#HowWeListen – Patrick Ross / Music Ally

July 29, 2019 Byta #HowWeListen

How We Listen is an interview series where Byta interviews artists, their teams, and everyone else working in and around music about how they find, listen and experience music, new and old.

Patrick Ross / Music Ally

Who are you?

Patrick Ross

Where are you based?

On a boat called Holly, on Regents Canal, in London, England

Where do you work? What do you do?

I’m the Senior Vice President, Digital Strategy for Music Ally. I educate the industry on all things digital marketing as it relates to music, constantly in front of folks spreading the good news of digital. I also work with artists and labels to help them better connect with their audience. And sometimes I even write for our publication, but usually I just talk and someone else quotes me.

What are you listening to?

Ruben Dawnson, a former student of mine from LIMPI. He’s awesome. Oh, and also The Grateful Dead. Deadhead for life.

How do you discover new music?

Apple Music does a good job of telling me what’s out. There’s the occasional well done Instagram Story ad that piques my interest, like it did with the band Parcels. I also hear about a lot of stuff from our Sandbox publication, which covers all kinds of great digital campaigns. And then of course there’s artists I follow talking things up on social media and email.

On the latter I’m always looking for acts doing things outside of the usual suspects. I’m not a Spotify person, so those playlists are kind of meaningless to me. And Apple Music is far more about presenting albums than transient playlists. What I really look for is artists taking a leaf from a recent article (and panel in NY at our Sandbox Summit conference) that we’ve been talking about. The Dry Streams Paradox, as we call it. The idea is that simple playlisting alone is not going to create a sustainable artist-fan relationship. So I’m always on the lookout for artists doing interesting things to stay connected with me, and fans at large.

What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Services and why?

My daily listening is usually done on Apple Music. (I also still have iTunes Match that keeps all my more obscure collection available on the go.) At home I listen to vinyl, but only buy records I really love, and these days, have fallen in love with digitally.

Where do you do most of your music listening?

I do a lot of travelling these days. (Recently realised I was on 9 flights in the span of 7 days. 🛫🛬🛫🛬🛫🛬…) So a lot of listening on airplanes, airports, etc. There’s a Panda Bear album, Person Pitch, I listen to on every takeoff. It’s been putting me to sleep in-flight for over a decade.

Commuting of course, gotta have something to drown out the noise on the bus.

At work we have a Sonos on our boat, so we can all share what we’re digging. (As well as play some key “yacht rock” playlists from Spotify and Apple Music for our obligatory “bubbly booze” on deck sessions in the summer.)

And at home it’s all about my vinyl collection. Drop that needle and let it play.

How do find and listen to pre-release music?

If it’s an artist I am really into, there will often be an NPR First Listen. And yes, we do often get stuff through from the artists we work with pre-release. Usually they are sending around a Soundcloud link.

I was teaching in Lillehammer, Norway for most of last year, and got a lot of stuff coming my way from the very talented students. They use Auddly as a place to manage their song rights, so I get a fair few links from there for my listening pleasure.

What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?

When listening to stuff digitally, that’s not released, it can be challenging. I get a fair few links in emails. (I also send a fair few, usually what I am passed.) If I actually love something, being able to download is a plus, as I can add it to my iTunes library and listen over Apple Music. Private Soundclouds can be annoying, especially because I can’t play them on the office Sonos. Also, I inevitably end up losing them, as you always need the link to get back to them.

As for general digital music, as mentioned a few times I use Apple Music. It’s basically the same experience I’ve had with iTunes for years, so very familiar. It works for me. Since relocating to the UK a decade or so ago, I’ve been mainly digital. Yes, I did finally bring my records over, and do love that format best, but as I’m on the go so much I love having my library available anywhere. As a teenager I took all my 400 CD’s with me wherever I went. Now I just need my phone.

How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?

Apple Music does a good job of keeping things in a “Recently Added” list. It’s what you initially see when you navigate your library on the app. (And it’s far more exhaustive on desktop.) They also do a good job of surfacing your favourites to you, both by showing what you have in heavy rotation and by surfacing tracks that you know and love.

Do you tip other people off to new music? How?

I have tried things, like music discovery / sharing app Laylo, but find some of the best ways are still the old ways. Mine tends to be either directly messaging friends / family about what I think is good. That, and continuously loading up the office stereo with things I am digging.

