Music in Pakistan draws inspiration from all around the globe; South Asia, Middle East and the West. The Pakistani music industry has produced global icons and performers. The talented artists are trained in many different genres like classical, ghazal, qawwali, sufi, folk, pop, rock and hip-hop; all of which are performed in regional and national languages.
Music is a growing industry in Pakistan. The media platforms are developing but the artists are suffering. According to various media reports, the musicians find it hard to sustain their careers because of high taxes and lack of financial rewards. The growing security challenges and huge entertainment tax have posed a threat to the economics of the music business.
According to Lahore Music Meet, “the challenges of the artists arise because of lack of appropriate structures and resources, along with cultural constraints in mainstream discourse. First, they inhibit the cultivation of fresh and diverse talent, for success is often dictated by social situation/capital more so than the possession of the innate endowment or aptitude. Second, they have contributed to the shrinking of legitimate social spaces for expression and performance, especially in light of recent socio-political developments. Third, the marginalization of music and its appropriations by those at the margins have given birth to a rich variety of creative cultural responses which remain lost in obscurity.”
In addition, the musicians are often not respected for the work they produce. It’s become a societal issue and most of the time the audience fails to connect with the artist. There are multiple issues and they all need to be addressed by various stakeholders.
Lahore Music Meet (LMM), has created a space for dialogue, which is an effective way of engaging with the public and addressing the concerns of the artists to the concerned bodies. The 2-day event was a festival arranged to address the issues of musicians. Its ultimate goal is to address the above-mentioned issues by encouraging upcoming artists and connecting them with one another.
Through this platform, LMM hopes to revitalize the reputation and perception of music within the country and abroad. LMM as it says “aims to bring together enthusiasts, artisans, artists, patrons, industry representatives and academics to initiate dialogue on the developments in music and their shortcomings.”
The 2-day event was a very well designed approach to address issues faced by most nascent artists and entertainment startups. The team at LMM had setup seminars, workshops, storytelling sessions and dialogues to highlight the works of famous artists and support the upcoming artists. The program had a wide variety of sessions; covering all important segments necessary for the development of the musician and his business.
While interviewing the upcoming artists about their views of LMM, Daud Randle from Quadrum sums it all up
“This event is one of the best things to happen in music, especially in Pakistan, It’s an amazing platform. A lot of people compared it with the Rafi Peer Festival but it’s different as Rafi peer has a lot of international artists, where as this was about very new, local upcoming artists. This way the new artists got very good mileage and an audience they wouldn’t get otherwise. It is remarkably well organized.”
He added that LMM helped his own band Quadrum “a lot of people saw Quadrum there for the first time and want to record with us. This is great for us. It’s the best thing that can happen to an artist”
The general public is of the view that it will help in developing the live music scene at least in Lahore and it may be a great break from all the negativity. For them it is the best thing that could have happened recently to music.
It may however be suitable to quote Beethoven for ideas and enthusiast like LMM
“There are no barriers for a person with talent and love towards work.”
The passionate team behind LMM has proved their love for music. A dialogue space like LMM could be an effective way of engaging with the public and may prove as a problem solver for artists. It is a unique initiative as it aims to bridge the gap between the artist and the decision makers for artists. It would be fair to say that LMM is a very well designed approach to convey viewpoints to the concerned bodies that include the academia, the enterprise and the music fraternity.