An Interview with Khan FM – Artist & Label Partnerships Manager at Spotify

ProPakistani got the opportunity to have a chat with Khan FM, Artist & Label Partnerships Manager Pakistan, Bangladesh & Sri Lanka.

With years of experience in the music industry and a passion for connecting artists and fans, Khan has played an instrumental role in promoting the Pakistani music scene and helping it reach a global audience.

Today, we’ll be diving deep into Khan’s thoughts on the music industry, and the role that Spotify is playing in shaping the future of music in Pakistan.

So without further ado, let’s get started!

ProPakistani: Spotify has been in Pakistan now for a couple of years, what has Spotify brought to the country and how did that change the music industry?

Khan FM: Spotify’s launch in Pakistan has been nothing short of a game-changer for the music industry. In the past, we’ve witnessed hundreds of talented artists struggle due to numerous obstacles that the conventional industry would place in their way.

Now, with Spotify, they have unrestricted access to showcase their voices to a global audience. Irrespective of the genre and where the artist hails from and above all, whether they have the resources or not, Spotify is elevating artists to the stature that they deserve.

In a span of two years in Pakistan, Spotify has introduced the global community to some incredible artists.

From the likes of Hasan Raheem & Taha- G, both of whom were magnified via our RADAR program to Arooj Aftab, our first EQUAL Pakistan Ambassador who went on to win her first Grammy & of course our Fresh Find discoveries like Abdul Hannan, are all artists that can be accredited as being amplified and promoted by Spotify.

Moreover, for the last couple of years, we’ve introduced a host of features and offerings for both listeners and artists.

We organized the first-ever Spotify for Artists Masterclass last November in Karachi, Pakistan, a dedicated dashboard that allows artists to get acquainted with tools available to them for expansion through Spotify.

This year, we organized the first Spotify for Artists Masterclass in Lahore to create awareness of music streaming trends, and listener growth and for introducing new features to the artists’ community.

Simultaneously, through our focus on personalization and data analytics, we share insights that intrigue users while allowing artists to learn more about where their fans are and how to reach them effectively.

ProPakistani: How does Spotify provide exposure to local artists?

Khan FM: Spotify is a global platform that has 489 million users spread across 180 countries of the world. Any artist whose music is available on the streaming service has access to a massive audience globally.

Therefore, the potential for expanded exposure is broad with Spotify. However, our offerings go well beyond the Global listener base. When talking about Pakistan, as I’ve touched upon earlier, we have a wide range of programs that elevate artists and their standing in the industry.

In order to note a few initiatives, we have RADAR, which is a platform dedicated to highlighting emerging artists from the local scene. We launched RADAR last year with Hasan Raheem which allowed him to reach a wider audience for his debut album Nautanki.

This was followed by Taha G who was invited to perform at the recently held Pakka Hit Hai event in Lahore.

Also, we have the Fresh Finds program from where Abdul Hannan emerged along with artists such as Nehaal Naseem, Rovalio, Hassan & Roshaan, and many more.

And of course, we have the only dedicated program geared to fostering equity for Women in music, EQUAL – which highlighted the works of artists like Arooj Aftab, Hadiqa Kiani, Natasha Noorani, Natasha Humera Ejaz, Maria Unera, and many more amazing women creators.

Besides the programs themselves, we have an always-on approach when it comes to supporting music releases from various artists.

Whether it’s Atif Aslam or Abida Parveen, or from Hasan & Roshaan to Rovalio to Talal Qureshi – we’re leveling the playing field and supporting artists across all tiers, genres, and ages.

ProPakistani: Can you tell us more about the Spotify for Artists Masterclass that was recently held in Lahore? What does it aim to achieve?

Khan FM: The Spotify for Artists Masterclass is designed to provide aspiring artists from Pakistan to comprehensively embrace and utilize the tools that are available to them through the Spotify for Artists dashboard, helping creators build and grow audiences with new and enhanced tools.

Since the first session in Karachi in November, the Spotify for Artists Masterclass format has evolved & always will each time, adding a distinctive touch to it for the latest edition.

The session enabled artists to learn more about how Spotify can advance their careers substantially through its massive local and global outreach along with the breadth of offerings that it provides access to, for example: How to get on playlists, how to enhance your artist profile, how to make use of free promotional tools and add your artist teams to your roster and so much more.

Our objective with Spotify for Artists Masterclass has always been to provide an easily accessible dashboard that puts listener data directly in the hands of artists so that it can be utilized to the max!

We want to bring more artists from Pakistan onto Spotify enabling them to reach a wider audience across our global markets. Spotify for Artists Masterclass in Lahore brought us a step closer to that goal.

ProPakistani: How many artists were there? Have you invited established or emerging artists?

Khan FM: The Spotify for Artists Masterclass had over 110 artists, artist managers, and their teams. Some prominent names from the music industry in attendance included Music Producers Xulfi, Talal Qureshi, Hassan & Roshaan, Zaw Ali, Maanu, and members of Bayaan and Karakoram.

