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ProjectGem Good Idea or not
Thursday, 29 April 2004
Why ProjectGem is not rolling?
Hi guys,

We need to look at why the orders are not rolling in ProjectGem. The current status of orders

Release 1 - 50 (minimum order quantity was 75)
Release 2 - 42 (minimum order quantity was 300)
Release 3 - 31 (No minimum orders)
Release 4 - 3 (minimum order quantity was 100)
Release 5 - 3 (minimum order quantity was 100)

Release 1 was ok, and we were able to convince the audio company

But for Release 2, 4 and 5 It is impossible to convince the audio company..

Could you please pass ur comments on why Gem is not rolling.

We sinceraly want to know the reasons and factors that are stopping us

Thanks..Vijay Kumar (For ProjectGem)

Posted by project-gem at 11:58 AM
Updated: Thursday, 29 April 2004 12:00 PM

Thursday, 29 April 2004 - 12:33 PM

Name: Prashanth Rao NR
Home Page: http://Project-gem.tripod.com

Thanks A B Vijaykumar. The effort put in by you on this discussion forum for ProjectGem is apt and timely.

The major and only one challenge I have is getting the order quantity for which the Audio companies will be ready to produce. Also the time it takes to reach the Quantity is a concern.
The Order quantity for Release 1 for instance has taken more than 4 months.

I request all of you to use this discussion forum and provide your comments, feelings, doubts, suggestions so that the momentum is there always for the ProjectGem and we reach the required order quantities.

I wish to mention that all of you can be frank and straightforward while passing your feelings and comments. We need them to correct the process and come up with action points to see that the ProjectGem is a Success.

Friday, 30 April 2004 - 9:38 AM

Name: Vicky
Home Page: http://www.geocities.com/violinvicky

Hi..

The main reason for the poor participation in the project Gem is the lack of willingness & the drive , by Raaja Fans. Second main reason is that, total dependence of the project on the fans group. The group may have about 500 people.. We can categorise them into a few categories.. One group is Raaja followers.. Illaiyaraaja is a way of life for them.. Other is an average music listener inspired by Raaja among others and feels good to participate in discussions related to Raaja. Other group can be passive listeners who lack the pulse of initiative and remain dormat always.. Other group can be doing just time pass..

Hence only the people of first category may be willing to shell out to buy genuine music.. For others music (even rarest music) is available cheaply (or even at no cost) and he doesn't see a point to invest more to listen to relatively unpopular scores.. Other reason obviously is language.. An average fan from one language background will not be ready to spend on music in other language..

To summarise, it was a mistake to assume that people in the forum will actively participate in the project. In TiS they participated actively because of two reasons.. 1.) The importance of the project was much more with Raaja himself participating in it actively.. 2.) It gave them a feel good factor that they are participating in something noble..

The only solution is to popularise Project gem outside this forum as much as possible.. But that introduces some problem in its own ways.. First and foremost would be credibility. An unknown third person will think twice/ thrice before ordering a Raaja CD of unknown movie from a purely unknown source.. When it comes to paying the money, he will drop out.. (Absolutely no offence meant here for the Project Gem organisers.. they are doing a terrific job.. But I'm just speaking for a unknown 3rd person). To tackle this problem, we may become partners of some famous web-sites and utilise their brand image and stuffs like that.. But by doing that the project will become Commercial and loose its purpose...

The only hope that we may still have for the success of the Project Gem is that, as responsible Raaja fans we must rise to the occassion and do our best to make this project a success..

- Vicky

Friday, 30 April 2004 - 1:11 PM

Name: Sriram

I think fans should come forward and support this good effort by Prashanth.

