Bhaktapur Teen Earns Millions Making Music on His Computer

All he does is share memes all day (or at least that’s what it looks like if you go through his Facebook feed). Turns out, he has been making millions all this time – not exactly sharing memes but doing something else.

Dude makes music and he’s actually pretty good at it.

The name’s Sagun. Sagun Khadka.

Sagun is 19 and he is a student of Multimedia at Islington College. He is from Bode, Bhaktapur and most probably, he the most streamed Nepali artist on Spotify with over 14 million streams in 2018. With streams on various music streaming platforms including Spotify, Soundcloud, Apple Music and YouTube; the number is around 41 milion.

So how has this teenager (who nobody knows about in Nepal) managed to make such a large audience internationally?

Sagun takes inspiration from J. Cole. “I am a big fan. He produces beats himself for his songs and I love that. So, I always wanted to learn how to make beats”, he said. “Me along with two of my friends – Saksham and Sarthak – formed a group called Origami Music Group.” 

The trio started working on their beats and after around six months, in June 2017, Sagun released his debut solo instrumental EP titled Rhythm on YouTube.

It was just the beginning. Sagun was now working on making new music more than ever, right in his bedroom on his computer. To his surprise, later that year, he got an email from Apple Inc’s Beats 1 radio station saying they would like to play his track ‘I’ll Keep You Safe’ on air.

Joe Kay, the radio host, didn’t only play Sagun’s track but later helped him find a distributor to distribute his tracks to Apple Music, iTunes and Spotify. 

He was now signed with the UK-based music distribution company called Platoon, that had also worked with several other independent artists including Billie Eilish, Rex Organge County and Jorja Smith.

So how much has Sagun really been earning?

“Enough to stay independent”, he says. “And buy whatever clothes and shoes I want.” So how much exactly is that in numbers? “Roughly, I have made around $30,000 this year.”

Damn. That’s almost like NPR 3.5 mil.

To produce music; he has a laptop, a monitor and a set of speakers. And oh, he has recently got himself a 61-key keyboard. That’s about it. Nothing fancy.

“I will have to go if I get an opportunity that I can’t just say no to”, answered Sagun when asked if he is planning to work from home or go abroad in future. “No one here knows me. No sponsorship. No shows. And no money. If it goes on like this, I don’t think I should stay here. Almost all of my listeners are from abroad and the streams that I get from Nepal, too, are mostly from my friends only.”

But for now, his only focus is to produce more music and concentrate on his studies. He wishes he would some day produce beat for J. Cole.

And what do his parents think of him sitting in front of his computer all day, making so much money?

“My parents, they’re really proud of me. They are very supportive.”

“Send me some good pictures of yours”, I said after the interview was over. “I’ve got none”, he replied. “I don’t take pictures.”

Go find his music on all the platforms.


Neeraj Pun (NEO)

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