This week we dedicate our spotlight to one of of the most inspiring curators we’re fortunate to be collaborating with - Valley View Records.
Hailing from Perth, Australia, they’re doing a bunch of pretty awesome stuff with musicians, visual artists, and with promoting new music and curating playlists with their latest discoveries!
We were curious to hear out their story and their take on today's’ shifts and trends in the music industry, promotion and music discovery, so we sat Matt from VVR down to hear what’s on their mind :)
Tell us a bit about your label, what motivated you to start your label, and how long are you around?
Matt: "Valley View Records was launched in September 2017 as a platform where I could assist artists in gaining more exposure with their music by utilising some of the contacts and experience I had earned as an Indie artist and motivated industry member... I have always had a passion for music and entering adulthood gained a keen passion for business, so it felt like a natural step for me to start a label. The only area I was lacking was the visual arts component of label services but was lucky enough to have Clayton Popa fill this role as our Creative Arts Director. He is an award winning painter and graphic designer so it certainly helps having that talent on board!"
What's your vision for the label and your artists?
Matt: "As cliché as it sounds, we are very much about the music and being an artist run label... Our vision is to continue our growth plan for the label, reaching and engaging a larger fan base and provide our artists with an exceptional platform to get their music heard. Part of this plan is also growing our Spotify presence which we have really only started to do over the last few months.. It allows us to add and promote a heap of other artists we discover and lov
e who are not signed to our label but simply make great music we feel deserves more attention. The idea being to build more of a community around the label rather than an out of reach commerce centred platform."
As a label, what do think are the upsides of using human music curation in general, and Spotify playlist curation specifically when promoting a new track/album/EP?
Matt: "As a label, we create our own playlists for the simple fact we can choose the exact mood, soundscape and artists we want to promote. Having these playlists accessible for public consumption allows us to pitch our brand to listeners on a different format, which is nice. Also, having our playlists accessible for artist submission allows us the opportunity to hear new music and in turn promote artists we discover and love on an easy platform negating any need for contractual obligations, which is also nice. This is a system that can be exploited by any user on Spotify, whether they are a solo act, band, producer or label. Adding artists to your playlists and having them involved in the growth by streaming following and sharing will benefit all, the only catch is the music needs to be selected carefully and of course be of good quality otherwise the long term engagement simply wont exist."
As a playlist curator, what would you recommend to artists who try to submit music to you? can you share some "do's and don'ts"?
Matt:"Firstly, take the time to listen to the playlist before you submit to actually see if your music is similar not only in sound and style but of equal or better sound quality than the others on their.
Make sure your music is actually on the platform first – It may sound obvious, but we get tons of submissions for our Spotify playlists with people giving us Sound Cloud links or YT links and just assuming because we are a label we can magic them straight onto our Spotify lists – It doesn’t work like that.
Be humble. Don’t reach out with a message that starts with 10 flame emojis and start by saying this is the greatest new song in the world you have to hear it!! – We likely won’t listen. A simple message like – 'Hi my name is xxxxx I just discovered and am following your playlist xxxx' it's really nice... We will listen every time to messages like this.
Follow, Share & Listen. If you do get added, help the playlist grow faster by following and sharing with your own friends and fans and make sure to tag us. This shows that you appreciate the addition and will go a long way in ensuring you are kept on the playlist long term and possibly even bumped up a little higher on the list."
Spotify's in-house playlists vs. privately curated playlists. Which do you think most artists should focus on getting their music to?
Matt: "Personally, I believe artists should focus on just getting their music onto as many playlists as possible -whether privately curated or major Spotify branded playlists. Spotify For Artists has now made it easier to pitch unreleased songs direct to the tastemakers at Spotify which is great but I also feel artists should put lots of time and energy into getting onto privately curated playlists. The benefit of private playlists is that you generally have personal interaction with the curator, which allows an opportunity to establish a base for future additions to their playlist from connecting and networking. Privately curated playlists can attract some huge numbers especially if the curator continues to grow and build their playlists over time – so it is definitely a worthwhile time investment to find curators, connect and pitch your music. It is also really important in my opinion that once you are added to a playlist you also follow, share and stream the playlist regularly. If every addition to a playlist adopted the same principle it would assist the growth exponentially and of course in turn benefit every artist lucky enough to be on the playlist. Of course, if you have the resources and ability to get onto a major Spotify branded playlist then definitely aim for them as the instant exposure can be huge."
Paid streaming has a key role in dictating listening habits. We witness more and more music fans who consume music mostly through playlists, how does this affect you as a label owner? Are you trying to release more singles?
Matt: "Spotify has definitely changed the game in the music industry, some say for the better and others completely disagree. Personally, I am a fan of the platform and as a label we have adapted our business model to suit the trend. I would definitely say that album sales both in the physical and digital form as a whole have decreased due to the accessibility Spotify and other streaming platforms now offer listeners which does take a little away from that financial aspect of the label. However, there is still very much a market for artist music sales and merchandise which we do target, it is just perhaps slightly diminished. On the flip side of this, getting tracks on heavy rotation playlists or lots of smaller rotation playlists that the streaming platforms offer does allow the artist to receive long-term passive income and perhaps exposure to more listeners and fans, which is a bonus. I guess there is a benefit in releasing more singles as a label in that it allows more direct pitch opportunities to the Spotify curators, however we just support our artists with their own creative wants. We would never push artists to divvy up an album into a bunch of singles. If they have an EP, or album they want us to manage then we release it in the form the artist wants it to be released."
Three Spotify playlists we should all have on our "favorites" list.
Valley View Discography - Check out what we are all about by listening to every release from us to date on this playlist.
Sonder House Selects – These guys have some pretty decent sized playlists and I believe this one may be at current their smallest but it is my favourite. It doesn’t feature any of our artists but it does feature incredibly beautiful music from a bunch of other talented people that you should all check out.
Relaxing Modern Classical – Not our biggest playlist but I do love this one. This one has been carefully curated and features some really amazing modern day classical composers. It may not be your typical classical music playlist but it is lovely.
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