Friday, 30 April 2004 - 1:17 PM

Name: Prashanth Rao NR
Home Page: http://project-gem.tripod.com

I agree with Vicky. Extending what he said I have 2 points to make

The first category of IR fans has to take additional responsibility of bringing 2 new fans and ensuring their orders. By any terms an IR fan will have at least 2 more fans known to him/her who are like him/her. Why I say so is, each one of us have become a Deep Fan through exchange of information, knowledge and likings in IR music others similar to us. To we need to find them and put effort in specific to it. Let us assume that the number of deep fans is equal to the number of average orders per release obtained among Rel 1, 2 and 3. This is around 45. So these 45 get two more make it 135 takes us to the target. Just have a look at the Min order quantities mentioned by various audio Companies
Lahari ? 75
Echo ? 100
Venus ? 300
Sangeetha ? 100
T- Series ? 100
Inreco ? 100
Dee Audio ? 100
Mars ? 75
Aakash ? 100
HMV ? 100 to 150
Universal ? 100
Also more than 75% of the IR albums lie with Echo and HMV together. So if we reach any number around 125 the assured buyers, WE HAVE DONE IT...!

My request to all is obvious that please get at least 2 new fans and ensure their participation

Friday, 30 April 2004 - 1:32 PM

Name: Sriram

Prashanth,
Usually this is the tendancy of people(not especially Raaja Sir fans) while buying an album(say old albums of Raaja Sir) - "We want only few songs from a movie, not all songs" They expect assorted collection of Raaja Sir's hits...not all songs from a movie like other Raaja Sir Fans.

Friday, 30 April 2004 - 2:04 PM

Name: Prashanth Rao NR
Home Page: http://project-gem.tripod.com

Assorted CD will be costlier than Full film and it will be one on one specific order. Just imagine this arithmetic. We have 50 films and 5 songs in each movie total songs 250. So let us say half of them are average, so 125 songs remain which are good. Id a CD can accommodate It will be combination of 10 out of 125, will runs into lakhs of possibilities..!

Now the CD player technology has just a button to FF a song and more over most of the Player Manufacturers have shuffle and skip programming facility in their Music hi Fi systems which can simulate the needs of not listening to an average song.
More over a Rs. 200 CD sold at 120 rupees specially for ProjectGem is a great deal by any standards..

Keeping the points mentioned above it is evident that the assorted CD is much costlier
Hamaara CD experience is that by any standards an Assorted CD will cost at least 4.5 times the full film.

Friday, 30 April 2004 - 2:35 PM

Name: Vijay

I have mentioned this to Prashanth before but I think the following reasons are as to why the initial releases have trouble selling copies

1. Only the members of Raja's fan group know Prashanth and they are his target customers. Thats not enough. It needs to be advertised and publicized further.Also, customers outside of IR yahoo group dont know who Prashanth is and so wont be willing to trust him. Many might not even be aware of this project.


2. Some of the CDs in the initial releases are quite common and could already be there with most Raja fans, like say Nothing but Wind or a few other albums. But since the release consists of a group of CDs and they have to be bought together(assuming I got this right) that makes it a difficult buy. What If I need only 1 CD out of that release?


3. Many Raja fans willing to buy his rare album CDs are in the US and they are the ones who access the net frequently and also know about this project. But shipping to US seems to cost really high and no easy way to transfer money too. Unless otherwise there is a representative of ProjectGEM in US who can receive CDs and ship locally(which is not possible at this time).

4. Lack of customized CDs with assorted songs as someone mentioned earlier. I understand though that the cost of such CDs are high.

and finally my take on this as I have suggested several times earlier..

5. The audio companies having a pay-per-download site for Raja fans with high quality mp3s from all the rare songs. I know I would definitely pay to get that precious song which I need from an album. This is something the audio companies have to consider seriously. If kept at a reasonable price I think fans from all the over world, not just US, would most definitely pay to get their song. The quality has to be good though. For those who think this might lead to mp3 distribution and privacy, remember, it doesnt take long for someone to rip all these CDs which ProjectGEM is selling right now and post mp3s in coolgoose or elsewhere. I think if the audio companies themselves come up with high quality mp3s that might atleast reduce the tendency amongst some IR fans to rip CDs and spread them. Plus fans can make their own CDs with assorted songs.

Just a few thoughts from a customer point of view.

Saturday, 1 May 2004 - 12:07 AM

Name: Siva

Vijay,

Point 3) is a very valid reason for this. Most of the fans are in US and most of them willing to buy these rare CDs. We should find a way to ship to US address at cheaper cost. This way both projectgem project and fans will be greatly benifited. I too wanted to buy NBW and HTN combo ( I searched a lot in music world in chennai. But no use). But now I am in US and we do not have any procedure to tansfer money from here and receive the CDs here..

