Ahmer Naqvi has a great piece in Dawn about the Lahore Music Meet (LMM). I found this bit particularly interesting:
An event like LMM could finally give a chance for the executives to be forced to confront the larger diversity of Pakistani music.
Naqvi asserts, correctly, the diversity of musical practice in Pakistan. Questioned also, again correctly, are the prospects of a sustainable infrastructural future of said practice.
What’s really interesting to me is his use of the state of corporate marketing as a barometer for these circumstances. The corporate sector’s music ventures have been dull recently, and we do need some way of having marketers find the more interesting stuff. I think that could be one of the LMM’s real successes, putting the right people in touch. But it’s not going to be an easy metric to be able to judge it against.
As technology gives us more powerful ways of measuring things, there is an increasing demand for empirical success metric – i.e. there is an increasing desire, and perhaps need to be able to measure success in numbers.
This is difficult for cultural initiatives, because there aren’t many numbers too look at. Beyond perhaps the number of attendees at an event, or the amount of money made. And with initiatives that are neither completely populist nor very good at making money, it’s very hard to measure worth.
The beauty of meets like the LMM is that it’s not the crowd that makes the event, it’s how you feel when you’re there. Which is primarily driven by the music. We don’t have a good way to measure that yet. The best we can do is to try and capture the feeling, which is why discourse around culture is so important. Because it is the only way for us to remember how we feel. Which is why the LMM exists in the first place.
It’s totally possible that the LMM results in better music financing and sponsorship, and for it to receive no direct credit. It takes brave, committed, driven minds to be able to take this on.