We even had teams from Coke Studio Pakistan as well as Velo SoundStation who were there to understand more about the music streaming landscape – it was fantastic to see various stakeholders from the music landscape of Pakistan under one roof.

Emerging artists are always an important factor in these sessions as they’re able to utilize the knowledge from the very start of their careers.

ProPakistani: How can artists maximize their growth on Spotify through the Spotify for Artists Masterclass?

Khan FM: Spotify for Artists is all about methods in which artists can expand their reach in terms of listeners and about how they can plan better music releases in turn solidifying their music careers in Pakistan.

One great example is how Pakistani artists are utilizing the data of where their music is being heard and planning concert tours with that data.

Recently, we expanded the Spotify for Artists platform further to encompass some exciting new offerings like Discover Mode which allows artists and their teams to identify priority songs, and Spotify will add that signal to the algorithms that shape personalized listening sessions.

ProPakistani: How can the artists pitch their tracks through Spotify for Artists?

Khan FM: If you’re an artist who wants to better understand the pitching process, the panelists shared a few best practices to get you started:

  • Do pitch your music before it’s released: Using our playlist submission tool on Spotify for Artists is the most effective way to pitch new music. To give your track the best chance of getting playlisted—either editorially or algorithmically—we recommend pitching your song at least twelve days in advance of its being released.
  • Do provide as much info as you can: Our editors love having context when considering a song for placement. Who made it with you? When was it made? What is the music genre?
  • Do think globally: When you pitch a song for placement, it’s visible to our entire team of editors around the world. They’re also constantly sharing music discoveries with each other. So, if there are markets or regions outside of your own where you think your song will attract fans, be sure to include those suggestions when you pitch.
  • Do engage your audience: While you can’t pitch your music to us post-release, our editors still look at signals from our broader data to see which songs are resonating. Engaging with your audience and encouraging them to stream your tracks can help build momentum and catch our editors’ attention.
  • Don’t pay for playlist placement: You cannot pay to get on an official Spotify playlist. If someone or a third-party company is offering placement on a playlist in exchange for money, this is a streaming manipulation service that goes against Spotify’s guidelines for music promotion. Additionally, we routinely remove user-generated playlists that claim to offer this, so it won’t benefit you in the long run.
  • You can only pitch via Spotify for Artists: This is the place where editors go to look for new music, and it’s your route to get your music in front of our editors.

ProPakistani: How is Spotify for Artists designed? What are the tools in Spotify for Artists that are available to them?

Khan FM: Spotify for Artists is designed in a way that it serves as an effective platform to allow artists in promoting themselves not just locally but internationally as well.

Although a breadth of tools is available for artists through this dashboard already, we continue to refresh it and add more features that offer greater value to aspiring talents and their career trajectories.

Recently at Spotify’s Stream On event, Discovery Mode was introduced directly in Spotify for Artists so that now thousands of independently distributed artists and labels have access to it.

Many of these features will soon be available to artists in Pakistan including concert ticketing, clips, merchandise, and many more.

The important thing for Artists and their teams is to start using Spotify for Artists as a regular tool that attributes directly to the success of their music and keep up to date on new features that get rolled out for Pakistan in the near future.

We are also working on expanding our Fans First program to include more artists, ensuring top listeners receive emails and notifications that give them special access to concert pre-sales and merch exclusives.

ProPakistani: Tell us about your plans for this year. Any new programs in the pipeline?

Khan FM: We’re currently focusing on our two flagship music programs which are EQUAL and RADAR.

Spotify’s EQUAL is geared towards fostering equity for women in music globally and we’re proud to have celebrated EQUAL Pakistan’s one-year anniversary earlier in March – celebrating 12 spectacular women artists across multiple genres and generations of fans.

We’re also super excited to amplify emerging artists via Spotify RADAR through creating intimate documentaries that deep dive into the lives of artists like Hasan Raheem and now Taha G – through RADAR these artists enjoy amplified success for their music and are able to share their stories with fans who otherwise would not get to experience.

We’re also working on enhancing the Spotify for Artists Masterclass sessions that allow creators to gather under one roof for a learning experience & networking opportunity unlike anywhere else.

We’ve seen some amazing collaborations happen at these sessions and in the last Spotify for Artists Masterclass we even created ‘A Journey in Pakistani Music’ immersive experience and invited Pakistani media to understand Pakistan’s music landscape even better.

We’re always engaged as a team at Spotify to roll out newer and exciting programs in the future such as Spotify Singles, Spotify Backstage Pass, and many more – but our main focus will always be on how to support artists on their new releases and maximize their presence on Spotify, ensuring their music gets the global reach it deserves.

Get Alerts

Follow ProPakistani to get latest news and updates.

ProPakistani Community

Join the groups below to get latest news and updates.