Is Fire Records For The Betterment of Pakistani Music?

August 19, 2009

Recently, the owner of Mag4you was taken in to custody for the case of music piracy filled by Fire Records, a renowned record label of Pakistan. Some looked at it as an effort by Fire Records to stop music piracy while others looked at it as an act immaturity by Fire Records, not that they supported piracy but believed in a systematic manner to carry these tasks out. We made a lot of discussion on the topic and explicitly expressed the different views of the situation. With the comments on the topics by Fire Records and Mr. Rohail Hyatt, another story came in to being.

Before Coke Studio was aired I got in to a discussion with Mr. Zubair Mallick of Lotus PR which managed the media for Coke Studio season two, a company by Selina Rashid, whom many of you may know as backing vocalist of Coke Studio season one. I inquired Mr. Zubair about the streaming and availability of MP3s on the site of Coke Studio. He replied

We have been in discussion with Mr. Rohail and it seems unlikely that they’ll have mp3’s up on the site for this season, probably audio CD’s.

After the first episode was aired the audios and videos were available on their website. I considered it as a change in plan at their end. However, when recently Fire Records & Mr. Rohail commented on the piracy issue, I came across another picture of this story.

Fire said:

For months we tried, some even listened to us but the others chose to defy the law and to hurt not just us but the music industry in general and musicians in particular.

While Mr. Rohail Hyatt believed the effort was not made for musicians at all:

I’d be happily jumping up and down if this whole effort was being done to aid the artists and for the betterment of music in general in Pakistan. Unfortunately, it’s only being done for the sake of business.

He further believed that action should be taken against the way record labels make deals with the artists

First the artists are stripped of their rights because they are desperate and then sponsorship money is made on the bought up licenses and not a single paisa is shared with the artists. There should be action against this if you ask me.

In the end he guided musicians to not fall for this and stand up

I urge artists to not fall in this trap and fight for their rights. The best possible deal they can get into is to NEVER give up the rights to their songs and to make sure they have a cut in any future deals made from their creativity and hard work. If you don’t get a deal with your rights intact, take a stand, release online and give your music out for free if necessary and believe in yourself and your work. It may be hard initially but it will pay off in the long run…

I believe this discussion clearly explains why Coke Studio was released for free on the internet while their early plan was to sell the CDs and DVDs. Let’s be honest, Coke studio is one of the few reasons to be proud of Pakistan in current scenario. If the efforts by Fire Records were made for the betterment of music in general or musicians in particular, the biggest music show of Pakistan wouldn’t have been facing this problem today.

The article is not intended to hurt anyone’s image. It’s intended to cover the truth based on words, facts and quotes.