How I got over a quarter million plays on my Soundcloud

Building up a following as a DJ in the social web’s early days: a how-to for time travellers. 💫 Back when I was in college, my friend and I would go to a lot of parties. We also used to rap in a band together. Up until then, I had always been writing a lot of […]

The Chris Brown problem on Spotify

How do we deal with bad players in music when every listen translates to payment? For a few weeks in a row now, Chris Brown has appeared in my Spotify Release Radar. I’m not sure why, because I don’t follow him, nor do I really listen to similar music, but that’s a different topic. The […]

What the End of the App Era Means for the Music Business

The average smartphone user downloads less than 1 app per month, according to comScore. The era of apps is ending, and we’re moving in an era of artificial intelligence interacting with us through messaging apps, chatbots, voice-controlled interfaces, and smart devices. What happens to music in this context? How do you make sure your music […]

How can we restore music’s status as social glue in the age of streaming?

The case for a passive discovery mechanism for friends’ playlists on Spotify. This article started with a tweet on a Saturday evening. Simply put: I wish I had a better interface to discover playlists that are popular among my friends. Spotify should make a tool that:– every day surfaces ~5 playlists– made by friends, or […]

How will we remember bands when interfaces are voice-controlled?

I have phrased the above question as a problem for listeners, but this is a much bigger problem for artists. The last few weeks have been filled with big news for those closely following voice interfaces. Amazon just announced a bunch of new devices, including a cheaper version of the Echo and a new Echo […]

How to get me to talk about your startup

Tips for pitching newsletter curators.  1.5 year ago, I started my newsletter to encourage more innovation in music. It has allowed me to shine a spotlight on people, startups, and music companies that are doing fascinating things. I’m really flattered that so many people have signed on and always have something positive to say. However, […]

What is the next record? Moving beyond the recording industry

What will the next format be to usher in a new music industry, like the record did in the 20th century? The 20th century saw the rise of consumerist culture as a response to mass production causing supply to outgrow consumer demand. An example of this phenomenon is 20th century fashion which became highly cyclical […]

Treat Twitter like a visual medium & sync your Instagram posts to it

Here’s a little hack I use to share my Instagram photos to Twitter automatically. Many years ago, Instagram decided to disable its Twitter cards integration, meaning photos posted to Instagram and then shared on Twitter, no longer showed up as an image but instead just as a descriptive text + link. It’s a common strategy […]

What music startup founders often get wrong

Doing a consumer facing music startup is hard. Especially if you don’t understand what gives music value. One of the hardest aspects of building music startups is the fact that you’re dealing with a two-sided marketplace scenario. This means you have to build up one side of your marketplace in order to attract the other. […]

The next 3 interfaces for music’s near future

Our changing media reality means everyone in music will have to come to grips with three important new trends. Understanding the music business means understanding how people access, discover, and continuously listen to music. This used to be the record player, cassette player, radio, cd player, and now increasingly happens on our computers and smartphones. […]

The Instagram Stories rulebook (and 20 creative ideas for your short form videos)

Instagram Stories are the most important development in social media right now. I’ve previously explained why, but the key point is that the short format expiring content makes it fun to create, share, and engage with people who share their moments. My two articles about Instagram Stories had loads of people getting in touch, following […]

Four of the biggest opportunities for the future of music consumption

A reflection on key trends in music, tech, and user interfaces. Soundcloud is saved, for now. On top of whatever strategic decisions they make to be able to attract follow-up investments, they face the difficult task of preserving their user community’s trust and winning back part of the trust they already lost. Tumultuous times are […]

When to leverage platforms, and when to own your audience

Platforms born out of the web 2.0 wave of internet startups, like Facebook, Medium, and Spotify, have done a great job bringing huge audiences together. But building your presence on their platforms can come at the cost of them owning your link to your audience. I was having a small discussion on Twitter with Arnon […]

The best writing tip I ever got

Back in high school, one of my favourite teachers was this guy in his 50s who taught natural sciences. He had a lot of humour and actually treated us like adults. He did this by making everyone understand that they’re there for their own education and he was merely there to help. If you weren’t […]

