ISLAMABAD: Artistic angst and the urge to help budding musicians do what his own generation of musicians fell short of doing – making money of their intellectual property – forced former Awaz poster boy Haroon into piecing together an online platform. Four years on, the project boasts 150,000 app and website users. Ever since surfacing on Google Play Store officially in August, the app has been downloaded over 100,000 times, becoming the second-most downloaded application in the music and audio category, superseding popular Indian platforms Saavn and Gaana and falling right behind SoundCloud.
“Taazi has become Pakistan’s biggest social and music platform,” says Haroon. “Upon its launch, it topped the category of trending apps,” he adds. Standing strong in the face of competition by the likes of Patari and Mango Musik, Haroon feels Taazi has maintained its edge in more than one ways. “Our traffic has surpassed all fellow platforms, both legal and illegal.
As a musician, I’m all for more and more music platforms. They’ll do the industry a lot of good,” he states. Haroon says that artists can publish their music themselves on Taazi through a real-time software that helps them gain 70 per cent of the revenue generated from paid downloads and advertisement.
With over 100,000 songs from as many as 2,500 artists and major record labels, Taazi has seen over five million streams in the last two months. “The numbers keep increasing by the minute, which is heartening to see,” shares Haroon. Among the most downloaded songs are Ali Zafar’s Urain Ge, Atif Aslam’s Tajdar-e-Haram and Sajjad Ali’s Na Tum Samjhe. “Javed Bashir’s Jogiya from Moor has been played over 60,000 times, while Khumariyaan’s Tamasha has seen 20,000 hits.”
Looking back at the journey, Haroon says it took him a year of scrounging before he decided to hire a team of programmers and carry out the job in-house. The Burka Avenger director feels there’s more to come with this new wave of monetisation of music.
“Our goal is to ensure only legal content can be accessed within the country. If the government can block YouTube, a ban should also be slapped on those who violate copyrights and strip musicians off their hard-earned money.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 9th, 2015.