Dam/Carlos, we saw this comment recently posted on social media: “In a competitive arena run by the major labels, it’s people like this who do so much for independent artists. Way to go Indiemono! And their playlists are SO GOOD!”
Dam: Hey! Yes, it’s amazing to read such fantastic reviews. Our story starts out of love for music, with a pile of mixtape cassettes and music cd’s for friends with our selections – the natural evolution are playlists, and that’s our core. We’ve learnt a lot these years about the music industry, the artists behind everything and the direction where things must improve.
The journey is fun, with the usual struggles; money to keep up a competitive business, an old market that is well stablished and is scared of you and finding time for hundreds of songs in your inbox every day.
Carlos: We’d like a new version of the music industry; with less elites, more attention to small projects and the priority of quality over budget. We want to be an oasis for music discovery that smooths the edges between celebrities and garage bands.
Dam: We had a couple of crisis, all related to threats from greater fish that don’t like what Indiemono is doing and invested insane amount of money to make our project invisible. I guess a little support from entities like Spotify – where in our opinion our work helps improve the platform – would have helped improving our situation.
But it’s never too late and we’re open to chat. We’ve finally found a path hand in hand with artists and bands, which is even more fulfilling.
Carlos: I don’t think that’s a problem as our audience was outside of our borders since the beginning. We’re all close in this digital world! It’s fun to travel around the world meeting bands you have supported – attending their concerts and partying with them is real fun.
If we were based in the US for example, I think we would have meet more related business and maybe grow a bit quicker, but hey, Spain is a beautiful country!
Dam: I can’t give you a really extensive answer as it’s a really strange and personal way to organise it, but; you start with an hypothesis – let’s say “Roadtrip”: everything starts with some examples related to the topic and then start piling up music that ‘feels’ like it. After having a good amount of music you have to listen to it and dismiss a lot more.
I establish a max number of songs and double check it twice before publishing. We’re mostly focused in mood playlists but everything you mentioned counts.
Carlos: We try to listen to everything we receive – and that’s a big piece of work to start. The free system we have is based in automation and on leaving traces of whatever we add to playlists through our site and profiles.
We’re working in something to have a personal approach with our submitters, right now we approach and try to start conversations as much as we can. We try to give visibility to the songs we find great and its open access to anyone willing to find new music, like curators, brands, a&r, etc.
Dam: Well, don’t tell anyone but we’re about to launch our own label! We believe is the natural evolution of what we do and we took our time to make it right, wish us luck!
Carlos: The tools to create playlists right now, having the access to the amount of music in streaming services.. well, it’s amazing! In terms of future changes, it’s possible that algorithms take over on the music curation market.
I don’t see algorithms as a threat as they are a great tool for accurate curation, but when they are developed for certain interests, that might be a problem. We’d like the figure of the music curator recognised as a respected professional, let’s see if we’re lucky!
We study every case first. There is a lot of casual growth, or people who got famous with a track or celebrities… That’s not what we understand as 100% curators. We host a lot of playlists in our site from different profiles and genres, not necessarily with a great follow (we have some of them with less than 100) or with a relevant name in the industry.
We like well curated playlists, focused on quality over everything else. There are a lot of interests in curated playlists; you must ask yourself who is curating that playlist and how it’s making money.
As for involvement, most of them are only hosted in our site as we try to give them visibility – they also have access to our submit system in case they want to add music from our lovely submitters, but that’s not mandatory.
That’s a tricky question. Commercial success goes with heavy investment – what we’re building is heavy work, but brick by brick and with little or non-existing budget. We believe we’ll get there eventually, the secret is HARD WORK and saying goodbye to weekends.
At the moment;
Carlos: I’m obsessed with Alternative RnB – Berhana is a great example.
Dam: I’m so into Japanese fusion trip hop right now.
Records or CDs? Definitely Records – one of our office’s walls is completely filled up with vinyls.
Downloads or streaming? Streaming always.
Albums or Singles? Singles, sadly.
Human or algorithmic curation? Human curation + help from algorithms.
Host or Listener? We’re picky listeners, we try to provide playlists for every party we go to, haha! Definitely hosts!
Play in order or shuffle? If it’s done well, shuffle will always work!
Headphones or speakers? Speakers full volume to share with your neighbours.
The Beatles or the Stones, Tupac or Biggie? The Beatles.
Lead singer, guitarist or drummer? Tequila with all of them.
Listen to Indiemono’s eclectic mix of playlists here!
Indiemono will be hosting a bunch of sessions on BlueJay, tune in to their first session on Friday 20th April at 7pm GMT – be sure to download the app, connect to Spotify and tune in!