MOST IMPORTANT STEP! DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP! I had a friend(!) back in London who tried to skip this, and now he has a lucrative job in actuarial accountancy at a reputable firm and financial security. Don’t be like him. Thankfully, many people aren’t. General trends: Karachi tends towards electronic, experimental and dance music. Lahore leans towards indie rock and alternative pop, Islamabad favours post-rock and my town, Abbottabad, does a mean chappali kebab, it’s lit. There are exceptions of course; that chappali kebab once gave me explosive diarrhoea ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The internet was fundamental in democratising the whole process of music making, allowing anyone with basic tools to make music in their bedrooms and upload it to an audience. Unfortunately, along with this democratisation, comes saturation. There’s a ton of amazing music and a ton of dogshit out there, which means that traditional curative platforms such as radio still hold sway. The other method of curated distribution is via record labels, and this is perhaps where the most exciting work is being done. Forever South, Hear Now Records, Mooshymoo, Skadana Records, True Brew Records, Black Peach are all doing some amazing things in this area. Patari, too, provides an alternative service of content collection and curation.
Even with a strong content distribution infrastructure, it’s still difficult to get people to actually invest and listen to music or art that’s being made through non-conventional avenues. This is where the blogs come in. Blog has become something of a dirty word, a euphemism for an uber-pretentious soapbox of ‘insight’ and #thoughts – but nonetheless I think an active blogosphere (ew) is an essential component to a thriving music industry. Blogs provide an extra layer of curation, as well as good old HYPE. They’re essentially the online, more annoying, equivalent of record store owners, shouting into cyberspace about what’s good to listen to, or look at, or do. Big Green Music had a music blog for a while, as did Atif Farooq (a musician himself) called the Cosmic Argonaut. Ahmer Naqvi writes at Dawn about pop culture and the latest releases. The Lahore Music Meet is also an essential platform for finding new artists. I’m sure I’m missing loads but you get the point, BLOGS ARE IMPORTANT, I’M NOT BIASED HONEST.
Even though the internet has been fantastic for distribution, it has also become a strangely apolitical space. We all know how much of a echo chamber our own online communities can be, where you can happily exist in your algorithmic cavern without ever confronting a dissenting opinion. And so, in a paradoxical way, the internet continues to be neutered politically. Increasingly I believe that physical spaces are NECESSARY political barriers against the neoliberal monopolisation of public space. Salt Arts, True Brew Records, The Second Floor (T2F), and many more, are fighting this fight. There was a video floating around of Noori performing in a McDonald’s for a promotional event. That’s the world that we’re approaching, where every act of culture is propped up by brands. McDonalds will be where you go to see gigs. KFC Sessions. Open Mic at Subway. Poetry Slam at Khaadi. Ticket holders get an extra 10% off kurtas. Sounds shit so lets try and make that not happen. Which leads us to…
STEP 5 – KNOW YOUR ENEMY
(it’s these guys fyi)
HAHAHAAHA JK THERE’S NO MONEY IN ART YOU IDIOT NOW GET BACK TO STUDYING FOR THAT ACTUARIAL ACCOUNTANCY DEGREE
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