Musicbox360: It’s a virtual world after all

MusicBox360LAHORE: “Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life” (German novelist, Berthold Auerbach). If that is true, soothing and relaxing music is the need of the day in the times we’re living in.

Hence, the launch of a new online music portal is a timely venture, which not only focuses on providing users with a wide collection of songs, but also hopes to bring local artists in the international limelight.Over the weekend, the creators of fashioncentral.com.pk launched a new internet venture musicbox360.com — a website that hopes to revolutionise online music portals in the country in order to put Pakistani artists on the map of global online music.

The exclusive event, which was peppered with a performance by Fariha Pervez, gave an insight into the future of online music in Pakistan. Musicbox360 strives to be the single platform through which Pakistani music fans will be able to access all the news and information regarding their favourite artists.“Everyone has moved on to the internet these days. If you’re a singer and you haven’t put yourself out there, you’ll remain limited to local market,” says Shoaeb Shams, the CEO and owner of Fashion Central Media Group. “For smaller bands and newbies, this site can serve as a launching pad,” he adds.

Shams, who is an IT specialist by profession, has become a serial entrepreneur, launching portals and websites regularly — he has been able to launch 10 websites in a span on two-and-a-half years. His online portals are visited by people from 183 countries, with six million page loads per month.

State of the art site

However, amidst the many local music websites that have been created in past, what makes this latest addition different? “In the past, all music portals have been amateurish, with the owner losing interest after a bit, not following through etc. Most of the sites are not even updated regularly and are generally of a bloggish nature, with limited scope,” states Sham.

Musicbox360.com, on the other hand, is intended to be more professional and serious in nature. Designed with the latest technology and having around the clock staff, the website, which is officially licensed, hopes to create a more commercial way of promoting Pakistani music. “Social media and the Internet have moved to the next level; the old websites had different models but under our platform we have the team and ability to direct traffic towards our artists,” says Shams.

The new website, which has profiles for bands, singers, composers and songwriters, is run by a team of content writers who routinely update it. Also, a section is dedicated to music education, which has in-depth information about music theory, lyrics and instruments related to the subcontinent. The site is also complemented with music news and a section on underground bands.

A profitable venture

Shams’ vision is to make local musicians’ presence felt in the global landscape. He explains that the internet can turn out to be very lucrative for Pakistani artists, who are struggling in the current economic slump. “A lot of musicians and artists are ignorant about the value of the internet. I have seen people considering selling the rights to their music to record companies, who end up exploiting them,” says Shams. “This is definitely a potential profit-churning model for artists. A proper portal can help musicians put their work onto iTunes or Amazon where they can sell it online.”

He says that the online sales (with 99 cents per song) can generate a healthy profit, as the artist would be able to keep 70 per cent of the money.Meanwhile, Shams is also working on holding more and more live gigs locally. “Our hope is that we can create a system in which something or the other is happening regularly.”It’s an ambitious project with high expectations, but we can only keep our fingers crossed and hope this new venture is a game-changer in the world of online music. – Thetribune