IIRPithan,
Siva.

Tuesday, 4 May 2004 - 1:23 PM

Name: Dr J Vijay Venkatram
Home Page: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ilaiyaraaja

Dear Friends,

Prashanth and Vijay Kumar are doing a great job, which is immeasurable under any standards. Project GEM must work well for success. But there are a lot of genuine problems as suggested by our friends in the previous posts. We have to think of some other ways to overcome these pitfalls.

From my side, I face some unique problems, which I would like to share:

1) I live in Coimbatore and very few of our club members live there. Even if we all join and take an effort to make people believe in Project GEM, they are always justified in suspecting us. We are trying to approach offline associations like 'Isaignani Ilaiyaraaja Peravai' in Coimbatore, Erode and Nilagiri districts. But even they may not believe us. Still, we are trying to catch hold of the key persons and have personal meetings with them to stress the genuineness of the project. When this works out, they will convince the masses by themselves. The problem here is our time and inability to locate the key persons. Actually, they had placed cutouts of Maestro at the theatre gates in Coimbatore during the releases of 'Pithamagan' and 'Virumandi' with their contact numbers. Pity we can't locate them now. Anybody who has their contacts, can kindly email me.

2) Even if the above step is fulfilled, we may face some other problems. When I was spreading the news about 'Thiruvasakam In Symphony' among offline fans, I had the brochures from 'Tamil Maiyam', receipt books for small donations collected then and there, photos that we had taken with Maestro and Rev Fr Jagath Gasper Raj which made it easy to convince the people. Now, how many will browse the Internet for viewing this site and how many will trust the prints-out of the same website, especially when they don't know the source and me too. They will easily say, "I will surely buy it when it comes to the shops"!

3) People have been tuned to buy readymade items. They need immediate worth for their cash. Also, many of them have no concern towards copyright. They are of the feeling, "When I get a good quality song in any form, why should I bother if the composer or company benefits of it?" How can we convince these people? We cannot prevent piracy. Hence, many of them will have this idea already in mind. They will just wait for their friend or neighbour to purchase the CD and then, they will casually borrow it and copy it without any quality loss. They become the winners then!

4) They are many fans, particularly the offline ones, who are very honest people but have not been educated about their violation of the copyright act by listening to pirated audio formats. They are committing the mistake without knowing that it is a mistake. They will definitely stop doing this when they get the enlightenment. This is a very big pocket. Who can do this? Who has the time and resources to concentrate on this alone?

5) Most of Maestro's fans whom I know in Coimbatore are customers of a specific audio shop, the owners of which are my friends. They deal with original CD's/cassettes sales and also do CD-to-CD recording & CD to cassettes recording. They do not deal with mp3's however. When I ask the fans to participate in Project GEM, I cannot ask them to keep this news away from the shop. If I tell the shop, they will surely ask for the CD's as they are rare ones. I can't give the CD's to them and then ask them not to use them for recording also. Also, from what they said I feel that original CD sales are not that high for old movies. The customers prefer assorted songs collection recorded from the respective original CD's onto a single CD. If this happens in Project GEM CD's too, then its very purpose is lost!

6) Paid download is a good option. But again, people will join together and get the song by paying once. Then they will make multiple copies easily. How can this be prevented? Even if we make it as streaming audio alone, who will pay each time to listen to a song, that too only when they sit before the computer and not possible at other times?

7) Recently, for the movie ?Aaydha Ezhuthu?, the original CD was released with copy protection enabled. It was a giant step ahead in preventing mp3 copying. But as often, crooks had better brains than the manufacturers! They converted the file format and stored it in their hard disks and then reconverted them into mp3 CD?s. Agreed that the quality may not be the same as other mp3?s directly copied from original CD?s, but the copier has won anyway in selling ?Aaydha Ezhuthu? mp3 songs as of any other movie!

What I finally come to say is not that we cannot prevent mp3 at all. We have to think of many problems that may emerge from different fronts and prevent them beforehand. Otherwise, we will be unequipped to manage them when they surface. Discussions are welcome.

