Being digital is the new brand image. Giants such as facebook, YouTube, twitter have been visiting Pakistan regularly to promote themselves here and with this the definition of creating a brand image has been revised.
Singers have now become brands and platform such as facebook, twitter and YouTube, sell them to the audience. The popularity of an artist is gauged by their popularity on these social networking platforms. Pakistan has seen an influx of social media created entities most of them which catch people’s attention through YouTube. Take the example of Ali Gul Pir, the mastermind behind the ever famed satirical song “Waderay ka beta” before even hitting the television and music charts this artist had already gripped social media. He boasts the title of being the first Hip Hop standup comedian to have raised issues in lieu of public interest. YouTube is the main factor behind his success as he shot a low budget video and posted it there. Within a week he was roaring success with a million hits on his video.
Other media engages the user in different ways but the social media or YouTube particularly gives the option of playing the video again as the viewer wishes. Just as Ali Gul Pir is one social media success story similarly the then 17 year old singer Arieb Azhar got his share of attention by this medium. His story unfolds by him posting a truly unintentional video on YouTube and soon it was scoring #3 on ARY music charts.
Internationally if you see, there are many more success stories to share with the world. Their outlook towards the digital platform is way mature. The facility of wifi and the easy adoption of computers, laptops and tablets, the western world is what you see as a thriving example. Rebecca Black’s video Friday was termed as the ‘worst music video’ all over the world. This song got attention from YouTube and social networking websites and the video got 167 million hits. This was the start Black’s career as a viral star.
Just when our country started seeing an influx of fresh talent in the music industry, the political side of things started to take its toll. The number of bans on websites such as facebook and then the almost permanent on YouTube ban in Pakistan affected the livelihood and exposure of many individuals. The main target of radicalization was once again the internet. YouTube played a part in triggering those extremist reactions from people. The whole chain of logging online and watching music videos online was broken. Many see it as a hindrance in promoting educational content and news dissemination. So here comes the time when YouTube is being discussed in drawing rooms to the Pakistani courts.
Before YouTube was born hosting videos was an expensive method, so anyone who wanted to set up a video blog would have to make payments to host videos. After it was introduced in 2005, it opened gateways for many amateurs to showcase their talent. Soon YouTube revolutionized the music industry, every talented artist is able to open up channels and link it up to their blogs. It was like an online television where you could view anything you wanted.
There are different aspects to our local music scene. Comparing, Pakistani classical music industry is mature and has a devoted audience but the local pop, hip hop, rock and bhangra music is in growing stages. The affect of YouTube ban on these premature genres of music is averse. It damaged many businesses that were using YouTube to host their videos moreover the young musicians failed to get noticed. As a result the industry is seeing a brain drain. Perhaps one industry which was not affected by coups or bans but with the blockage of this website led them to flee to neighborhood countries to earn money and recognition. Now we see Atif Aslam singing more songs for Indian movies than the local industry and other names such as Ali Zafar, Falak, Musti (from Roxen) and Shiraz Uppal reaching out to the other side of the border. Our local governance systems failed to harbor these mature pop artists resulting in massive loss of intellectual property.
The number of people who use YouTube to view content for inspirations and experiments is amazing. Artists whether mature or young seek to the digital to experience good music. YouTube is a haven for music video like MTV of the internet.
The biggest example about this connection industry between YouTube and the local industry is the Coke Studio YouTube channel. It is the 11th most watched channel on YouTube. Talk about videos going viral and people sharing music videos online, Coke Studio’s channel hit that number because of a reason.
The flip side of the coin
YouTube has supported various industries ever since its inception in 2005. Google inc. revealed in a report that till date it has paid $ 1 Billion dollars to the music industry. The relationship between YouTube record labels is going to have a twist. YouTube will offer subscription based services to record labels so that they can earn more revenue.
We can wait here and hope that YouTube will be unbanned in the country soon. The anxiety level of different people is tested to the limit when the bill has been passed in the national assembly to unblock YouTube in the country but nobody seems to have paid any heed to go about it.
May God save our grace!