Music Curator: Tips To Become One

A girl listening to music on her headphones while looking at her phone - Learn more about music curators
Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay 

When you hear Music curators, you are probably wondering what they are and how to become one. Becoming a music curator is simple actually; you have to understand the term first. Music curation is simply matching tunes to maintain a particular atmosphere at a specific place. Let’s just say, as a music curator, you have to know how to compare tunes to different vibes at a given time. It could be for a specific place or particular brand. It is somewhat similar to being a DJ as they have similar things in common. 

To become a music curator, you have to have a passion for music. You also need to have a broad knowledge of the style of music you decide to curate. You have to take note of the tone of the gathering, place, or brand behind it. So, being a curator isn’t about having a passion for music. Music curation is all about having the right music for your audience at the right time.

Now, to what a music curator does and how to become one, let’s understand what a music curator is. 

Who is a music Curator?

In summary, a music curator will spend an entire day listening to music. Well, this sounds nice to me. Listening to music and receiving payment for it is simply a good and stress-free job. Now, that’s what I think, alongside you. But, what we don’t know is that there are more complicating issues simply listening to music. 

As a music curator, you will have to listen to different music and categorize these sounds. The music categorization will be from labels to independent artists. They will also organize these sounds by instrumentation, feel, genre, and vocals. Now, I don’t think it sound easier as we thought.

Now, the more specific the classification, the easier the curator job it. Once you are done categorizing, they can now use the music for whatever purpose. However, the usage of the music depends on the type of music curator you are. It brings us to the subsequent discussion. What are the different kinds of music curators?

Types of Music Curators

Streaming curators

These music curators work in-house for different streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify. What do they do? They only create playlists that most music fans will listen to daily. It encourages more subscriptions on streaming platforms. A lot of people find playlists a better choice than the radio. So, these curators will have to update these playlists daily to keep the songs relevant continually. When the fans keep getting updated playlists, they won’t be eager to stop the subscription. 

These music curators might eventually make or break a new release due to the number of subscribers. However, with the growing number of artists and labels, there is a bit of competition. The artists and labels are all trying to secure a spot in a popular playlist as well.

A lot of music curators just starting also use these streaming platforms as a learning ground. They can build their portfolio and even practice curating skills. As they keep using the streaming platforms and building up playlists, they begin to have a following. They might be lucky enough to have artists come to them as they keep releasing playlists. Or they are likely to have a good niche playlist that might satisfy the need of the artist or label. These types of curators are easier for artists and labels to access since they are independent. 

Radio curators 

These types of curators are responsible for selecting which songs air on the radio. These music curators will listen and categorize music according to the station’s format. They also categorize according to what interests the listeners. The curator must select tracks that align with the station’s format regardless of the number of songs they receive.

The playlist must resonate with the station’s audience and ensures listeners stay tuned in. To deliver the best services, the curator must review the station’s listener analytics. It will help to decide the most appropriate songs to air and at the right time.

Commercial curators

The next type of music curator is the commercial curator. Just as the name implies, they create bespoke playlists for clients. Since it is for commercial purposes, the playlist will depend solely on the client’s goals. Once the client decides what to use, the curators use their song database and create the playlist. 

For example, let’s say you have a client who runs a sort shop as a startup. Now, the client wants music playing throughout their stores to give their customers that energetic feel. As a professional curator, you have to create a playlist that aligns with the client’s purpose. Your playlist should focus on the client’s demographic, type of venue, and purpose. 

Knowing how different styles of music can influence a person’s mood is essential for this kind of curation. While other clients may settle for a slow a calm playlist, others may not. It’s is necessary you pay attention and works towards achieving the client’s focus. 

Now that we have all three types of music curators let’s dig into what a music curator does. 

What does a music curator do?

Listen to music 

The first thing a music curator does is listen to a lot of music. They listen to music early in the morning before grabbing lunch or walking home in the evening. Being a professional music curator means being an expert in your chosen field. Just like other careers, there are different niches available for you in music curation. You might end up working for commercial clients who host events. Or you might work for hotels that want better elevator music or soft music in the lobby. Irrespective of the sector you choose to work in, there are styles and genres of music in that line. 

So, it’s your job to stay right on top of what is new to give your clients trendy and relevant music. How do you achieve this as a music curator? You have to keep listening to music, a lot of music. You will have to spend ample time exploring new songs, new artists. Ensure to keep a finger on the pulse of what styles of music potential customers are enjoying now. 

Update your music libraries 

These music curators spend a lot of time checking out new artists and songs and always looking for recent trends. One of the crucial jobs you have as a music curator is to update your curated playlists constantly. Music curators update their playlists daily to glue subscribers and audiences. They ensure that the tracks they select remain relevant and continue to inspire creators. Music curators categorize these playlists by instrumentation, vocals, mood, genre, and others. However, the more specific the selection is, the easier it is for creators to select the best match for content.

Now we understand what music curators do, let’s move on to becoming one of them. Just keep reading, and you will be calling yourself a music curator soon.

How to Become a Music Curator

Develop a music network

First thing first, getting new music can be draining and take all of your time. By the time you find one, you will be left with no energy to curate a playlist for your client. So, cultivate a network of different music labels, agents, promoters, or managers. It means that your relationship with them could get you something new and fresh regularly. With this, you have more time to listen, categorize and give your client the best. You could achieve this quickly than sourcing new music on your own. Networking always works. 

Learn to listen 

It’s fantastic that you know all genres of music, but do you understand what the client needs? There are different clients; each comes with different needs from the others. These needs depend on location, timing, target audience, and a whole lot of things. A client might want you to create a holiday playlist, something the customers can hum along. The same client might want something different in summer. 

Now, your job as a professional curator is to listen and work with them. However, they want their playlist. Just as you keep your ear to the ground for new trends, you should also learn to listen to your client. Keep your ear for new stuff and learn to provide for clients as the needs arise.

Understand effective marketing strategy and music trend

Part of being a music curator is to be able to cater to the needs of your client. You have to understand not only the client’s brand but the customers as well. When creating a playlist for a supermarket, you should know that this store is meant for all ages. However, you should be able to create a playlist that caters to both old and young customers. Something the young would enjoy and the old understand would be a starting point. 

Take your audiences and streamers on a journey

Having a playlist with all of your favorite tracks on any streaming platform is a good starting point. But having people following your playlists and listening is more fantastic. So, if you want people to follow your playlist, you will do well not to stockpile your tracks in one playlist. Ensure you categorize your library into a separate playlist. Your playlist should consist of multiple music genres but relates to one another. Each of your music tracks must not seamlessly blend into the next track. However, we can’t have Adele playing immediately after Lil Wayne.  

Organization

Organization is key to having a great playlist. If you want to be a good music curator, then organization should be a skill to develop. You should always stay right on top of your organization. Find a technique that works for you and stick to it. Have your genres of music all in order according to year, mood, and whatsoever. 

Engagement

Another way to become a music curator is to learn to engage your followers. People are clicking on your playlist because they saw music that they like. So, ensure to update your playlist regularly. Make sure you rotate your tracks in and out of your library gradually. Rotating and updating your playlist will keep your followers glued to you for a long time. 

Conclusion

Like everything in the entertainment industry, there are things to do to succeed in a chosen field. Since you love listening to music, you could build a career out of that and earn money. You could work for a curating company that already has enough clients approaching regularly. You could also start your own company and build a name for yourself. There are varying ways to do that, and if you read through, you will understand. There you have it, all about music curators, what they do and how to become one.

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