Saarey Music Spotlights Classical Music in Pakistan With Music Streaming Service

Developed by the team at Saarey Records, Saarey Music is a music streaming service with a focus on Pakistani classical music.

Launched in the summer of 2019 by Faraan A. Irfan, the founder & CEO of Saarey Records, Saarey Music features unlimited ad-free access to exclusive and rare recordings of authentic live performances curated from the archives of the All Pakistan Music Conference. The annual event is designed to preserve and promote Pakistani classical music.

The recordings are curated from performances since 1960.

We recently had the opportunity to chat with Irfan about his latest music streaming venture and his thoughts on the streaming music business.

Platform & Stream: What led you to start a streaming service — was it a part of the music business you were eager to explore with your own service?

Faraan A. Irfan: Saarey Music was born out of a deep desire to revive classical music and to enrich lives with it magic.

I was born into a family that has actively patronized, preserved and promoted Pakistani classical music since 1959. I have been fortunate to have had the pleasure of experiencing the great masters of our time live. When I actively started working in the All Pakistan Music Conference – the volunteer organization for Pakistani classical music that my grandfather started and my mother now runs – I found out that this part of Pakistan’s culture is seriously strained for funds. Both organizations and artists struggle and many in the newer generation choose not to pursue it as a viable career choice.

This adversely affects the continuity of the music. This is despite the fact that the quality of Pakistani music is comparable to, if not better than, the best in the world. This led to a deep desire to do something for the artists and to make classical music thrive again.

In 2017, I was sitting in my hotel room in Hong Kong the day before my Global MBA classes and wanted to listen to some Pakistani classical music. I was shocked to find that the music was hardly available if at all on the leading music streaming apps. Even good content on YouTube was difficult to find. I thought that if I am facing this problem, there must be others who wanted to listen to this music too and are unable to and I wanted to find out if that were true.

In 2018, during my Global MBA, I took this idea as a project to the Entrepreneurial Summer School at London Business School, UK. I discovered that there are many people worldwide that want to listen to this music but are unable to access it and the artists are unable to reach the customers that want to listen to them. It occured to me that given today’s technology, I am in a unique position to connect artists with customers and vice versa with a music streaming app.

I realized this is clearly an under-served market and a venture that is not only viable, but also provide tremendous benefit to the community.

Platform & Stream: What has been the early reception from both the consumer side, as well as the content owners/artists?

Irfan: Amazing. Customer feedback has been incredibly positive, as can be seen with our ratings. We are currently 4.9 on the Google Play Store, but as with any startup, we are still very small. The artists are delighted to have their works available to a worldwide audience, which had never happened before for most of them.

Platform & Stream: Were there any notable obstacles in getting the Saarey Music launched?

Irfan: Our initial version of the app was done with a plug and play service who claimed to have a great app ready and all we needed to do was upload the content. This was a big mistake. The company did not have a working product, took ages to launch even a very basic version and even that was substandard. This wasted a lot of time for us and it took some time to get our own service developed, but now that we have, the service is really picking up.

Platform & Stream: What are your thoughts on the music streaming business as a whole?

Irfan: Streaming has changed the music business and has seen amazing growth in developed markets. The future of streaming is now emerging markets and any service that wants to grow will be looking to these under-served markets.

Platform & Stream: What’s on the horizon for Saarey Music? What plans do you have looking ahead for the streaming service?

Irfan: Saarey Music continues to listen intently to its customers to ensure we deliver the service that they want and is easy to use for them. Our rare content continues to be a key reason customers come and stay with us and we are doubling down on that. To reach new customers, we have developed partnerships with banks in both the UAE and Pakistan and continue to develop new alliances.

To make it easier for customers to subscribe, we are developing partnerships with local payment processors to offer unique payment options to users, including mobile payment options and cash collection on delivery. More exciting stuff is in the works and we will be sharing that soon.


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