2015 has been quite an eventful year for Pakistani music. While it saw the comeback of numerous bands and regular song releases, it also saw the emergence of online music streaming portal Patari, which has undoubtedly proved to be 2015’s game-changer.
Within three months of the portal’s official launch, Patari is ready with paychecks of registered artistes, something that was a long lost dream of Pakistani musicians — royalties for their hard work. Among the host of new platforms that have emerged recently, Patari has taken the lead in churning up payments.
“The royalties that artistes are going to receive right now are for the first quarter of Patari (starting from September 4) when all our content was legalised,” the portal’s co-founder Khalid Bajwa told The Express Tribune.
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Although this is not the first time that royalties are being distributed to local musicians, the nature and scale of the pay-out is a positive sign for the industry. While the number of artistes expected to be paid is likely to be in hundreds, according to Bajwa, the total payout amount nears Rs1.25 million. Unwilling to get carried away with this achievement, Bajwa described it as the first step in a long journey. “These payouts fulfil one of the biggest promises we made to the artist community and the public at large —full transparency. This is probably one of the first instances of a platform publicly and transparently announcing the royalties it has offered.”
According to Bajwa, the money was generated through music campaigns and advance booking for their soon-to-be-launched audio ad platforms. “Hopefully this is the start of things. We have plans to initiate premium subscription in the future which most of our users have been demanding.”
Where acts such as Strings and Noori are amongst the biggest benefactors of this payout, earning an estimated Rs0.15 million each, there are underdogs who have gone on to become major success stories. Acts like Khumariyaan, Abdullah Qureshi and SomeWhatSuper are doing extremely well, earning between Rs18,000 and Rs26,000. Patari takes great pride in this feat. “While these earnings may be a drop in the ocean for a band like Strings, for us they’re a whole island,” noted Bajwa.
Where’s the party at?
With a plethora of acts benefiting from the announcement, Bajwa pointed out how all the top musicians on the list had one thing in common — creation of new music. “You can see that bands and singers that are doing well are all releasing music on a regular basis. Noori did the soundtrack for Karachi Se Lahore and released their album. Whereas Strings came out with the OST for Moor and produced Coke Studio,” reiterated Bajwa.
Artistes have welcomed the move and termed it a landmark in more ways than one. “It is the Pakistani musician’s dream to monetise their music. Patari has a streamlined user interface and has done a great job at curating Pakistani music. It will help musicians earn a living off recorded music,” said singer-songwriter Taimoor ‘Mooroo’ Salahuddin.
Rock veteran Zulfiqar Jabbar Khan, also known as Xulfi, said digital platforms like Taazi and Patari are doing a great job. “The payouts will not only help artists sustain but also help turn the music scene into a music industry,” he said.
What’s rattling around in the patari?
Apart from royalty distribution to local musicians, Patari has also sponsored gigs and performances such as Noori’s Begum Gul Bakaoli Sarfarosh tour. Musicians are currently being informed about the payments and the cheques are expected to roll out over the next few weeks.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 5th, 2015.
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