I apologise for entering this conversation so late, and therefore dumping a massive thought chain here!
I can see that there are 3 main areas here that have been discussed - my thoughts that I would like to share below.
- how to present playlists on resonate - this needs to be established as a working discussion group with artists, curators, coop members, tech, marketing and story. we have the chance to do something wonderful and think big, but part of that is looking at how playlists are used, what they represent, what can they offer for discovery, community, collectives etc. Ultimately this may lead into the discussion around bringing both podcasts and audio books into resonate next year. As well as things like stems, demos etc. Is there already a public group for this?
There must be a deeper conversation about how we can creatively do better than other DSPs and music communities - this is a conversation that involves both tech, community, marketing/comms/story - how will the playlists be highlighted and presented long term, what can they become for the community - how are they used by other communities like currents/bandcamp/soundcloud, how are they used (and abused) by DSPs/advertisers/major labels, what does collective patronage look like and how can we achieve this within resonate and the music ecosystem, how can we level the playing field for all, how can we elevate the unheard or ignored, how do we encourage discovery and participation in new scenes, right up to the core issue of what is the value of music and art. etc.
It’s the most exciting and vital problem to solve - where we can take the best of tech and the best of human discovery. We can already see examples of this being done well - at bandcamp for instance highlighting supporters/showing purchases etc (where they also do it “badly” in the editorial form of bandcamp daily, but still better than all the other DSPs where it becomes personality driven and payola), and from these starting points we can probably do even better as we are intentionally building to be ethical, fair, inclusive, just etc…
- playlists as a competition - this is the main reason I am here.
angus asked me to publicise the new playlist competition on the newsletter - which is how I became aware of this discussion.
here is my answer to @angus - edited
I am wary of including the featured playlist competition in the newsletter.
I discussed this with @richjensen last night and I’m going to try to share some of my concerns with you now…
A competition is setting a precedent, we haven’t communicated via newsletter in years and as a community based on cooperation, inclusivity, diversity etc. it feels completely off to be promoting a competition. What does that say about who we are? That we are actively forging a path with “winners” and therefore “losers” in music.
In general, the idea of competitions to highlight music is ethically wrong - art is not a competition - and what I understood to be the complete antithesis of what we want to build as both a platform and community. It’s written in our manifesto that has already been agreed by the board.
From a marketing and communication viewpoint… It also feels too basic - while I appreciate it has been decided and will go ahead as a first trial, to highlight it in the newsletter or our socials is something I am strongly against. I would hope that this quickly evolves into something thoughtfully and consciously in keeping with our coop ideals.
I saw from the thread that one of the reasons that was decided to do a competition is to “reward” members - but they are already being rewarded by being a part of the coop! Transparency, participation, ownership, governance are the rewards.
If we want to incentivise people to engage and share, it has to be more complicated, deeper and meaningful than a competition or picking favourites. And to highlight a single playlist is, again, against our own manifesto. (I believe that a playlist landing page that draws highlighted playlists from multiple sources - genre, geographic, artists, curators, most listened, not listened, new, random should be our urgent Q1 '22 goal)
I can suggest a quick fix - rather than it being a competition for any playlist, it could be made into a discovery playlist. A discovery playlist would be made entirely of music the curator has discovered on resonate, no friends or relatives, sounds outside their comfort zone or regular listening habits that they want to share with the community. Something like this would slightly better fit our ideals. It would be created with deliberate care and intention to push discovery and exploration - therefore in keeping with our values.
I don’t expect that to be done now, and honestly we can probably do even better with enough heads - but criticism delivered without proposed solutions or steps forward is obviously unhelpful!
- personalities rather than playlists - as suggested by @richjensen
my experience of this way of doing things is that the nature of marketing and music industry churn would quickly lead this in a direction that was not our intention… even as a rolling post or personality, it’s gatekeeping, and in 2021 we must be able to do better.
Finally, highlighting of the playlists will have to be done, probably very soon, but personally I don’t believe we will need a competition to get people to use or spread the playlists. That’s why the embedding of playlists/releases is so essential to our renewal - to enable organic spread and usage outside of our platform. Part of the communication strategy is to get media, artists, curators, labels, radio shows, charities/NGOs etc to take up the use of our playlisting function and spread it. And once this isn’t hidden on the site and we have new catalogue, and people see this being used, they will take it up themselves - IMO.
I hope that this is helpful,