Pakistani Pop Music once reigned throughout the world wherever there were music lovers. What started with Benjamin Sisters, Alamgir, Mohd. Ali Shehki, Nazia Hasan, Zoheb Hasan and Hassan Jehangir back in late 70’s and early 80’s was taken forward by Jupiters, Vital Signs, Ali Haider and Ali Azmat in late 80’s. Pop music was a rage back in 90’s when Music Channel Charts came in to existence. Thanks to Ghazanfar Ali and Yasir Akhtar’s “Milan” because of which the talent hunt of fresh musicians started. Shahzad Roy, Najam Sheraz, Fakhr-e-Alam, Nadeem Jaffery, Waqar Ali, Sequencers, Awaz (Faahir and Haroon) along with many others originated from Music Channel Charts.
Pakistani pop music culture declined post millennium craze and by the end of 2000’s the frequency of releasing Pakistani pop music albums drastically declined. 90’s youth and adults witnessed an era of concerts in Pakistan, universities, colleges, schools and private concerts were the “in” thing in the town throughout Pakistan. Unfortunately, currently the music scene is a little off because of lack of original music, most of the platforms are producing remakes, reprised versions and covers of previously hit singles from 90’s and early 2000’s. Recently a focused discussion was organized in Karachi on 19th October, 2019 at RoundAboutPk, the topic of which was “Emergence of Pakistani Pop Music and its current state”
The discussion was attended by few music fanatics ranging from different professional fields; from advertising to media, from entrepreneurs to RJs and from PR professionals to critics. Many points were shared which highlighted the drawbacks in the music industry. A few shared that the recent platforms are not easily accessible to people who are interested in sharing their music, unless they have references or friends who are connected to the sources. An interesting insight was shared regarding the fact that many platforms don’t offer “Share your music” or “Email your samples” in end credits or on social media pages.
One interesting point which came under discussion was the fact that local market does not seem eager to speed money on buying music rather prefers to download songs from pirated sites or other means. This is something which can be considered as the key reason why most musicians have stopped producing albums. Another take on budding talent shared by an attendee revolved around lack of passion found for music in youth. HE compared the youth of 90’s who didn’t had much facilities yet they used to make music videos and soundtracks with limited resources, now everyone has a smartphone in their hands which has great microphone, amazing camera and basic editing settings to kickoff their creative music videos but even then they don’t come out with anything.
The surprise of the discussion was Yasir Akhtar, who took time out from his busy schedule and graced the discussion. Yasir Akhtar shared how he used to get entries for Music Channel Charts which he produced back in 90’s, how from different cities Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad etc. budding musicians used to send their music videos to the team of Music Channel Charts. Akhtar shared that he worked with and introduced Najam Sheraz, Fakhr-e-Alam, Nadeem Jaffery, Ali Haider and many other musicians and he feels great when he look back and witness that still the pop music of 90’s is considered as amongs the stronger ones.
Back then Yasir also produced French Toast which was one of a kind drama based on music and band members’ lives. Many singers even acted in that drama serial. Yasir Aktar is currently working on a few projects which will be out of the box and will bring fresh breeze of content -just like his earlier works like Mera Ghar Ek Whirlpool, Jaaye Kahaan Arman and French Toast back in those days.
The discussion was interesting, full of interesting insights and solutions to current problems in the Pakistani pop music scene were shared by the guests. The focused discussion ended at a positive note where everyone decided to give back to the music community of Pakistan in whichever way possible. Keep your fingers crossed for something interesting happening very soon. There will be more sessions at RoundAbooutPk and they will be focused on giving back to the society and community.
Moderator: Shafiq Ul Hasan Siddiqui
Food Partner: Cafe Bogie, Karachi