Raakin Iqbal Speaks

“Never be afraid to try, remember… Amateurs built the ark Professionals built the Titanic”

Month: July, 2008

Dependency on People- Lesson

So in the years I have been working in the entertainment industry, one of the big key things I have learned is not to depend on people to get the job done. Its like you tell a co-worker to get something done, knowing your relationship with that worker) and then on the day of the judgement, nothing is done. Autcally its the other way around! You needed something else and the total opposite is done. When you go to do employee reviews and ask him/her why did you screw up. They will give you the answer you knew you were going to get “O because you told us to do so”. Then when you go through your notes on what you have instructed them to do so, they come out be liers! Puts you in a hard situation.

You know what you want to do is right for the companies best interest, but then your personal commitments are on line. So by the element of dependency leads to you things you JUST COULD NOT imagin! Like here is a life relating example (based on a true story).

So like I was doing an event in Washington D.C. I had told a small group of employees to get certain tasks completed before I arrive with the artist’s at the venue. When I arrive, only 35% of the job is done and there is less than 2 1/2 hours till the concert! and even that 35% that is done is 12% wrong! Like a key factor is staffing. Like when I arrived at the venue, stage modifications wern’t done and chairs wern’t even set up. Like my intention was I would walk in, arrange sponsorship material, hosting dialog while the performers do sound check. So when I asked where the staff was (which I assigned one employee to do staffing, and gotten an answer that they will be there), he said “O they are on there way. But I have to go Raakin, I want to go home and change. So I was like, OK, you do that….1 1/2 hour passes, and still NO ONE! except for 1 guy who shows up but 1 hour late.

At the same time, the food and drinks were arriving, so I set that additional guy to go and help them set up. While I physically started running and setting up chairs. Now here where is gets REALLY EMBARRASSING! from my end. As I am rushing to set up, The Organization, who booked the hall for us, so we would not pay the full price for the venue. Started helping me out of her good intentions (if your reading this THANKS A MILLION!). I insisted a few times that Please stop, but she kept going on and got her group of friends to start helping me out. Now I am sure you are like, ok, well everyone dones that..whats so bad about that. Well then here where is really starts to suck! She (the president of the organization) got into a total car wreck the NIGHT BEFORE! So she was in a CAST! and I am like “Wow..WHERE ARE MY EMPLOYEES!!!??!!??!??!!??!!” Now I am not sure if anyone understands my point of view, but that is very bad! and again If you are reading this! THANKS A MILLION and a BILLION..ok TRILLION!!

So taking this from my past history, I have made clear that when I do my next, Side gig event as Raakin Iqbal Production, I will still assign task’s but will need to follow up with employees and any potential sponsors!

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Women in Pakistani Music? Where did they go?

Ok I am sure the title of this blog gave away this post (darn). Well when I switch on ARY, GEO, the Muzik, or Aag, why do I only see men with a guitar singing songs about women? Why can’t I find (especially in the 21st Century) a women who is singing pop or even better, Rock MUSIC! in the Pakistan Music industry? Like I am not saying Pakistan music industry is a total “Sausage Fest”, like there are women in it, but very few and no, I don’t mean you sing one track which becomes a hit and you move on! What I am talking about is Hadiqa Khayani, she has been in this industry for quite some time and now classified as a very “reputable musician”. Some examples of “1 hit wonder women” would be: Annie, Humera Arshad and I can go on with a few more. What I am talking about is we need more people like Noor Jehan, Hadiqa Khayani, Munni Begum, etc…

Like I am sure you get the point from where I am coming from. I would love to see a all girls band in Pakistan. I think that would make them the next Junoon! but more hotter and better maintained (Nice SILKY long hair, make-up with a nice touch, and that new perfume from London!).

But I am sure this wont happen anytime soon because Pakistan really isn’t modern yet. And no! if your party has Grey Goose, Johnny Walker, and the best hard liquor line with a rice pool at a local Lahore Farm house doesn’t mean your modern. It just means your in the mind perception that you are modern but you really are not. The reason why Pakistan wont be modern is because of our political peeps in control.

I encourage women who have talent and who are hiding because they don’t want to either offend there parents, get beaten, or loose that “Ristha Business Deal” is to come out and make a Union! and fight for the cause of music and women liberation! heck, if you want. Shoot me an email at

info@raakiniqbal.com and ill help you there!

Seriously, I think this is the time where we need to show some skin talent!

PS. Seriously….this is sad

Pakistani Women:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Pakistani_female_singers

VS.

The List Entirely (pop singers)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Pakistani_female_singers

You just can’t Tour the USA after ONE HIT SINGLE!

