Matoma Explains His Streaming Connection With Debut LP (Exclusive)

Jimmy Fontaine
Matoma photographed in 2015.

Streaming services have become an integral part of the music industry conversation, usually with artists pitted against the new giants, but what if instead of swimming against the tide, a producer worked with Spotify to present fans a unique and immediate experience?

“I grew up with the Internet … where I had to put out remixes and content every single week to grow my fan(base),” says 24-year-old producer Matoma. “My mission is to think about the people that listen to my music and try to reach out to my fans in the best possible way. When we have streaming services that can put out songs constantly, why not do it?”

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Introducing Hakuna Matoma, the Norwegian artist's first full-length LP release (on Big Beat Records). It's just like any other debut. Its eight tracks encapsulate his sun-kissed sound into a thematic and well-designed package. It's got a few familiar singles, a bunch of new material, and stand-out gems featuring crowd-favorite artists from Jennifer Lopez to Jason Derulo and Wale.

It's a strong first showing from a quickly rising artist, and Matoma should be proud, but instead of sitting on his laurels and patting himself on the back, he's going to keep working on it, even after it's been released.

In that way, Hakuna Matoma is very different. It's not a static album, but what Matoma and his crew call an “organic” one. It won't stand as a single work of art forever in its place, unchanging. It's more like an infinite playlist instantly accessible to fans today through Spotify and Soundcloud, and Matoma says it's better this way.

“When I make a song, I want it to get released as soon as possible so they can listen to it and enjoy it,” he says. “I got so inspired by people sending me messages all the time like 'oh, you need to get your music on the streaming services.' I've been working really hard to do that, and this is my way to show them that I care about my fans and the people that listen to my music.”

The producer plans to update the playlist with a new single at least every three to four weeks for the next six months, but he sees other exciting possibilities, too. Say he wants to hold a special concert and within that set, he's going to launch his next single? Fans go nuts and want to hear the song again, and they can on their ride home when their excitement is at its peak, because it was just added to the playlist.

Instead of waiting for a big roll out, Matoma can take straight to social media and alert his fans to any updates. It will keep fans running back to the album to see if anything's changed. It's an interaction that will make them feel connected with the artist, wherever they may be in the world, and that's really the whole idea.

“I always want to make people smile and make people feel special,” Matoma says. “I just want to say thank you to the fans and to the listeners because the only reason I'm here is because of them. I wouldn't be here if I didn't have them.”