As our Pakistani music series nears its end, we will now touch upon a dark period for our industry. The 2010s witnessed an abrupt stop in the originality factor of Pakistani music. And this was especially disheartening right after the triumphant 2000s. Heroic shows like Coke Studio were now proving to be repetitive as more seasons were released. It felt like every other song was either a cover or a rendition of older songs from previous eras.
Furthermore, members of iconic pop rock bands like Junaid Khan from Call switched to acting instead. The only original Pakistani music was coming through as soundtracks of TV drama series. Fortunately, as the 2010s were coming to a close, Pepsi Battle of the Bands made its return. Thus, a much-needed resurgence of band and album culture in Pakistan finally took place.
Coke Studio: A Hero Turned Villain
Coke Studio took Pakistan by storm when it debuted in 2008. It was such a breath of fresh air in the Pakistani music scene. Because of its fusions, which brought modern twists to old songs, Coke Studio went viral. Pakistan had never experienced anything of the kind before. Rohail Hyatt had really produced something extraordinary, and the show reached tremendous heights.
But people didn’t realize that it would eventually hurt the music industry. You’re probably wondering, “How can something so beloved do something like this?” As more seasons were released, Coke Studio’s formula started to go stale. Nonetheless, it was still at the very top for many years, especially during its eighth season in 2015.
But How Did Coke Studio Hurt Original Pakistani Music?
Initially, and for quite a few years, Coke Studio season releases became annual events. It was always great fun to anticipate the artist lineup of the next Coke Studio season. So many classic Pakistani music gems being brought back to life was refreshingly entertaining. However, people started to notice a tiring pattern.
All of the artists getting featured year after year were already well established. It barely had any new or upcoming artists throughout its 2010s run. As a result, people started to get a little annoyed by seeing the same faces over and over again. Also, even though it was charming in the beginning, old songs getting revamped constantly didn’t feel as fresh anymore. It just meant no original music was being made or promoted, at least now on a bigger scale.
Everyone was trying to ride the Coke Studio wave, but very few artists felt the need to make new music.
Pepsi Battle of the Bands: The Savior
On the other hand, in the late 2010s, the culture of bands, original music, and albums made a comeback. Pepsi Battle of the Bands returned after fifteen years with the mission to revive original Pakistani music. It brought along a new age of healthy music competition, with groups registering from all across the country. Since every contestant band had to mainly perform its own songs, original music was finally getting some much-needed attention.
The best part was that there were new, young, and relatively unknown artists on people’s screens now. There was never-before-heard original music to listen to every week by fresh bands, and it was glorious. Bands like season 2, 3, and 4 winners Kashmir, Bayaan, and Auj, respectively, all became immensely successful. In fact, the show also brought album culture back to life, with many bands releasing multiple projects after their seasons. Pakistani music needed this in the 2010s.
Pakistani Music and TV Drama Soundtracks
The other source of original Pakistani music in the 2010s was through TV drama soundtracks. As a result of how popular these series got, people became obsessed with their title songs. Major and popular artists started to sign up for similar projects. The OSTs were no longer specifically associated with their parent shows. In fact, the songs had high-quality production and were actually worthy of being listened to by themselves. In the 2010s, people just craved any original Pakistani music, no matter where it came from.
For most of the 2010s, original Pakistani music was scarce. However, thankfully, the wheel started turning in the right direction again before the decade ended. Today, we have multiple artists and bands who have released work or are working on various projects. We just have to give them respect and listen to their music, to motivate them even further. And there is no better way to experience music than to listen to it on Sound Crush’s MONO. Its ambient lighting and visuals will elevate your musical sessions. Renditions of classics or fresh pop rock songs both sound outstanding through MONO.
I hope you had a nostalgic time going down this musical journey into the past with us. Pakistani music forever!