Music is consumed everywhere in day to day life — You hear it on the TV, in shops, in gyms and everywhere in between! But, did you know, it’s actually someone’s job to choose the songs you hear when you buy your morning coffee or listen to a playlist on your way to work? That’s right, it isn’t any old random mix of music! It’s been cleverly designed by music curators who get paid to listen to music…
What Is A Music Curator?
A music curator spends their day listening to music – Sounds like a perfect job to me, getting paid to listen to music! However, it does get a little more complicated than that… A curator will listen to and categorise music from labels and independent artists; often receiving hundreds of song applications a day! They will categorise them by genre, feel, instrumentation, male or female vocals and anything else you can think of! The more specific the categorisation, the easier it makes the curators job.
They’ll then use this music for different purposes, depending on the type of music curator…
Streaming curators work in-house for streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. It’s their job to create popular playlists that music fans will listen to on a frequent basis; encouraging subscriptions to the service. After all, some say playlists are the new radio! The curator must update these playlists on a regular basis and keep selected songs relevant to the playlist’s theme in order to keep fans engaged.
Curators in this sector can make or break a new release as most editorial playlists have thousands of subscribers. In the digital age, these in-house curators are inundated with artists and labels all trying to secure a spot in a popular playlist.
Many curators who are just starting out use streaming platforms as a way to build a portfolio and practice their curator skills. They’ll build up some playlists and once they have a good following, artists come to them! These playlist curators are easier to access for artists and labels and are perhaps more likely to have the perfect niche playlist. However, these independent playlists often carry lower subscriber/listener rates than editorial ones. Plus, these curators don’t usually get paid to listen to music, they’re still in the process of building up a career.
Curators of this nature are responsible for choosing which songs air on the radio. These curators must choose songs based on the station’s format and the interests of its listeners. Despite receiving hundreds of songs each day, the curator must choose tracks that will resonate with the station’s target audience, ensuring listeners stay tuned in. It’s vital that the curator reviews the radio’s listener analytics so that they air appropriate songs at the correct time.
A commercial curator will use his / her database of songs to build bespoke playlists for clients. The songs included in this playlist will depend heavily on the client’s goals. For example, a new local shoe shop has a strong brand surrounding the skater lifestyle. They want music playing throughout their stores to create a fun and adventurous atmosphere. A music curator will create such a playlist, focusing on factors such as the client’s demographic, the purpose of the music and type of venue to aid their song choices. Knowing how different styles of music can affect a person’s mood is an important skill for this sector. Other clients may choose to feature a slower, calm playlist in their workplace to induce a relaxed atmosphere for their customers.
How To Become A Playlist Curator And Get Paid To Listen To Music
This sounds like a pretty amazing job right? Well, it is! Especially if you love listening to music. Here’s how to become a curator:
You’re first going to need four basic things if you want to listen to music for money. Number one, you need to have a strong passion for music. You’re going to be listening to music all day every day – Not everyone can do that!
Secondly, you need to have a love or at least a high level of appreciation and understanding of all types of music. You won’t always be listening to your favourite genre so having a strong appreciation and understanding for other styles is vital to succeeding in this job. Start by listening to the leading artists in each genre, listen to their music and then diversify in order to gain broader knowledge.
Be organised! You need to be an incredibly organised person for this job. Can you imagine a client approaching you for a fresh artist in the Hip Hop genre that has a relaxed feel but you can’t find songs in your database relating to those categories? All because you haven’t clearly organised your music library. Total nightmare! Always stay on top of your organisation. Find a system that works for you and stick to it religiously.
Finally, have a deep understanding of how different music makes people feel. You may want to study music psychology? Clients are always trying to make their customers feel a specific way. They want people to feel energised and inspired, or sometimes relaxed and lazy depending on their banding and their specific goals. It’s your job to know what music does that.
How Much Do Curators Make?
Giving exact figures on a job salary is always a difficult venture. As there a couple of different curator roles at many different levels, it’s very difficult to give an exact figure. Like with most jobs in all specialist industries, if you’re with a company, the more successful the company, the higher your salary.
In rough figures, a curators can be anywhere between £20,000 a year up to £40,000. Although, there are surely some successful curators out there earning more than that! Definitely a worthwhile job when finance is concerned.
Get Paid To Listen To Music With Music Curator Jobs
As with everything in the music industry, there are many ways you can approach a career in playlist curating and start to get paid to listen to music. The most straight forward would, of course, to be to work for a curating company. This has a multitude of advantages. The company will already be established in this market with clients and labels approaching them on a daily basis.
If working for someone else isn’t your thing, you could always go in alone and start your own company. As with all independent ventures, the start up is tricky but the rewards are far larger!
Starting your own curator company will require you to build a large music library and network of labels and clients. This will of course take time. Spotify is a fantastic way to practice your curating skills and an even better way to build your portfolio. Even those looking for a more employed route into this career should build a portfolio on streaming platforms.
At Music Gateway, we’re very happy to have developed a new way for you to get paid to listen to music, make money from your playlists and help you stay organised. We can’t wait to hear from you!
Well, there you have it, the basic steps you need for a career in music curating. A fantastic job for anybody who loves music — Which if you’re reading this, I assume you do! Get listening and good luck