In 1901, operations started as the first overseas branch of Electrical & Musical Industries Limited, EMI London.
The company was incorporated on 13 August 1946 with the name of ‘The Gramophone Co. (India) Limited’. The name of the Company was subsequently changed to ‘The Gramophone Co. of India Limited’ effective 1 April 1956. It was converted into a public company on 28 October 1968 and consequently the name of the company was changed to ‘The Gramophone Company of India Limited’.
RPG Group took over the company in 1985 from EMI.
The name of the company was then changed from "The Gramophone Company of India Limited" to ‘Saregama India Limited’ on November 3, 2000. The name "Saregama" refers to the first four notes of the Indian musical scale.
In 2005, the remaining EMI stake was sold off to the parent company.
The Gramophone Company is better known as HMV (His Master's Voice) in India. RPG Group has been using the brand under license from the former parent company, EMI.
On 3 November 2000, RPG Group changed the company's name to Saregama India Limited, and introduced a music label of the same name.
The Recording Studio and the entire Dum Dum establishment of Saregama India Limited was built in 1928. It is one of the oldest studios in Southeast Asia. Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore had recorded his songs and poems in his own voice at this studio. Rebel poet Kazi Nazrul Islam’s voice was also recorded here.
Artistes who have recorded at this studio include K.C.Dey, Hemanta Mukherjee, Sandhya Mukherjee, Manna Dey, Suchitra Mitra, Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Pandit Ravi Shankar, and Ustad Bismillah Khan. Film director Satyajit Ray preferred to record his musical scores for his films at Dum Dum studio.
Television shows such as Dadagiri, Didi No. 1, Dance Bangla Dance and Saregamapa Lil Champs have been shot at the studio.
Saregama provides music repertoire across several genres and languages, including music of the first film made in Bollywood ‘Alaam Ara’ (1931) and artistes such as K. L. Saigal, Lata Mangeshkar, Madan Mohan, Shamshad Begum, Asha Bhosle, Mohd. Rafi, and Kishore Kumar.
In April 2014, Saregama entered into a partnership with an international digital distribution company, Believe Digital, for digital distribution of the entire music catalogue to the international market, especially to the Indian diaspora.
In March 2015, Saregama relaunched its online music store, consisting of more than 117,000 downloadable songs in 15 languages in lossless WAV format. It has four main sections – Hindi, Devotional, Regional & Languages in 35 sub categories with an added feature called ‘Experience 360’ which provides the users with information regarding the song, artists, artist biography and videos along with related songs.
Saregama has also established relationships with iTunes, OTT services (Gaana, Hungama, Wynk Music, Eros, Saavn, Biscoot & Guvera) TV channels and radio stations. Additional focus areas include direct-to-customer retail business via its website and applications, physical distribution, YouTube, and sales from reinterpretation projects, new Indian language television software.
Saregama India launched a subscription based mobile application in September 2015 which features its catalogue of Indian classical music. The app, named 'Saregama Classical' has more than 10,000 musical works of over 400 classical music artistes in three major subgenres of Indian Classical music, i.e. Hindustani, Carnatic and Fusion. It also has a curated list of 50 artiste-based stations.
The app consists of works from artistes such as Pt. Jasraj, Ustad Zakir Hussain, Pt. Ravi Shankar, Begum Parveen Sultana, M S Subbulakshmi, Karaikudi Mani, N. Ramani, and Pt. Bhimsen Joshi. It supports offline listening where the app allows users to download its songs on the phone, so that the user can listen to it later without any data charges.
Saregama Classical is available worldwide on Apple and Android stores. It is a free to download app with a seven-day trial period. Customers then have an option to choose from monthly, semi-annual or annual subscription. The payment can be made either through the iTunes for Apple users or the Google Play store for Android users. Customers can also pay via their telecom operator or through their credit card/net banking/debit card.
