"There are 12 people that control the playlists that have global impact," said Mom + Pop Music co-president Thaddeus Rudd.
It used to be that labels and managers had to court radio programmers to get their singles on the air. Now, it’s a whole different kind of courting as streaming becomes ever more important with top curators holding the keys to accessing playlists that can make or break a song. During Day 1 one Midem, executives from indie labels and digital platforms addressed curators' growing clout as they celebrated new avenues for breaking artists and songs during a panel titled “Streaming Services: The New A&Rs?”
“The consolidation of curators has been astounding,” said Thaddeus Rudd, co-president of U.S. indie Mom + Pop Music, referring to top services like Apple Music and Spotify. “There are 12 people that control the playlists that have global impact.”
The notion that so much power -- because playlists not only break songs but provide audience numbers for artists -- is amassed in such few hands is definitely a source of concern for labels. Music business consultant and panel moderator Lara Baker asked if it was career destroying to miss out on key playlists.