We are living in a digital age where everything is just a click or a touch away. It seems like yesterday when we had audio cassettes to listen to our favorite songs and then came CDs, DVDs, BluRays and so on. It’s amazing that we can listen to our favorite songs anywhere, anytime. But have you ever wondered how is that working out for the artists and more specifically, for the Nepalese artists. A musician works hard, very hard to make a song and that’s not it, it does cost a lot of money. And then, it is released online and people listen to it and download it for free, without offering anything to the artist. Imagine this, you work hard on something and then you get nothing in return; would you still continue to do it for free? But yes, our artists are doing it just for the sake of their love for music and the only way they can earn something from it is by performing at events. Doesn’t something look very wrong? Don’t they deserve to get something more apart from our appreciations or criticisms, so that they can be able to pay their bills? Don’t you get scared thinking what would happen if someday our musicians stop making music? Can you really survive without music?
And that’s where Lishn comes into the scene. Developed by Lishn Media Tech that consists of three young developers – Aayush Shrestha, Ashok Basnet and Bibek Subedi; Lishn is the first ever Nepali music streaming platform that would not only let music lovers listen to their favorite songs for free but at the same time, artists will be getting paid everytime their song is played. The platform which had been web-based so far, now has a smartphone app. To get more insight on this, we talked to Aayush Shrestha. Excerpts.
#1. Can you please explain to our readers what exactly Lishn is and how does it work?
Lishn is a music streaming platform where users get to listen to music by Nepali musicians for free and the artists get paid every time their song is played.
Lishn has a web app and an android app. The users can find great songs from artists that they have loved and also discover new artists and songs. Lishn is also about expressing via music. It helps you find songs and music that resonates with you and share it among your friends and loved ones.
#2. When was the website launched? How has it been doing?
We launched the website on the first of Baisakh of 2072. We thought New Years Day would be a perfect day for the beginning of Lishn. Who knew a massive earthquake was lurking around the corner. We stopped our operations for several months after the quake hit. Once we resumed working on Lishn, it was a wonderful surprise for the team to see how it had performed over that time. People were still logging in and listening to songs. That was a huge confidence boost.
We decided to work on our android app before doing any kind of publicity and marketing for it. Even so, while we have been working on the app, people are still coming to lishn. We have been getting some great responses from the artists and the listeners. We really feel like we have hit a pain point when it comes to music artists, especially the ones that are trying to make a name in the industry.
#3. What’s the current status of the music library of Lishn?
We currently have a library of 350+ songs from 75+ artists and 81 Albums in total. And we have registered a total of 17,000+ song lishns overall. For us, that is a very encouraging number. The most popular artists in lishn right now are amazing talents like Baaja Music, Surakshya Malla and Abhash Rajbhandari. Names that are virtually unknown to the general public, but are as talented as any mainstream music artist (if not better). That way, we can say that we are on the right track as Making way for new celebrities is one of our motives. Our users have also loved the mixtapes that we create and offer. Mixtapes like Nepali Bhaka has been played more than 1000 times. The numbers look promising, if not extraordinary, and we have been inspired and encouraged by the feedback that we get from our users, and our artists. We are trying our best to make lishn a better app every day.
#3. Do artists get paid as per the numbers of hits on their songs? How exactly does that work?
Yes. The artists get paid for every lishn. For a valid lishn, the song has to be played for a certain amount of time. We calculate the required time for every song dynamically. We also have a central intelligence system that notifies us if theres any kind of suspicious activity to increase lishn for a song. For every lishn, the artist earns Rs. 0.75. Out of the total revenue that an artist earns, we keep 30% to run our operations. Once the artists account crosses Rs. 5000/-, they can contact us directly to cash the amount.
#4. How can an artist get their songs on it?
Right now, if an artist wants to get their songs on lishn, they have to contact us via our Facebook page, our email or even our phone numbers (all of which are listed in our Facebook page). We create their profiles and upload their songs. We are working to build a dashboard application for each of our artists so that they can log in themselves, upload their songs and albums and even get advanced analytics to see how their songs have been performing.
#5. Singers and musicians often complain of not getting royalty from television, FM stations and other platforms. Do you think that won’t be the problem with Lishn?
That is the exact problem that we are trying to solve for the artists. We are in the digital age of media where digital media content is absolutely everywhere. Its easy to access, it’s fast and it’s free. The major part of the problem is the failure of music industry to adapt and evolve to the digital age. The music industry still relies on traditional channels for earning while the majority of the listeners have started to migrate to online channels. With lishn, we are trying to build a platform that takes that step for the music industry. We are also putting the artists on the front-center of our whole operation. We give the majority of the revenue to our artists and keep little for ourselves, only enough for us to run the office. So we are very positive that we are building a solution that addresses the same problem.
#6. Do listeners need to pay to use Lishn?
Not right now. For now, lishn is free to download and use. However, the users will have to bear through graphic and audio advertisements. We will also offer subscription services where users can pay us a certain amount to get rid of the advertisements and to enable other advanced features. But that is a thing for the future. For now, there are no costs for using lishn.
#7. You have currently launched the beta android app, when do you expect to launch the full version and also the iOS app?
The full version of our android app should be published within 2 months of now. As per iOS version, we still dont have an iOS developer in our team, so we havent yet planned for it. But it should not take more than 6 months.
#8. Tell us about your team.
We are a team of 3. All of us are computer engineers from Pulchowk Campus. We always did all of our college projects together and have always been a great team. We won a few competitions as well.
As other works are concerned, I co-founded threadpaints and was also the Chief of Design and a member of the Initial Team of nLocate. Ashok runs Mantra Ideas and most notable work of his is the Lok Sewa Nepal App.
#9. Thank you for your time. Our best wishes for the success of this spectacular work of yours.
Thank you very much!
Watch the video below to understand the app better.