Eid — a special occasion marked by grand celebrations and festivities — has, in the past, also been used by many artists as a catalyst to release new singles and albums. Currently, however, there are mixed opinions on whether to capitalise on this festive occasion or not, given the level of uncertainty in the music industry.
Despite this, a number of mainstream singers — folk, pop and rock artists — including Faakhir, Shazia Khushk, Rahim Shah, Naeem Abbas Rufi, Hadiqa Kiani, Humaira Channa, Saleem Javed, Ali Azmat, Ali Haider, Arshad Mehmood, Amjad Sabri and Overload are expected to release music on Eid.
“Eid is the biggest festival in the country and many of my fans are looking forward to the release of my new album this Eid,” says Faakhir who is set to release his album Allah Karay on the festive occasion. “This is the time when artists will be looking to capitalise on the positive mood in the country.”
Allah Karay, which according to Faakhir is an original and diverse album, touches on personal experiences as well. He explains that the title of the album has a philosophical connotation about wishing for something. He adds that while the album includes several nostalgic tunes it does not seek to preach the listener. The album’s singles include, “Allah Karay”, “Shikwa” and “Atom Bomb” which the singer says have been influenced by mainstream pop and folk music.
“Music channels are currently facing a slump and the industry has been in a downward spiral as well,” adds Faakhir. “Pakistan is unique compared to other countries because we have what I like to call ‘one-man’ factories — the artist does everything from writing the lyrics to producing the album, and that makes for unique music. Even now, despite the fact that India has superior equipment and more support for the industry, their music can’t compete with Pakistan’s.”
There might be talent in Pakistan but it seems as though many artists are pessimistic about the music scene in general. Due to increasing piracy and songs easily available on online, many artists play down the significance of releasing albums or singles on Eid. Mehmood, who is releasing a tribute album this Eid, noticed the decline in the general trend of using this festive season to launch music.
“To release new albums around Eid was a very popular concept in the past. But now, due to the internet, people easily get music online and don’t feel the need to go out to buy it,” says Mehmood. “It’s no longer the same because I haven’t really heard of new things being released in either the film or the music industry.”
Meanwhile, some artists have also delayed the scheduled release of their albums. Fuzon’s Shallum Xavier, who released a single “Hai Junoon” for Azme Alishan last month and was planning on releasing more tracks, stresses that due to the mounting uncertainty in the country these days, he is not sure about the exact time of the release of his album. He explains that there is still a lot of work to be done before the album is released.
“It’s a tough market. There is no support for music and there are no concerts happening. Therefore, it is sensible to release singles, as album royalties will not be sufficient,” said Xavier. An observer of the current environment, Xavier feels that Eid does not provide much of a marketing incentive for musicians and artists.
“My personal opinion is that if you have quality in your music, you can release it on any given day and it will do well,” says Xavier, adding that that hype of a music album should be created through proper marketing.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2011.
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