Thanking You,

Yours Always Musically,
Vijay.

Tuesday, 4 May 2004 - 11:49 PM

Name: Mani

I have two issues:

1. CDs should be available in USA and Canada.
2. Release should NOT have language mixes like Tamil and Kanada.
3. You should not try to max the CD, by having some BGM (Dhalapathy CD). Have atleast three movie songs in one CD.

Thanks
Mani

Wednesday, 5 May 2004 - 5:54 PM

Name: Kamesh B

Hi,


Please find my suggestions , observations as given
below.

PG is restricted to our group, but we shd bring it to
the markets. Lahiri is selling cds at Rs 60..HMV and
all fellows have brought down their prices.Why cant
echo do it.

I can get a combo of Mannan, Meera and someother film
of IR at Rs 99..why cant the same happen with ECHO or
Oriental cds....

Cost of a CD is Rs 10.. if u can get it bulk this may
reduce
Making of cover and Inlay Card : Rs 20
Burning of CD : Rs 10

Echo has earned a lot of money and still does earn and
still Rangaswami parathsarathy wants more
money...Agreed that he has got a convertor for making
digital output and bringing best of quality..

If he doesnt reduce his price..all these things will
be enjoyed only by a group of individuals.

This is bad.

I want PG to come out to the market..Then only it will
be a successs.

K

Friday, 7 May 2004 - 1:44 PM

Name: Vijay

"Paid download is a good option. But again, people will join together and get the song by paying once. Then they will make multiple copies easily. How can this be prevented? "

Vijay Venkatraman, they say if you cant beat them then join them. Thatswhat the audio companies should be doing. It wont take long for any one of projectGEM customers to rip audio CDs and post the mp3s on coolgoose.Then the piracy you talk about would begin all over again.In fact one reason why projectGEM is not seeling could be because some of the mp3s are already out of there and could be out of the CDs sold by projectGEM

But if the audio companies themselves start a mp3 site with a pay-per-download option it would have a wider reach. Sure, it wont stop piracy but since the reach is much bigger than what projectGEM is having now(we are talking of an audience all over the world) the sales would be higher too. for US customers 50cents/song is not that high but in terms of Indian currency it is roughly Rs.22 So 10 songs = 220bucks a pretty good amount for the audio company. I think a few recording companies in US are also considering this.

Other benefits include:

1. customers can make their own assorted CDs after downloading the mp3s they want

2. no shipping involved, shipping costs nil.

3. after listening to sample clips of some of these mp3s some customers might buy the original CD too. In other words one can do both business and advertising for further business at the same time.

both mp3s AND audio CDs can be sold at the same time.

Its a win-win situation for all.

MP3 cannot be stopped. The audio companies, if they come out with mp3s from rare early 80s IR films, I am sure a lot of customers in US, Europe and elsewhere would pay money to get that mp3. Most mp3s on the net currently from old films are of poor quality.

HamaraCD is already doing something slightly similar to this.
http://www.hamaracd.com/hcdinternational/asp/Collectionsongs.asp?Giftid=G403&cbogiftideas=1

Monday, 17 May 2004 - 10:00 AM

Name: Prabhudas AKA Pinchi Srinivasan

Dear Prashanth and other fans,

By the way, Prashanth Thanks a million for delivering the first batch of our order in my place in Bangalore, I am yet to receive them here in US.

Any way some suggestions, I actually happened to see this weBlog just today. I had the same exact idea as vijay with audiocompany backed official MP3 download site thro' net or a third party based mp3 download site ( pay per song) like WWW.emusic.com or Itunes etc...etc...
Now, either some of the Yahoo IR group based fans in India or Prashanth and others if they can talk to the same listed audio companies carrying original copyrights with some negotiations a group from either USA or other fans from one of the other foreign country with knowledge in website based marketing and technical know how of creating a secure mp3 download site would be a great start.
I am not a techie person to even the minimal level, however there are plenty of IR fans who are very knowledgable in this aspect especially the ones abroad with easy accessibility of resources but I strongly beleive in aggressive marketing. Some of the downsides of this approach has been already mentioned by others, here are some of the approaches to offset some of those pitfalls.

