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Patari, all Pakistani hits in a music streaming app

Aiming to share the songs from his childhood, ex computer programmer Khalid Bajwa launched Patari, the world’s largest online streaming platform for Pakistani music.

Music in Pakistan is extremely appreciated, from Sufi’s sacred music – like Qawwali that dates back to 700 years ago – to contemporary music played by Pakistani emergent artists, who combine traditional pieces with Western pop-rock and hip-hop themes. However, in spite of Pakistani modern artists’ popularity and vibrancy, this music is hard to find or it is broadcast via poor quality media. This, until Khalid Bajwa, ex computer programmer, has created Patari, a portal that allows users to listen to and share every single Pakistani song: from yesterday’s music to new hits.

“I had grown up in an environment where music was always very important”, explains Bajwa to The Express Tribune. “One of my first memories is of my mother doing her chores to the lilt of ghazals playing on full volume. Growing up, the music scene in Karachi was extremely vibrant and I formed an inextricable bond with Pakistani music. Over the years, that bond had faded, but the more I thought about it, I realised that a music-sharing platform could bring back the music I had grown up with”.

 

Patari was initially meant to be an online platform streaming TV shows, videos, films and TV series. But after two years of disagreements and moments of despair (quoting Elon Musk “running a startup is like eating glass while staring into the abyss”), Bajwa and his partners focused exclusively on music. They went to Plan9, Pakistan’s largest technology incubator and asked a band and a few journalists to write a list of Pakistani tracks of different genres and decades to make local sounds and poems known worldwide. So, they created a catalogue of 100,000 songs with a search engine in English and Urdu used by 25,000 users monthly.

 

In Pakistan there are 15 million smartphones and 2 million broadband connections and millions Pakistanis living abroad couldn’t listen to the music of their country or they even had never listened to it. But now, thanks to Patari, they are able to discover it.

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