Saregama India launched another subscription based mobile application in January 2016. The app is called 'Saregama Shakti' and it offers a large collection of devotional music, videos on demand and high quality wallpapers. The bhajans on the app are sung by renowned artistes like Lata Mangeshkar, Anup Jalota, Suresh Wadkar, Jagjit Singh, Asha Bhosle, Anuradha Paudwal and Sadhna Sargam, amongst many others. The app also offers audio recitals of granths like Tulsi Ramayana, Geeta Govinda, Sundar Kand, Satyanarayan Katha, Sai Satcharitra Granth and Krishna Charit Manas etc. Along with the content of various Hindu dietie, the app features the entire content catalogue of Art of Living and offers the largest collection of audio, videos of various techniques of Art of Living like Sahaj Samadhi Meditation, Bhajan & Chanting, Yoga, etc. Along with the teachings of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Saregama Shakti recently added the largest collection of content from the Chinmaya Mission.
The app supports offline listening where the app allows users to download its songs on the phone, so that the user can listen to it later without any data charges.
Saregama Shakti is available worldwide on Apple and Android stores. It is a free to download app with a 1-day trial period. Customers then have an option to choose from monthly, semi-annual or annual subscription. The payment can be made either through the iTunes for Apple users or the Google Play store for Android users. Customers can also pay via their telecom operator or through their credit card/net banking/debit card.
Saregama launched its retail product named ‘Music Cards’ in March 2016. It is a credit-card-shaped 4 GB USB memory stick which is pre-loaded with 150 HD-quality songs of various genres. The genres which were launched in phase one include ‘Legends’ (The best songs of Hindi Cinema from artistes such as Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Mohd. Rafi, etc.), ‘Romance’ (The best romantic songs of the Golden age of Hindi Cinema), ‘Jagjit Singh’ (150 of the best songs, film and non-film, of the Ghazal maestro), ‘Shakti’ (The best devotional songs and bhajans) and M.S. Subbulakshmi (A collection of the best tracks of the iconic Carnatic vocalist).
Saregama's works with television channels, advertisers, film producers, radio stations, film and television production houses for use of its content. Collaborations include the song Fifi from Bombay Velvet, Hungama Ho Gaya from Queen and the Mahindra Rise Kisi Se Kam Nahi TV advertisement.
Saregama produces content for TV channels in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Bengali.
Saregama's debuted on National TV at prime time with "Prayaschit", a Crime-based show for Sony. This was followed by "Police Files" season 1&2 and "Pyar Ya Dehshat", both 100-plus episodes each on BIG channels. Currently Saregama has two shows running on Doordarshan at prime time, "Stree Shakti" and "Jab Jab Bahar Aayi". Along with TV shows, Saregama also produces vignettes based on the speeches of leaders including Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru for EPIC TV. Saregama has been a regular producer of Savdhaan India on Life OK, producing over 175 episodes and eight Maha movies. Currently it is producing for the Maharashtra Fights Back series. Other shows includes:Savdhan India, Maharashtra Fights Back
Jab Jab Bahar Aayee
Police Files Season 1 & 2
Pyar Ya Dehshat
The South TV Division of Saregama was started in June 2001 and has since then produced approximately 4,000 hours of TV content which has been telecast on Sun Network. Saregama has produced serials in genres including socio mythology, family soaps, fantasy fiction, and horror, in four South Indian languages.
The serial Athi Pookkal has broadcast over 1000 episodes in the noon band of Sun TV. Saregama has also produced several non-fiction shows where film celebrities such as A.R.Rahman, Vasunthara Das, Shivmani, Lawrence, Mumtaz, Malavika have participated as judges. Saregama currently has eight hours of programming per week on Sun TV out of which two are daily soaps (‘Chandralekha’ and ‘Valli’), one is a horror fiction (‘Bhairavi’), and one is a family game show ‘Chellame Chellam’.
Tamil shows include:Muhangal
My Dear Bhootham
Mirinda Ooh La La La
Close Up Super Dancer
Johnsons Baby Kuzhandai Paramarippu
Pepsodent Kids Khiladees
Telugu shows:Iddaru Ammayilu
Close Up Super Dancer
Rexona Evergreen Athithilu
7 Up Ooh La La La
Johnsons Baby Sisu Samrakshana
Kannada shows:Rathnagiri Rahasya
Henne Nee Jaane
Malayalam shows:Aayilyam Kaavu
Mummy and Me
Johnsons Baby Sisu Samrakshanam