1.Aggressive marketing to reach a wider consumer base for ex... ( if somebody can check out how much it costs..)

a.short ads in Suryan Fm, Mirchi Fm and what ever FM stations avaialable in TN and Karnataka

b.Promo based articles or ads in widely read weekly mags of Tamil and English in south India such as Kumudam, AV, Kungumam and any other major mags

c.Nice articles thro' some influential journalists on the weekend editions of major news paper with special feature realtedto internet based mp3

d.Better yet if somebody can cut a deal with SUNTV (preferrably for the sake of wider viewership worldwide) or other network TV ( for business ad ) or even a short tech segment a la techTv like program which will simulataneously educate music fans (who are not tech savvy) about legal MP3 technology

2.Vijay mentioned about fans buying the project gem CDs and ripping them ASAP to upload them in file sharing sites such as Coolgoose.com etc, If the buying power or buying interest (as of now atleast )is restricted to a meagre
3. About the current project with different releases containing some volumes or albums which a fan might already have with a hesitancy to buy duplicate , I have a small suggestion, if u can afford to buy, and u happen to have one of the labums as the original CD already one can always give it as a gift to close relatives/friends that way it will spread the IR's incredible music among people who would never have had heard these rare gems.

4. The biggest hurdle of Paid MP3 download via net in India is the net download speeds which will almost nullify the purchasing ability by many for mere lack of resources or time involved with slow speed internet connections, a suggestion with minimal investment probably would be to network franchise some sort of kiosks involving some retail music stores capable of drawing large customers with facilities for relatively high speed net connection, unfortunately restriction of piracy may be more harder with this setup. ( one can sell the number of downloads with some secure accounts to each retailer, in this case the price for pay per song should be extremely competative with the pirated CD/Mp3 CD sellers , a stage where we will acheive " if you can't beat the piracy, join them".

5.For those who do not like the idea of mixing different language albums, if possible project gem should generate a set up to offer same language releases with similar albums contained in the mix release for a nominally higher price and mixed language releases at a slighltly lowered price ( this is only for the current project gem approach, if the audio companies can agree for the price differences )

6. For the shipping business to people in USA,
Prashanth can cordinate with some represantatives in USA ( based at 3 or 4 major locations) and make arrangements thro' TFMforum or other such IR fans user group portals to facilitate in USA local shipping , which will be really a very difficult task because of time constraints, unless somebody who are in some sort of similar business such as Video renting shops/ grocery stores selling CD and other audio stuffs in USA who know how the importing and distribution works help us with some idea. or negotiatiating with websites ( genuine one) selling south Indian music Cds online for a bulk order from Prashanth @ Bangalore and selling thro' their websites for preordered customers ( the shipping costs could be minimised that way as the retail websites already have an existing set up for mail orders)

I have few more thoughts, will come back soon

Prabhudas AKA Pinchi Srinivsan

Wednesday, 19 May 2004 - 5:24 PM

Name: Baiju.M.A , Dubai

According to my opinion..Project GEM need more publicity.
Not only Ilaiyaraaja Fans, there will be other music lovers who is interested to buy the same. However more publicity is required.

Friday, 28 May 2004 - 12:52 AM

Name: vinatha(vinu)

Hi, i agree with the above comment. It needs publicity. We need to give time and spread the word. Its a wonderful effort and i am very proud of you for taken initiative. Thanks. Vinu.

Friday, 28 May 2004 - 3:24 AM

Name: kp

On behalf of IR telugu fans in US, let me state a couple of reasons:

1.We are looking for IR's rare telugu songs. we are disappointed to see Aswamedham as the only telugu release from ProjectGem so far. Aswamedham is still available in stores. I guess there is no need to include these kind of new releases in project Gem.

