Indian music label Saregama's profit rises 36% on new song releases

BENGALURU (Reuters) - Saregama India reported a 36% increase in second-quarter profit on Monday, as the record label licensed more movie songs to its streaming partners following a rebound in the country's film industry.

Profit climbed to 460.7 million Indian rupees ($5.59 million) in the three months ended Sept. 30, from 338 million rupees a year earlier.

Saregama, owned by soccer-to-electricity conglomerate RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, said its revenue from operations rose around 30% to 1.89 billion rupees.

Revenue from its music business, which licenses its catalogue of over 130,000 songs to streaming apps such as Spotify and Amazon Music and television channels such as Kalaignar TV, surged 24% to 1.51 billion rupees.

Saregama, which released the country's first ever studio-recorded song over 120 years ago in British-ruled India, said several brands, including WhatsApp, Uber, and Dettol, have used its songs, driving up its licensing revenue.

The broader easing of COVID-19 curbs this year has allowed filmmakers to release more films this year -- songs featured in movies make up a bulk of the most widely listened to songs in the country.

And while several movies this year failed to live up to expectations, both on the financial and creative fronts, songs from films such as "Gangubai Kathiawadi" and "Naane Varuvean" have proven hits in the music-crazy country.

Higher revenue, including from sales of its Carvaan portable music player, helped Saregama offset a 32% rise in total expenses.

Saregama shares climbed 2% to 383.50 rupees at 0805 GMT on Monday, after declining nearly 28% this year.

($1 = 82.4200 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam in Bengaluru; Editing by Janane Venkatraman)