So like I have been getting a lot of heat from people in Pakistan for my recent Tour I just produced in the USA. They had said, why did you choose an artist who hasn’t released an album since 2005! Why not someone recent? The reason why I choose who choose is because they are the band who have something out that is very catchy, and have the reputation of putting on a great performance. Like you will never find Pakistani Band sing Queens, Sum 41, etc…The event overall was profitable. I have no complains…I enjoyed there visit! People are after me to produce another tour here for EID and I am like..dude…I have Fall semester to deal with..but ill see if I can “fart” out a tour… But the band requests I am getting are for bands which have only SUNG one song! and you cant really charge the average $20.00 per ticket for ONE SONG! I would only pay $5.00 for a band like that. Here is my checklist of what I go through before I make any decision!

1.) Will they sell?
2.) Is there music Unique?
3.) Will they sell?
4.) Must have atleast 2 Bollywood Hit Tracks
5.) Will they sell?
6.) Are they going to make really stupid demands like $8000 per city and if they haven’t even reached point # 4 then please try again…
7.) If they are considered classic….Will they sell? Still?
8.) Do Indians (not Pakistani) know about them?
9.) Do Pakistanis know about them?
10.) Will an Auntie harass me for a photograph with them and then later on say “Jeeatha Roao beta”

and number 11…

Will they sell?

So please..if you want to come to the states…read my basic guidelines…

Why is Atif Aslam so big? : Raakin’s No Offense 2 sense speaking!

Lets start with a tribute to..the one and only….Yes the guy who sung “Doori” and made us all an “Aadat” to a new genre of “Desi Music”….Atif Aslam!

Hum kis galli jaa rahey hain
Hum kis galli jaa rahey hain
Apna koi thikana nahi
Apna koi thikana nahi

Armaano ke anjuman mai
Besud hai apni lagan mei
Apna koi fasana nahi
Apna koi fasana nahi

…..

OK! now to my post…Why is he so big? The former lead singer of JAL, The guy who bascally inspired young aspiring musicians to start singing when young and end up on the steps of your college (ahem..with a nice guitar) singing to your fellow school mates..The question really isn’t “Why is he so big and famous that almost 67% of desi women would sneak out of there homes to see his concert?” (Advance apologizes if I offended any hardcore feminist women) BUT the question is…”How is Atif Aslam so big?”

Ok let me break it down for you in a few parts. Its just not one factor which makes him the “Cheez” of the Indian/Pakistani Music Industry.

Factor 1! which we all can hold hands and relate to. His Voice (Mash’Allah)…He has a very hard and passionate voice. It just carries on and just runs with the amusement from his tracks. The only one thing I would give him advice on (If your reading Atif…) is …”your style is repeating it self…like you have 3 different styles from what I have noticed..and you rotate them in increments of 2-1-1-2-3. Break it even more further down. “1” means Style one, “2” means Style 2, and ok, we know what “3” means now. Usually an Artist has atleast 4-6 different styles of singing. Lets just say, the reason Hamesh lost his fan crowd, His music sounds the same…even a deaf person can easily recognize his music. Its THAT OBVIOUS!

Sorry going off topic…..Have this tendency of doing that…sorry mate…

Factor 2! TIPS Audio in India. I must admit, the type of marketing and promotional campaign that TIPS Audio did for his is bloody amazing! Tips knew that b4u music is becoming a big hit in the USA, so they most likely locked a deal with b4u music, or b4u overall. Second, they got his music into almost every big hit Bollywood number….Tips created this whole “exclusive” deal with him. Some bit of less media contact I believe so. Keeping a very less tab with the media helped him in promoting not the IMAGE of Atif Aslam, but the MUSIC of Atif Aslam (will tell you that part later in this runt!).

Factor 3! JAL. JAL had a what you call in a journalism class the “Hook”. Because of JAL, he got an entry in as a Artist overall. Like dont fell bad Atif about this factor. Nearly 98% of Solo artist who were in bands do what you did….So far I think Shafqat Ammanth Ali is the only one who got fame, other than his singing, but cause he is the son the great Usted Ustad Amanat Ali Khan.

and my favorite factor which people dont really recognize…its really “under the radar” per say!

Factor 1.2 (I am going to call it 1.2 cause its my favorite and keeping the best for last): Shahbaz Aslam. 2 Words..SHAHBAZ ASLAM!….do I need to hammer it in? Let me start with a quick intro. Shahbaz Aslam is Atif’s brother. I am sure the “Aslam” part really got ya 😉 Shahbaz is also his manager. He is the guy who goes out day in and day out, get these domestic gigs, Tips Contract, etc…and gets him where he is sees his brother can excell even MORE! He is what I call a determine man (reminds me of me)…he aims-sets-a goal and gets the job done very slick, nice, and smooth….because of Shahbaz, Atif is where he is right now. Enough with the complicated paragraphs Raakin, give is a CHART!

