Spotify ushers a new music era in Pakistan, empowering artists globally. A conversation with Khan FM

From groundbreaking album launches to artist support programs and combating piracy, Spotify's influence in the country is nothing short of transformative.
Published October 10, 2023

Music is a language that is spoken and understood around the world. Dawn gets candid as we delve deep into Spotify’s impact on the music scene in Pakistan, as the global streaming service is redefining traditional norms in the country.

Our conversation with Khan FM, the Artist and Label Partnerships Manager for Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh at Spotify, sheds light on how the streaming giant has been shaping the careers of Pakistani artists. From groundbreaking album launches to artist support programs and combating piracy, Spotify’s influence in the country is nothing short of transformative.

DAWN: Can you tell us how exactly Spotify influences the artists’ careers in Pakistan?

Khan FM: I’ll start with the most recent initiative where we launched Talal Qureshi’s album Turbo. This is the first time we supported an album launch, and we went all out. For instance, as part of the promotions, he also became the first Pakistani artist to be featured on the LED screens at Estadio Olímpico Lluís Companys, the official FC Barcelona Stadium in Spain. This, combined with his album being featured at Times Square, New York, USA, makes him the only Pakistani Artist to receive the big three - something only Spotify can make happen. Taha G is another example who was elevated through our RADAR program, seeing up to a 20% increase in listeners leading up to being signed by SONY Music for his latest single “Aankhon Mein Aansu.”

For context, RADAR is the only music initiative geared towards emerging artists in Pakistan, allowing listeners to Meet The Future in music and discover artists unlike ever before. Through RADAR, we produce quarterly mini-documentaries showcasing artists’ journeys, allowing fans to connect more intimately with their favorite musicians. Our first RADAR Artist, Hasan Raheem, saw a 17% increase in streams, and Maanu, who was the artist in the previous quarter, witnessed a staggering 181% growth, which shows that more people are paying attention to their music as well as the RADAR Pakistan initiative.

DAWN: Does Spotify have any other programs that support artists?

Khan FM: Absolutely. We have our signature program for women artists, EQUAL Pakistan, where artists have seen surges in streams since we launched that program almost 2 years ago. Hadiqa Kiani, for example, has witnessed a 387% growth in streaming numbers, and Aima Baig’s listeners grew by 53.99%. Natasha Humera Ejaz was next on the list with a 274% increase in streams, followed by Shae Gill, who saw her streams go up by 242%.

It doesn’t end here. Outside of music programs, we do our best to keep the legacy of music legends alive, such as the great Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, whose music we celebrated around Pakistan’s Independence Day. We saw a 4.5% increase in monthly listeners while his daily stream count increased by 11.73%.

Lastly, even well-known programs such as Coke Studio benefit from Spotify’s reach. In the past, seasons 12 and 13 combined garnered around 14 million streams, while Season 14’s collaboration with Spotify, we witnessed an astonishing surge to approximately 390 million streams for the season.

DAWN: Spotify recently hosted a Spotify for Artists Masterclass for influencers transitioning into music careers. What was the thought behind this?

Khan FM: Spotify for Artists is an exclusive dashboard that we offer with the objective of empowering artists of all levels, providing them education and tools to enhance their careers. Hosting a Masterclass for influencers transitioning into music careers was a strategic decision rooted in our commitment to creators in Pakistan. It’s not just about established musicians; we’re here for everyone, including influencers who explore music as their next venture. A good example would be the influencer/artist Dino who champions both elements in creativity.

DAWN: There has been a lot of discussion around piracy that Spotify has considerably curtailed, especially in the music industry. Please highlight how exactly this is being done.

Khan FM: In Pakistan, piracy has always been the biggest competitor for any artist. Before Spotify, the only way for artists to release their music was through untraceable CDs and cassettes. Through Spotify, we offer artists from across Pakistan the tools and resources they need to find growth as well as tracking success.

DAWN: What can we expect from Spotify in Pakistan in terms of artist promotions and discovery in the future?

Khan FM:You can expect the discovery of new music and artists through music programs as well as partnerships such as Coke Studio and more. Our commitment is to ensure Pakistani music is heard around the world, creating new fans, listeners, and opportunities. In fact, we’re planning to bring RADAR Fest to Pakistan, which would be a first for the RADAR program around the globe. We also aim to fuel artist promotions, education, and awareness of digital audio streaming. All I can say is that you stay tuned for some game-changing initiatives and keep on listening.

This content is a paid advertisement by Spotify and is not associated with or necessarily reflective of the views of or its editorial staff.