AI-created non-human music will need human narratives

To me, it’s beyond a doubt that we’ll all be listening to AI-created music within a few decades, and probably much sooner. The most important way in for this type of music is mood playlists. After the first couple of songs on such playlists, most people tune the music out and get back to their […]

I’m a millennial and I share more music through Instagram Stories than any other medium

The top row on Instagram excites me. I check Instagram more often & only bother scrolling down the feed once a day, if I don’t forget. I’ve previously explained how Instagram’s Snapchat-cloned Stories functionality represents a great marketing opportunity for artists. Now I want to signify its broader importance to music, and social media in […]

6 lessons from 6 weeks without net neutrality

My music consumption has been clearly impacted by the lack of net neutrality on my new mobile plan. Here are my key takeaways as a heavy user of music services. This Spring, I moved from The Netherlands to Berlin, which means setting up new contracts for everything. While I’m still waiting for my flat to […]

TheWaveVR could let online music subcultures thrive

Last week, at Sónar+D, I finally got to try out TheWaveVR as the founders were there to demo and pitch in the startup competition. The company has built a way for DJs to perform in VR and bring an audience from around the world together. It does this in a very fun and visual way, […]

My Midem wrap-up: Chatbots + marketing Run The Jewels panels

What a week. I spent it at Midem – one of the most well-known music business conferences organised every year in Cannes. Before I’m off to Sonár+D this week, I thought I’d type up a little update. About 10 months ago, Midem‘s conference manager got in touch with me to see if we could put a panel […]

The Moby Problem: open letter to Matt Ogle’s successor at Spotify

Almost every week, Spotify adds a Moby track to my Discover Weekly or Release Radar playlists – probably the playlists I listen to the most. The problem is: I don’t like Moby, and he’s not going away. I’ve figured out exactly why Spotify keeps recommending me Moby. I’ve also figured out what types of user […]

Four innovations in classical music

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of representing IDAGIO on stage at a conference for the first time since joining as Product Director one month ago. It was my first time attending a conference dedicated to classical, and since I haven’t written much about that part of the music business yet, I want to highlight […]

Why playlists should be part of your social media strategy

The emphasis of playlist strategy is usually placed on how artists can get their music on popular curated playlists. Let’s discuss the long-term value of artists stepping into the curator role themselves. In the context of this article, when referring to playlist strategy, I mean playlists that you create. For most of the readers of this […]

Like MC and DJ: an audiovisual alliance for the digital age

The digital age is demanding for artists. Simply releasing audio is often not enough. You have to take care of artwork, video material for Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook, and then you still have to figure out how to get people to actually pay you. The time has come for a new band member – even […]

The future of music, inspired by a cheap Vietnamese restaurant in Berlin

I spent the last week living from an Airbnb while getting started with my new job at IDAGIO in Berlin. Down the street from my Airbnb was a cheap Vietnamese place, where I ate a couple of times. They always had Vietnamese pop music on, but one day they had a CD by a Vietnamese […]

Computers won’t have to be creative

Every discussion about creative AI sooner or later invites the same objection: “computers will never be able to be creative.” It’s interesting to think about. One has to define creativity. One has to understand the implications of machine learning and artificial intelligence. Then you have to carefully construct an opinion, and prediction, on whether we’ll ever […]

Online music is about to experience another MySpace moment

An emerging void signals new opportunity for innovation in digital music. The benefit of writing thoughts down is that you get to revisit them. Six years ago, I penned a piece for Hypebot called The Next MySpace. At that time, people in the music business were desperate to for another MySpace to emerge: the site had […]

Why I’m joining IDAGIO  —  a classical music startup — and moving to Berlin

Today I’m excited to announce that I’m joining IDAGIO, a streaming service for classical music lovers, as Director of Product. I’m already in the process of relocating to Berlin, where I’ll be joining the team later this month. In this post, I want to explain why I so strongly believe in this niche focused music […]