Timeline:

Atif>JAL>Atif leaves JAL>Shahbaz picks it up>Shahbaz gets his local/domestic contracts>major expoure routes> Shahbaz locks up TIPS deal>TIPS does what they do best..Marketing> Atif basically “Rock’n Rolls” to desi’s Ipods and favorite Bollywood movies.

So ok Raakin, where is he now?

Well let me start this off as, The few things I give Atif on which I rarely see in the DESI Music Industry is being “consistent”.

Like an Desi Artist will release 1 album after 3-6 years! and tour the living lights out of there album…Atif on the other hand does it like how it is suppose to be done…like How I have seen it here in the U.S.A Music Industry at most times…He releases an album, tours a little bit, does promotions, and boom back to working on the next album. Like I believe (if my sense are still working at 4:15 AM in the morning), he released 2 albums alone in 2007/2008 and still toured U.K, India, Pakistan, and the U.S.A. He basically maintains what he does best…that is keeping the crowd wanting for more!

and yes. The Final factor why he is so big is very easy….its cause of his loving fans! who love Atif Aslam..Who make sure they join his “Facebook Fan Page” and sing his songs at PSA fashion shows! (cause I guess this generation of PSA followers really have forgotten any other form of Pakistani music ).

So as I start to bring this post to a close, Do you believe that Atif is the next “Adnan Sami”? Is Atif still even considered a “Pakistani Music Creation”? or did he “lift ker ha kay” his career out of Pakistan and into India? You decide that…..

Economy Vs. Entertainment…Does the current condition of the Economy have an effect on the Entertainment Market?

As we know the USA Economy is going through some really hard falls backs. All the major industries are going through hard times such as Steel, Information Technology, Car Manufacturing, and the most commonly known, Real Estate. People assume that the only industry that has no effect to the bad economy and high gas prices is the ‘Entertainment Planning Industry’ in which they are wrong!

A while back I was at this business networking meeting where C.E.O’s from different company backgrounds would discuss how the current condition of the economy was effecting there business. As the lecture’s were over, members would gather in there small social circles and discuss other things (you know the typical social circles). Well in the group of people whom I was with started talking about ways how they are down sizing, cutting costs, and make ends meet for some of them and when I am about to give my input, one of the guys says

Raakin, What do you know? Your in the entertainment industry. The only industry which is still making it big! regardless of this chaos that is taking place.”

I stooped. Was in a way offended to a certain degree. I replied back to that fine gentleman,

“No not really. Major parts of the entertainment industry has its effects as well. People are spending less in there event management gigs and cost of production is raising. In way, our industry is going almost going through the same effects as your industry (IT) is.”

He didn’t even say a word back.

To better elaborate on that. I will take this into 2 aspects I specialize in.

1.) Event Planning/Production/Management- As you know, my main line of profession is event management/planning/production. Basically people hire me and I locate the venue, arrange Sound/Lighting/Effects, Work with food/beverage vendors and maintain a theme.

Because of the cost of good has risen (seriously Milk was 1.99 in my childhood time and now its $3.89!). Like the last food vendor I worked with charged me approximately $9.00 per head for a group of 200 with 3 courses and 6 dishes + 3 Dessert Choices back in 2007. Now because there cost of purchasing the food has nearly doubled and gas is so expensive (May I suggest a Smart Car? Anyone). So delivery is double its cost. Just recently I had called the same guy (Who I have 2 1/2 year relationship with and have given him over 19 food contracts) for a quote for nearly as the same amount as the example stated previously above gave me a quote of $15.00 per head. Same set up, everything! I 1st thought that it was a practical prank on me, but he wasn’t joking :/

So because of all of this, clients are spending less on there events. Like the typical $15,000 to $21,000 wedding arrangements I would get back in 2006-2007. Now the typical contract for management and planning I am receiving are $4000-$70000 on average. So for a business to make dreams and hopes to a reality (part of our business model) is being a little expensive.

2.) Concert Production- Like as if you don’t know, as a side hobby I produce concerts and tours through out the United States. Just a side gig, hobby, eh for the fun of it.

Companies now are creating small budgets, laying off employees (Bank of America is laying off 6500 people and 5 some percent of there mortgage dept), and cutting cost. Companies are sponsoring less into concerts and tours. Like for instant, Coca Cola sponsored back in 2001 about/around $200K into American Idol and less say 2008 was the “1st season” of American Idol, they wouldn’t give no more than $75K. So its a great decrees. Event producers like me who just doesn’t focus on mainstream USA acts but also the international acts. By meaning flying performers across the Atlantic Ocean. Airline tickets are atleast $1900 per ticket/Round trip. And yes the GAS has an effect on us as well. People are not attending concerts and events these days due to the high surcharge in gas we have to spend to fill “em up”.

So now “Mr. Gentleman”. Do you see, we are much in the pot as much as you?