Host Ali Gul Pir at the launch of Red Bull Radio — All photographs by Nadir Toosy
Host Ali Gul Pir at the launch of Red Bull Radio — All photographs by Nadir Toosy

Electronic music fans in Pakistan have something to celebrate with the launch of Red Bull Radio on Friday.

Red Bull hosted a small meet-and-greet at Karachi's Mews café to introduce the online radio channel, the first of its kind for Pakistan, which broadcasts live, 24 hours a day, and features shows from 40 countries.

By introducing this new music platform in Pakistan, Red Bull hopes to help audiences discover new music genres by connecting them with music and artists from other countries. Red Bull Radio is also focused on educating its listeners about the diversity of musical cultures around the world with documentaries, talk shows, daily reports and live festival broadcasts.

In partnership with CityFM89, Red Bull Radio has also syndicated two shows that are broadcast from 12am to 2am on Fridays and Saturdays every week. Both shows, First Floor and Top Flight respectively, play electronic and dance music alongside interviews with music producers and DJs from around the world.

While no shows are currently being broadcast from Pakistan, Tollcrane, an electronic music artist from Karachi, has been a part of the radio channel in the past with a show called Scenery. With the introduction of Red Bull Radio in Pakistan, we can hope that young electronic music artists will get opportunities to have their work featured on the radio channel.

Host Ali Gul Pir greets attendees of the Red Bull Radio launch — Photograph by Nadir Toosy
Host Ali Gul Pir greets attendees of the Red Bull Radio launch — Photograph by Nadir Toosy

The launch was a well-organised but small affair. The turnout was low, with about 30 people in attendance. This could signify a limited audience for the kind of progressive music Red Bull Radio features and may not bode well for the venture. However, Red Bull is hopeful that it will not only appeal to the niche market for electronic music in Pakistan, but will also create more interest in the genre.

As CityFM89’s RJ Sundus Rasheed pointed out, electronic music is considered very glamourous by young people today. “And now they want to know what the next step is. They’ve gone to the local parties, now they want to be associated with international DJs and Red Bull has some fantastic content.”

"As long as we’re bringing people more choice and giving them the opportunity to discern between different kinds of music, that’s a great thing." — Adeel Hussain, actor and former RJ

Those in attendance included famed photographer Tapu Javeri, who calls himself a “friend” of Red Bull, actor Zara Tareen and comedian Ali Gul Pir, who hosted the show and is a fan of electronic music himself. Pir pointed out that electronic music is now what we think of as pop music and that people in Pakistan have been producing music in this genre for some time now. “Hopefully … our electronic music will play on Red Bull Radio [some day] and we’ll get a global audience,” said Pir, who was all praises for the venture.

Adeel Hussain, Zara Tareen and Abbas Ali Khan at the Red Bull Radio launch in Karachi — Photograph by Nadir Toosy
Adeel Hussain, Zara Tareen and Abbas Ali Khan at the Red Bull Radio launch in Karachi — Photograph by Nadir Toosy

Musician Abbas Ali Khan also showed up to support Red Bull Radio. “Red Bull is bringing in something that is very edgy,” he said, while complimenting Red Bull’s musical ventures in Pakistan.

Actor Adeel Hussain, who has also worked as an RJ on CityFM89, feels that Red Bull Radio will help push the musical landscape of Pakistan forward. “Anything that is adding to the quality of content in Pakistan, be it visual [or] audio, is very welcome because it brings an element of progressive into the mix … as long as we’re bringing people more choice and giving them the opportunity to discern between different kinds of musical output, that’s a great thing,” he said.

Rasheed echoed this sentiment, “Every time you introduce something new, you’re taking things forward. When kids start listening to more commercial, more famous EDM artists, right here at home, in their cars, in Karachi, it may push them [towards electronic music].”

Listeners can tune into Red Bull Radio by logging on to redbullradio.com. The website features live broadcasts throughout the day as well as a collection of previously recorded shows.

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