For quite a while now the music scenario in Pakistan has had its ups and downs from local streaming services such as Telenor Music, Patari, etc. to downright piracy. In a nutshell, Pakistan has lacked a proper infrastructure for years in regards to the music industry.
However, due to the pandemic situation and the shutdown of numerous studios piracy has slowed down a bit hence forcing local musicians and artists to head for 9-to-5 jobs or small gigs to make a living instead of following their passion for creating music.
Technology hence becomes their savior hence creating more room for creativity and for artists to reach out to their fans via social media. Hence the pandemic situation still creates difficulties as concerts and public music sessions are no longer possible.
With all these difficulties rolling on, a major player has finally entered the market called ‘Spotify’ which is a service many have been waiting for. So far Spotify is not only promising to pay artists but take them to a far-reaching global audience hence changing the game entirely.
Their plans for the Pakistani market were later known through a conversation between Instep and Cladius Boller who is the Managing Director for the Middle East and Africa (MEA) and oversees the Pakistani market for Spotify. Cladius who had spent several years at the Universal Music Group and has had an expansive digital knowledge of the business itself claims that Pakistan’s music scene is large in regards to Spotify.
Instep had asked if Spotify will support less popular artists in Pakistan similar to other regions. To this Boller had replied the following:
“Absolutely. But let me explain how this usually works for us and the artists. We treat everybody equally. So when we launch in a new market, specifically Pakistan, we want to serve and support the artists via various tools. Spotify allows artists – including those from Pakistan – to have their releases included in playlists across the world. A global audience makes a huge difference.
The second thing is we’re running artist masterclasses. We’ve done one for Pakistan where artists, managers, labels, songwriters are invited not just to know Spotify but really to understand how to protect their rights, how the ecosystem works, and monetization works best. It also includes hands-on information on how they can actually market and collaborate their music out there.
Another point is understanding our radar program, which is an emerging artist program that we’re also running in many markets. I don’t know if Hozier was part of the radar program; what we do is we look at artists that do very well in a relatively short time. I personally don’t make decisions on which artist we should support. We need to hear from the artist, understand their music, and see how it does in the Spotify ecosystem because sometimes within just a few hours, our editorial team can identify ‘this song is performing extremely well; maybe we should consider this artist and give an even bigger push’ from Pakistan to a global audience. It’s also about which other artist is trending and if someone is doing well virally in Pakistan, it can literally travel into the global viral charts if he has a quick success on Spotify ecosystem.“
In a nutshell, Boller is looking to financially support artists in Pakistan whether they are big or small names, equally, Spotify will accelerate them and bring about paramount changes in the Pakistani music industry which means no more will artists depend upon paid gigs or branded shows.