United For POP
While the MTV Awards were round the corner, Instep held a series of conversations with musicians ranging from Bilal Maqsood (Strings) and Ali Azmat to Atif Aslam and Ali Zafar and found out that musicians are now uniting on a single platform for their rights. Not that they were at loggerheads before, but this time it is simply a more professional direction that will give the music industry a chance to take charge. At least, that’s the plan.
As Bilal Maqsood explained: “We are in initial stages. The name isn’t final yet. But the idea is to be on a singular platform.” Bilal was tight-lipped but promised that details will be released soon.
Atif explained a little more candidly why he sees this union a crucial one for the music industry.
“In Pakistan, foreign content, whether it is Bollywood songs or international songs dominate the airwaves. According to PEMRA, only a certain percentage can be foreign content even if it is obtained legally.
“With foreign content, the local music content gets sidelined. Our artists, music videos and content is overshadowed. We need to build our own stars. It is one thing to run a Bollywood song sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and another to run every other Indian song.
“But this doesn’t mean a deadlock. These are issues that can be negotiated and all of us are in this together, all the artists. We will jump together and we will stand by each other.”
Ali Zafar is also optimistic about the creation of United for Pop (tentative name).
“The industry will finish if we keep this up. Content on channels should be Pakistani. The focus cannot be on India alone or Western artists. We need legitimacy and a balance.”
“Legal notifications don’t do anything. You have to realise that in Pakistan personal relationships also play their part. The content on channels should be predominantly local but it is the other way around. But talks are on and they have been successful,” said Ali Azmat.
It remains unclear what the goal will be of United for Pop, its structure and its immediate cause. But what is striking is that there is a sense of unity that exists and is getting stronger within the industry.
That said, there remains some confusion. A few years ago, the Association of Music Professionals of Pakistan (AMPP) was formed. Now one wonders how United for Pop will be different from AMPP. While Ali Azmat maintains that AMPP is still alive and kicking, it is still a mystery as to what AMPP has achieved in its two year course. Can United for Pop pick up from where AMPP left off?
Even with skepticism, one thing remains clear. For the industry, this is a step in the right direction. The music industry, if aligned, cannot be dictated to by anyone and that is how it should be… if and when United for Pop takes off.
— Maheen Sabeeh
Source : Instep Weekly