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Playlist Curators the New Talent Scout?

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Move over talent scouts, there's another player in town - playlist curators. In the ever-evolving music industry, these tastemakers are making waves and changing the game. With the rise of streaming platforms, playlists have become a major driving force behind music discovery and success.


Traditionally, talent scouts or A&R (Artists and Repertoire) reps were responsible for finding and signing talented artists. They scoured clubs, watched live performances, and listened to countless demos in search of the next big thing. However, with the power of playlists, this dynamic is shifting.


Playlist curators have become influential gatekeepers who can make an artist's career. They carefully craft playlists that cater to specific moods, genres, or themes and have amassed a dedicated following of music enthusiasts. Being featured on a popular playlist can expose an artist to millions of listeners overnight. These curators have an ear for what resonates with listeners and can predict trends before they hit the mainstream. As their playlists gain traction and followers grow, they hold significant sway in shaping musical tastes and influencing industry decisions.


While talent scouts still play a vital role in discovering raw talent through traditional means, playlist curators are becoming increasingly important in breaking artists into the spotlight. Their ability to spot emerging artists early on and give them exposure through curated playlists has revolutionized how new talents are discovered. Talent scouts have been a staple in the music industry for ages, but playlist curators have definitely carved out their own space in discovering new talent. With the rise of streaming platforms and curated playlists, these curators can introduce emerging artists to a wider audience. It's pretty amazing how this shift has changed the game for up-and-coming talents, giving them an opportunity to shine without relying solely on traditional means.


So for being an aspiring musician looking to make it big or even an established artist wanting to reach new audiences, don't underestimate the power of playlist curators - they may just be your ticket to success in today's music landscape.

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7 minutes ago, buckoff said:

your paying them


I know they're still out the but Spotify and other streaming platforms have policies:


Any service that claims to offer guaranteed placement on playlists on Spotify in exchange for money are in violation of our terms & conditions, and they shouldn't be used



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1 hour ago, buckoff said:

publishers , You better be good to get on they're lists


Absolutely, Artist's songs have to be good to get on playlists that have ability to reach the target audiences,  especially for the major playlisters. So quality of sound and song is utmost. But many other pieces need to be in place.  For most indies, they have to prepare to build.


Developing, executing, tracking,  analyzing and adjusting a plan to playlisting is really important, just like all strategic approaches for making money. 


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In someways and often behind the scenes, history shows that traditional methods to get on commerical radio stations have been a type of pay-to-play. Especially when ownership of stations merged into large corporations.  Just saying... Not that I'm justifying or supporting pay-to-play.


Playlists have taken some of the roles and market from radio.

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21 hours ago, buckoff said:

Do you really think a talent scout from Sony is spending all week going thru Spotify looking for talent ? I doubt it .

Nope,  I think there are probably "influencers" that they identify, maybe even hire and are looking to them.  The amount of new songs is staggering, to say the least.  But I try to relate the number today with a bit of the past. Think of all the bands that played at college concerts, clubs, bars, picnics, garages, friends parties in all the towns and cities throughout the world where they never recorded at a studio or released their music because of the cost to do so.  


A bit off my main topic, but this article I was reading today seems somewhat relevant to our over-all discussion here.  I think the industry knows there needs to be a change.






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  • Peggy changed the title to Playlist Curators the New Talent Scout?
On 7/13/2023 at 8:06 PM, buckoff said:

Do you really think a talent scout from Sony is spending all week going thru Spotify looking for talent ? I doubt it .

Some used to do that on mp3.com, then MySpace.com… so some no doubt spend some time on Spotify and YouTube. That said, these things have always been hierarchical in structure. Now they have added playlist curators and influencers, and they will also be hierarchical. Press and media work like that as well. That is just working smart when confronted with so many.


Ah the old Payola. It never really goes away. It is still that way on radio. Still, YouTube is the top platform for discovery these days there is a well established influencer industry on YouTube to help you skip ahead. You can still breakthrough on YouTube without skipping the queue but I reckon without leveraging an existing presence or paid influencer you are looking at about 12-24 months of hard work to break through on YouTube… that is knowing exactly what to do and still using music influencers, just unpaid.

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53 minutes ago, buckoff said:

Sounds right , I imagine Reps are in bars listening to talent , are they fresh , Do they have a chemistry with crowd, all that

Meh. Reps are only in bars after they do their homework. 

  • Who are other people paying attention to?
  • What are their stats?
  • How many people follow them?
  • What level of engagement are they getting?


Apart from that, they correlate activities already arranged with gigs and showcases of artists they have shortlisted.


The currency of the music industry has always revolved around lists!

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1 hour ago, buckoff said:

Yup all that . no more devlopment deals , Gets your stats on your own

That’s been the continued direction of travel for decades, and it has accelerated. Now you are expected to be a fully viable brand, with a large list of fans at various stages from casual listeners through to super fans, indirect pull-info social followers to direct push-info fans, 1st degree reach (contacts) through to 3rd degree reach (friends of the friends of your contacts).


In essence they are looking to manage risk by essentially removing it, investing money, expertise and contacts as scale accelerators. In other words, unknown bands are risks. They now look for the artist to absorb all risk so they can massively multiply profit on bands that are already in significant profit and already have massive potential in the process of being harnessed. Most of these guys are almost 100% about profit.

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