✖ One billion music creators: what does that look like?

And: Indie artists' playlist issues; Pandemic fault lines; Web3 bible; Date night playlist generator; TikTok's engagement focus; on not making a living from streaming

Making a tune is now as easy as taking a photo and uploading it to Instagram. With its 1 billion monthly active users, Instagram has made photographers out of all us. As phone cameras improved, the Instagram filters did the rest. Music has spent most of this century battling the ghosts of piracy. The major labels first reinvented themselves as licensing models. More recently, everybody in the industry has become a digital media company. Alongside these developments music creator tools now proliferate. From Myspace to Soundcloud and TikTok, sharing and discovering music has undergone changes in relation to the underlying medium. Each new medium led to new structures in pop music. Now, the next step is that everyone can become a music creator and it won't be long before we see a medium where we consume music as readily as we adapted our thumbs to scroll through miles of photographic content each year.

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🍮 Why indie artists can't get on Spotify's golden playlists (Amber Horsburgh)

“When you get to the top 1,000 playlists and even the top 10,000 you’re looking at over 77% owned by a major label. Sure, there is an argument to be made that major label recordings just reflect the most popular music in culture and therefore these playlists mirror what’s going on in the world. However, where it’s stacked against independent artists is in the way the playlists are owned, structured and curated.”

📒 The Web3.0 Bible (sariazout.eth)

I see people ask knowledgeable Web3 folk for reading lists all the time. Here’s a great compilation of around 200 sources and it’s easily searchable, for example for music.

🕹️ Better aligning value creation & value capture (Erik Torenberg)

“But it’s not just the artists who are getting screwed, it’s that the industry at large is undermonetizing as well. The whole music industry is something like $20B. Compare it to video games, a $140B market, and you see the discrepancy. Fortnite alone makes $3B a year, and most of it is profit. Same with League of Legends — they make $2B a year, mainly selling virtual goods. Music has just as much engagement as video games; there’s basically no reason there should be a 7x difference in market size — except for the business model.”

🔍 Project ‘Test Spotify’s chart’s rule’ (Dope0613)

This is a Twitter thread showcasing how the ARMY works to figure out how to best support BTS in the Spotify charts.

📍 Metaversal (BT Music)

This is just to highlight the potential of Web3 for music. This project includes many of the things we’ve highlighted as positive structures for NFTs.

“[An] album imagined as a programmatic blockchain experience. It encompasses beautiful audio reactive art, music that adapts to time, and collection of physical fine art sculptures from the audio waveforms of the songs themselves. The Metaversal engine has Web 3.0 connectivity that allows fans to solve a cryptographic treasure hunt and win 1/1 NFT’s.”


🪃 How COVID-19 exposed music industry fault lines and what can be done (Marisa Henderson & Amy Shelver)

“Staging a comeback for the music industry will not be easy for those in developing countries. It’s critical that we find mechanisms to support musicians and the whole industry to embrace digital transformation, explore new revenue and investment models, be more sustainable and inclusive, and rebuild and recover from COVID-19.”

💞 Tinder partners with Spotify to generate custom dating playlists (John Glenday)

Singletons seeking love are invited to answer a series of questions to generate a custom playlist tailored to your passions – be that ‘Make Out Jams’ for the one in 20 keen to get down to business, or ‘Love Letter’ songs for the 20% of more romantically inclined daters … The pairing follows research by Tinder, which found that 84% of daters hoped to find a match who shared their taste in music – far higher than looks (64%), political views (61%) and a sense of humor (48%).”

🗿 TikTok is evolving into a very different kind of music streaming giant (Tim Ingham)

“We’re now at the point where a trending song on TikTok will achieve billions of views and many millions of creations in a single month. That’s an incredible amount of engagement. And that’s really the way that we think about things at TikTok: we are a platform that is about music engagement – not consumption. Whether that’s views, creations, Likes, or shares. It all mixes together in this kind of new form of fandom.”

Ole Obermann, Global Head of Music at TikTok

🩰 A labor movement for the platform economy (Li Jin, Scott Duke Kominers & Lila Shroff)

“[A] new form of collective labor activism tailored to the gig and creator economies is emerging — what we call decentralized collective action (DCA). This encompasses worker-led movements from insurance pools created by Jakarta rideshare drivers to an informal union of global musicians and music workers.”

🥧 Just how difficult is it to make a sustainable living from streaming? (Cherie Hu)

“It’s not just that rising competition in the marketplace makes it harder for artists to be heard, or that artists are recording, writing and producing songs in larger teams, splitting their revenue pie into more and more fragments. It’s also that the overall streaming pie is not growing as fast as the number of artists who are releasing new music.”


I’ve shared the music of Lyra Pramuk before, and she’s released a reimagining of her record Delta. The other musicians involved are all great and some of the reworkings are awesome in how they move away from the original tracks yet stay within the original sonic palette. My favourite track, though, is the combination of Pramuk and Caterina Barbieri on Tendril (Germinative Rework).