Karachi: The recently concluded Slush’D event in Karachi included a much-anticipated fireside chat between Khan FM, Spotify’s Artist and Label Partnerships Manager for Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, and Zeeshan Haider Sikander, Coke Studio Manager for Coca-Cola in Eurasia and Middle East. Representing two of the most loved music brands in the country, the two individuals discussed a wide variety of topics including the impacts that collaborative efforts of Spotify and Coke Studio have had on revolutionizing a traditional music space.
Having officially entered Pakistan in 2021, Spotify has taken a rich and evolving music scene up several notches through numerous initiatives. Shedding light on some of these offerings and their influence on artists and listeners alike, Khan FM noted how Spotify has put the power in the hands of creators and audiences themselves. During the discussion, Khan highlighted some incredible talents like Hassan & Roshaan, Taha G, Maanu, and Hassan Raheem who have become household names in Pakistan today, and how Spotify has given them the platform to go beyond the barriers.
“Spotify is allowing artists to carve a legitimate profession out of a passion project, i.e. music”, said Khan FM. “By giving access to real-time listenership data through Spotify for Artists, a unique platform that makes music management and reach enhancement simpler, we are enabling artists to determine exactly where their audiences are, the tracks that they are enjoying, and what their expectations for the future are. To top that, we have programs like Fresh Finds, RADAR, and EQUAL that have and continue to take indie artists to new heights”.
He also pointed out that in a short span of two years, more than 346 artists have been showcased by Spotify’s Fresh Finds. Simultaneously, local tracks like Coke Studio Season 14’s “Pasoori” and “Kahani Suno 2.0” have become global hits with the former still ranking as one of the highest streamed songs on Spotify last year. He was also vocal about how Spotify has been amplifying the voices of women artists. A few examples being Arooj Aftab, the first-ever Pakistani to bag a Grammy, Shae Gill and Eva B, all three of whom, also part of Coke Studio Season 14, achieved global stardom as Spotify’s EQUAL Ambassadors, lighting up digital billboards on Times Square, NYC and featuring on global as well as local playlists on the music streaming service.
Khan FM underlined how piracy used to be one of the biggest competitors for any artist trying to make their mark in the industry. In the olden days, the notion that music should be readily available without regard to cost detrimentally impacted many artists’ careers. Today, Spotify is moving people away from this preconceived ideology. To combat piracy effectively, the music streaming service offers a swifter, more interactive, and highly personalized platform where artists know every single detail about their listeners across 180 markets.
“Coke Studio celebrates our culture and heritage through music that shapes the Pakistani identity for the youth. It showcases our musical talent and diversity to the world”, said Zeeshan Sikander. “Coke Studio is the emotional soundtrack to the Pakistani identity in over 150 countries, with a library of over 250 songs and 300 artists that have generated over 4 billion views across seasons; and has become the country’s biggest cultural export.
Coke Studio Season 14 was developed with the aim of representing the culture now, by giving voice to the youth and showcasing their talent to the world. Coke Studio is always evolving and adapting to the changing music scene and the needs of its fans, who are its biggest source of inspiration and support. With a legacy of over 15 years, the platform’s global reach has led to collaborations and placements on viral playlists and charts, driven by partnerships with aligned values. From its inception during turbulent times, Coke Studio emerged as a cultural preservation and propagation project, subsequently evolving to represent the contemporary culture of Pakistan. Just as cricket unites Pakistanis, Coke Studio’s role in shaping identity aligns with the country’s passion points. Coke Studio is more than just a music platform, but a cultural phenomenon that connects people across borders and generations.”
With Spotify, artists have the exclusive opportunity to have their art genuinely displayed to the world and for listeners to enjoy it in a way like they never could before. During his discussion, Khan FM also noted how programs like RADAR and EQUAL are bringing emerging talents and women artists respectively to a global spotlight with streams coming in from all over the world.