Pakistan’s up and coming musicians usually rely on platforms such as YouTube, Sound Cloud, and Patari to showcase their music. However, many of them believe that these do not provide them with enough exposure. Spotify – the Swedish audio streaming and media services provider – which entered the Pakistani market in February 2021, has recently introduced ‘Fresh Finds’ – a playlist that helps budding musicians to increase the listenership of their music to a wider audience, be they in Pakistan or overseas, and has received a promising response so far. Independent artists or labels can qualify for Spotify’s ‘Fresh Finds’ playlist, which includes all genres and are picked by Spotify.
Punk rock band Gemini DJs, whose music is now available on Fresh Finds, say: “We mainly used YouTube, Instagram and other social media platforms to connect with fans to promote our new music. We were told by so many people that Punk Rock was a terrible idea, and we weren't going to go anywhere with it. But we now feel people are relating to our music after being featured on Fresh Find.”
If one excludes music shows backed by FMCG giants with substantial budgets, regular consumers have to make quite an effort to find local music that suits their tastes or moods. The situation for musicians, especially fresh talent and underground artists, is worse. “The music industry is not developed in Pakistan for independent artists. It's hard to get acknowledged as especially if our music caters to niche audiences,” point out Gemini DJs.
Like Gemini DJs, several musicians are delighted by the response they have received after being featured on the playlist. “Fresh Finds is all about helping artists establish connections with other artists and reach a wide range of new fans,” says Farheen Raza Jafry, an up-and-coming musician. She adds: “The response has been very positive, not only from Pakistan, but people from other countries have reached out and appreciated my work which feels good.”
According to several artists, having their music curated on Spotify exposes them to a global audience. This provides main benefits: since Spotify is available in 178 markets it opens doors for collaboration with musicians overseas and gives artists dabbling in considerably untapped genres (especially in Pakistan), such as Punk Rock, the ability to share their work with an audience that appreciates their work.
Moreover, artists also have access to one-on-one mentorship with members of Spotify and access to Masterclasses – a tool that enables them to learn how to best use ‘Spotify for Artists’.
While Fresh Finds has opened a new avenue for creative collaboration for artists, they feel that the government should support creative fields in Pakistan by creating better opportunities for upcoming artists on national and international platforms and by promoting music festivals that showcase established as well as up-and-coming artists as this may result in interesting collaborations.
Gemini DJs add: “The government should create spaces to foster independent artists to find their voice and new audiences; we lack that right now”
Check out ‘Fresh Finds’ and support aspiring artists; and while you are at it check out Spotify’s nostalgic playlist ‘Sunehray Din’ featuring tunes from Noor Jehan, Ghulam Ali, Sajjad Ali, Ali Haider, Farida Khanum, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Haroon Rashid and Vital Signs.
Taniya Hasan is a content marketer.