,” he adds. Agreeing to him is music composer GV Prakash, who says that single tracks of albums are like trailers to movies. Though there’s nothing special about single track launches, one should have confidence in the work and ensure that he showcases the best to reap the best benefit out of it. While single tracks have been the norm in Bollywood, we are waking up to it a little late,” says he.

It’s a well-known fact that it was the launch of Why this Kolaveri Di, as a single that made people sit up and take note. Kollywood witnessed the power of single track with Dhanush’s song for the film 3, directed by his wife Aishwarya. Due to its unique marketing strategy coupled with star power, the debutant music director Anirudh became an international phenomenon winning accolades and awards. The film’s prospects touched a new level due to the song. And once the film was released, the film’s picturisation generated enough debates on the plus and minuses of it.  

Actor Krishna whose film Kazhugu released to mixed reviews is all smiles when talking about its single track. He says, “We wanted to create some hype and increase the expectation level for the film. When we decided to create the video of the song Ambilaikkum pombalaikkum with celebs, it took my film to its next level. It helped to bring in audience to the theatres in droves as they wanted to see the picturisation of the song and its placement in the film.”

Some other songs that got released as singles in the recent times include Makayela… from Vijay Antony starrer Naan and the Gangster… song from Billa 2. Both the songs have created enough hype in the market. And recently Karthi starrer Saguni went a step ahead and released two tracks from the film, Vella PambaramPotathu Pathale, which are making waves.

Pazhaya Vannarapettai and Rosa are some other flicks that have launched their single track and waiting for release.

According to G.Dhananjayan, Chief - South Film Business of UTV Motion Pictures, "Single track gives a good introduction for a film to the audience especially for a big artiste film ... if the single track clicks, it generates big buzz around the film, which helps in the film's business. Hence, it is important a good commercial single track is released, which appeals to the audience. However, it can work against the film, if the single track does not click with the audience.  The need of the hour for a big film is great opening, which has to be systematically built up ... single track is one such tool, which can help to achieve this. Further, normally the music album is released a month prior to the film's release, which is too close to build the film in the audience's mind. Releasing single track much in advance (at least 45 - 60 days prior to film's release) helps to keep the film in lime light among the audience and trade. Hence, the single track release is a good tool. However, as already mentioned, it can work negatively if it is not a good track."

Music aficionado and manager of popular band Hip Hop Tamizha, Karthik  Srinivasan observes that the single track launches attract a huge number of i-tune downloads. He says, “When a single track is launched, there’s a lot of excitement and expectation. When the track is good, an opinion is created about the film in the minds of the people and they look forward to the film. They use the single tracks as a scale to measure the grandiose of the film and it works wonders.”

No wonder that singles work big time. Hail singles…

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