Breaking down the data

March 5, 2023

Atif Aslam is the most-streamed artist across most of Pakistan, followed closely by rap duo Young Stunners.

Atif Aslam is the most streamed artist in Pakistan. Sharing a glimpse of his tours, Atif Aslam shared this image in which he is somewhere in Boston.
Atif Aslam is the most streamed artist in Pakistan. Sharing a glimpse of his tours, Atif Aslam shared this image in which he is somewhere in Boston.


t the start of January 2021, the buzz about Spotify (a global audio streaming app) was electric. The app’s official arrival in the Pakistani music market was swirling. It was more than just gossip as at least three artists alluded to it, in somewhat ambiguous terms. Spotify’s entrance (in February 2021) slowly became a game-changer. As of now, it is celebrating its second-year anniversary.

With Spotify, listeners in Pakistan had two choices: premium and non-premium access. Those who paid a premium price could enjoy features such as being able to download music, irrespective of having access to the internet or not. The other batch of listeners who opted for a non-premium (free) version didn’t need to pay a dime but couldn’t access the same features as those who paid a premium.

And yet, Spotify has become the go-to app for musicians to find a global audience, and for listeners looking for new content. You won’t find certain artists on Spotify like the terrific indie band, Mole and their works such as We’re Always Home EP and Visiting I EP.

However, a major portion of music being made in Pakistan or by Pakistani artists (who’ve moved abroad) is available on Spotify. The app houses many mainstream artists, music released via prominent platforms like Coke Studio and others. A strong list of indie artists can be found just as well.

In some ways, Spotify has now become instrumental in providing access to high quality content to a user in one place. The user experience or - interface as they call it in tech terms - is decent and finding artists isn’t an irritant at all. It will take you to the music you like and then some.

However, to us, the most interesting aspect comes from the statistics that provide an insider’s look at what people are listening to across the country and beyond the three major cities: Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.

Breaking down figures in provincial terms, it is important to note that major lists do not contain figures on Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir as well. Technically, it means that this isn’t complete data from Pakistan in its entirety with respect to Spotify. Added in some spaces, it is not as extensive as figures revealed from Punjab, Balochistan, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. We do hope that in the future, these regions will also be included in major data.

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As for the four major provinces: Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan, some names are predictable while others appear as a surprise. Atif Aslam was the most streamed artist in Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan and Khyber Pakht-unkhwa, making him the king of the musical castle. That no one particular song of Atif Aslam is in top songs means he is the most streamed artist in Pakistan but not on the basis of one song alone. Casting a musical spell on listeners, it actually means Atif Aslam’s collective discography is so diverse that different songs have appealed to different listeners and combined, it is Atif Aslam who has emerged on the list as the top streamed artist in Pakistan.

Breaking down the data

Another major name is that of Young Stunners (Talha Anjum, Talha Yunus). They arrived on the music scene in 2012 but more than a decade later, this rap duo is having the best time in terms of following. Out of data for four provinces, they are number two in three: Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab while on the third spot with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for most strea-med artists in Pakistan.

Sindh streamed Atif Aslam and Young Stunners followed by Hasan Raheem, Asim Azhar and Abdul Hannan while Balochistan streamed Atif Aslam, Young Stunners, Asim Azhar, Rahet Fateh Ali Khan and Abdul Hannan. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, too, streamed Atif Aslam the most and followed it up with Abdul Hannan, Young Stunners, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Asim Azhar. Even Punjab showed love to Atif Aslam, Young Stunners, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Hasan Raheem and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.

In fact, to be honest, it seems like roughly the same artists are among the most streamed artists around the country as we breakdown the Spotify data and as a people we are all spending most of our time listening to the same music.

Further evidence is how in 2023, the love for Ali Sethi and Shae Gill’s ‘Pasoori’ from Coke Studio 14 (2022) hasn’t diminished at all with the single firmly sitting on top of the local charts across the country. ‘Bikhra’ by Abdul Hannan, Rovalio, ‘Iraaday’ (also) by ‘Abdul Hannan, Rovalio and ‘Kahani Suno 2.0’ by Kaifi Khalil are the top four songs in the country.

In chart toppers, Atif Aslam is the most streamed artist followed by Young Stunners, Hasan Raheem, Abdul Hannan and Asim Azhar. Another fact is that if you’re wondering about the fate of Korean pop in Pakistan, they are doing well. BTS is among top 5 streamed artist in Sindh, Azad Jammu and Kashmir as well as Balochistan.

More than a decade later, Young Stunners, a rap duo, has finally found enormous success around the country
More than a decade later, Young Stunners, a rap duo, has finally found enormous success around the country

Amidst the sea of male artists, it is good to see that Eva B’s ‘Kana Yaari’, is among the top tracks in Quetta (Balochistan) from Coke Studio 14.

Apart from statistics, since arriving in Pakistan, Spotify has launched a number of initiatives like EQUAL which highlights women artists in and of the country and who get a digital billboard as EQUAL Ambassador in Times Square, NYC in addition to their work being highlighted on the app.

In addition to the EQUAL initiative, Spotify’s other efforts include RADAR, Fresh Finds and even promoting the app by television advertisements.

Breaking down the data