Who are the biggest artists in Pakistani Pop?
To conduct effective curations, I’ve spent time cataloging the full landscape of musicians in Pakistan. In order to do this, I’ve been tracking hundreds of artists across multiple platforms. I’m looking at who’s gaining new audiences, where they are doing so, and how fast. This sort of look is essential to explain the trends in Pakistani music in an empirical fashion.
As I’ve done this, it’s become clear that the numbers are not obvious. To get you acquainted, let’s take a look at the size of audiences for 250+ artists in terms of Spotify Monthly Listeners (as of Oct 27, 2022). Here’s the number of artists in each bucket below, and a sampling of which artists are in each bucket.
4 million +: <10
Atif, Rahat, Ali Sethi, Nusrat & Shafqat
1 - 3.5 million: ~10
Imran Khan, Asim Azhar, Bohemia, Umair & recently, aleemrk
500,000 - 750,000: ~10
Abdul Hannan, Hasan Raheem, Abida Parveen, Nazia Hassan, Young Stunners
100,000 - 500,000: ~50
Aima Baig, Talal Qureshi, Strings, Sajjad Ali, Karakoram, Junoon
20,000 - 100,000: ~50
Noori, Maanu, Jal, Bayaan
For people who listen to a particular genre, or from a specific time period, it can be difficult to contextualize where particular artists stand in terms of audience size to other artists. Marketing campaigns that curate musicians are often blinded this way.
Let’s take a few examples of surprising pieces of evidence here:
Momina Mustehsan has more than 4 times the number of Spotify Monthly Listeners as Hasan Raheem
Arooj Aftab is listened to more than Mehdi Hassan or Farida Khanum
Shazia Manzoor, superdupersultan, Sanam Marvi & Maanu all have a similar-sized audience
On Spotify, more people listen to Talha Anjum (as a solo artist) than listen to Abrar ul Haq, Junoon, Strings, Jal & the Vital Signs combined
And if you look to YouTube Subscribers (also as of Oct 27):
More people subscribe to the rapper Chen-K than Abida Parveen
Independent, mostly-Balochi Hip Hop channel Dark Street has more subscribers than Pepsi or Velo Sound Station
Instrumentalists Khumariyaan have about twice the following of rock band Kashmir
Hopefully more insights from this study to come. As we split this data by genre, growth trends and variation across platforms, things get even more fascinating.
If you’re an artist, brand or production agency and would like to understand these numbers better, you can make use of Hamnawa Analytics. These insights are a combination of nearly ten thousand data points. To learn more, please get in touch.
I think its more related to digital adoption. When we look at our historic icons, digital adoption of their content is through various channels, not necessarily attributed to the original artists. So that could be one reason for the dip on YouTube.