Age Of The Curator - Part 2 / by Eric Lum

With the growing popularity of music streaming sites, the direction in digital marketing within major labels is changing. How do the labels get their new artists and songs into your ears? In a sense, through a form of influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing is when companies subtly introduce their product to the hands of influential people in an industry, in hopes that the influencer’s followers will want to use the product that is introduced. In the music industry, this can be seen heavily in playlist curation via music curators.  

This idea of major labels paying off popular playlist curators to promote their repertoire, is creating a distrust with new music streaming sites and indie labels. As popular music curator Justin Barker puts it,

“Right now, whatever the issues of morals and transparency, charging to include tracks in playlists is the only direct option available.”

This mentality is an issue because it shows the lack of tools and incentives that are available to the curator in today’s music landscape.With the sheer volume of tracks being released every day, the industry, specifically new music services, need to build better ways to reward and empower authentic, influential curators. If not, the whole premise behind new music discovery proves to be invalid.

Popular media outlet and music influencer for dance music, Ministry of Sound, sees the discrepancy and has since not allowed their compilations and brand to appear on Apple Music. Boss Lohan Presencer has presented,

“Music services who espouse the value of curation, and their support of Independent labels, need to put their money where their mouth is.”

The curator, in today’s music world, is one of the biggest assets in creating a transparent, credible and flourishing industry. Streaming sites need to place value, incentives and resources for curators or the major labels will have stealthily succeeded in dominating the industry once again.


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