2. You don't ship to US which is probably the main reason lot of us here in US are not placing the orders.


Monday, 31 May 2004 - 3:29 PM

Name: Anbu

Dear Kiran,

You must understand the position of Project GEM.
It's a team of you and me and it's not a retail shop. Prashanth is doing this purely for the love of IR's music so that others can enjoy his music. Can you imagine the load he has taken upon in the midst of his stable job? He has suggested before that shipping alone to outside India will cost a bomb(not for him but for us). You can actually use that $$ to buy few more Project GEM CDs for each shipment you make. The best alternatives are either get it send to your friends in India or accumulate your orders and then spend that extra cash on your shipment....which i'm doing :)

rgds

Tuesday, 1 June 2004 - 3:04 AM

Name: Vijay

Further thoughts after having read a few comments subsequent to my post:

1. Like I said earlier, I re-emphasize someone talking to audio companies to establish their own pay-per-download high quality mp3 site at a reasonable price. This is MAINLY for fans out side of India(US, Europe etc.) who with good internet, access can pay and download songs and not have to wait for their CDs to be shipped. Another advantage is choosing the songs that you want and making your own customized CD. As a customer one cannot be expected to buy a CD like Chinnappadass or PickPocket which probably has just 1 good song out of 5. I certainly wont do it. There should be a better to filter out bad songs/products and chose only the ones that you like. The mp3s although they cannot match the quality of audio CD can be of atleast 128-200kbps enocoding quality. Most 80s songs should have file size between 4-5 mb with this quality.
This is not piracy as the audio companies themselves are doing it. This is just reaching out to fans from different countries through a more effective medium

2. Just getting more publicity to projectGEM is not enough. Right now ProjectGEM seems to be a one-man show. Eeither Prashanth needs to get more help or setup a team in India to handle payments/shipping to all customers. Eeven if we do manage to get 300 more customers by better publicity, it would only make Prashanth's job more difficult unless he has a team in India to help him out.

3. Aanother sugesstion is for Prashanth and team to focus more on late 70s or rather first 300 albums of IR more than the late 80s films like Chinappadass or Uunnai solli kutramillai etc. The title of the project being "Rare releases of ilayaraja" the aim shouldnt be to release all the 850 albums of IR but only the rare ones,talking of which, I am yet to see a list of all films which projectGEM is planning to bring out or have it in their target list.

It could be an approximate list, but I think Prashanth should publish in his site the list of all film which he thinks is "rare" and the albums that he is planning to bring out. I hope it isnt more than 300. Most of the rare albums are from the first 6-7 years of IR and thats what is needed MORE in good quality, not the late 80s albums. I hope projectGEM remembers this

Thursday, 3 June 2004 - 5:23 AM

Name: Prabhudas

"Publicity" I meant to take this project at a bigger level, which obviously mean not a one man show anymore, I mean one can not even imagine such thing to happen in practicality with a single person doing all of it even for the sake of fans. So with more people involvement from yahoo IR groups perhaps or hiring some part time people to do the extensive leg work probably might be good to initiate a process.

I strongly agree with you ( Vijay) about the rare albums not the relatively recent albums, I in fact mentioned to Dr.Shankar ( of SSSSA fame) to discuss this issue with IR himself to atlease find out which companies/people actually own the original copyrights ( like many of those old vinyls records were released by Inreco,HMV, EMI, Polydor and few others) many of them except HMV and Inreco are practically nonexistant. Prashanth actually have a larger list of those early releases.
Prashanth, I know you have taken an extraordinary task, but please do interact in this weblogs/forum as and when it is possible with the hurdles/problems/practiacality of the issues so somebody can come forward for help or with some better ideas.

Prabhudas

Saturday, 5 June 2004 - 5:42 PM

Name: Athi

Dear Prashanth n Vijay,

I agree with Kamesh. The cost of the CDs is the biggest thing for the slow moving of the ProjectGem.

The audio companies have already earned a lot. So, if they sell it with the same prices, u only will be the loser.

C.. just imagine. A good empty CD rate is 15/ now. Even if u take the recording cost, royalty to the MDs, etc, then also, cant they sell them within atleast around 50/ per film??

Take a situation in India 24 hours. It is just one CD for around 55 min time. But, c the cost of the CD. Rs. 300/ The CD company makes profit from the demand in the city. If the CD was around 100/ to 120/(atleast), then it might reach a milestone.

Apart from this Vicky's reasons, (3 type of IR fans), and other comments such as 'lack of publicity', are also another reasons.

Anyhow, I strongly believe that the cost is the main thing.

No intention to hurt u. Just wanted to make a point.

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