Anything you want to “promote”?

Since beginning writing this and finishing writing this, Music Ally has started managing our first artist. He’s called Ruben Dawnson. His latest track “What Happened to the Days?” is just great, and getting some Spotify love in Scandinavia. He’s also got a great little video for it. Check him out!

#HowWeListen – Catherine North / Balance Artists Management

July 22, 2019 Byta #HowWeListen

How We Listen is an interview series where Byta interviews artists, their teams, and everyone else working in and around music about how they find, listen and experience music, new and old.
Catherine North Balance Artists Management

Who are you?
Catherine North

Where are you based?
London

Where do you work? What do you do?
I run Balance Artists Management – managing Weird Milk and Honey Lung.

What are you listening to?
At the moment I’m listening to a band from Brighton called Guru who have released some great tracks this year. Another band I have watched and grown to love over the past year is a band called Haze. Also a huge fan of Ider, had their track on repeat for weeks, and Sinead O’Brien – a spoken word artist from Ireland that has just signed to Chess Club and I think is going to do really well. Also, currently a lot of Kylie as her Glastonbury set was one of my all time favourites!

How do you discover new music?
I don’t like facebook but the only reason I still have it is for events! It’s great for finding new bands that are doing small show support slots. I also am an avid user of twitter and the new blogs I see pop up with tracks from bands in Bristol and Brighton that I wouldn’t be able to find elsewhere. I also look at new signings to people’s rosters – great to see who’s been signed up that I’ve not heard of!

What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Services and why?
I used to love buying CD’s – the idea of going into Woolworths when I was younger with £10 and choosing very carefully what I wanted from the shelf was an absolute joy that I miss doing! I definitely still treasure the ones I have from when I was younger but now it’s streaming only really for me – unless in the car. If i’m totally honest I’ll buy a vinyl only if it’s got great artwork as I really love the way vinyls look on the shelf!

Where do you do most of your music listening?
At home! Or on the train – the tube is the perfect place with no signal to really get stuck into new music.

How do find and listen to pre-release music?
I love the new Jack Saunders show (on Radio 1) for premieres – I always try and tune in to his show. His next wave feature is great, have introduced me to some great new artists. I get emails a lot from bands looking for management and it’s so nice to see and read about all the cool things bands are doing to get noticed in the ever changing digital world! Seeing them really investing time in artwork and novel ideas to promote themselves is inspiring.

What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?
Lot’s of links in emails to lots tracks put me off listening to something for a bit – I’d rather just have the strongest track sent and get hooked on that. I find the interface of apple music myself a bit complicated and trying to play Soundcloud on my phone I find an absolute nightmare and end up being a bit technophobic with it and just giving up – a WAV file is best for me personally to just click and listen.

Spotify is of course very easy to use and is great for finding new releases but also I think there is a danger now that the skip button is all too close and easy to press. One of the band member’s I manage mentioned the other week he is going to try and listen to new music only through physical means because he finds himself struggling to get into it just on Spotify sometimes which I thought was a great point.

How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?
Playlists! Or I make a note of it – however thinking about it now I actually bookmark a lot of tracks on Chrome. Usually Soundcloud links I like – or blog articles / track reviews I really like to come back to!

Do you tip other people off to new music? How?
I am always trying to get out to gigs & my co-manager John is also a promoter so he’s great at finding new bands and putting them on – he put on a band called JOHN who supported Idles on their tour last year and the community who came down of Idles fans was great to see. I quite often send bands my friends are working with to people I know as I think it’s a great thing to encourage everyone supporting each other with their music!

Anything you want to “promote”?
Check out the new Weird Milk track that’s released on the 23rd of July called “Honey I’m Around” – great summer and chilled vibe to it! Perfect soundtrack to a BBQ. They also play Truck festival and have a headline Camden Assembly date on the 7th August! Come along 🙂

#HowWeListen – Hannes Tschürtz / Ink Music [EN]

July 15, 2019 Byta #HowWeListen

How We Listen is an interview series where Byta interviews artists, their teams, and everyone else working in and around music about how they find, listen and experience music, new and old.

Hannes Tschürtz Ink Music

Photo by Elisabeth Anna

Who are you?
Hannes Tschürtz.

Where are you based?
I live in good old Vienna, Austria.

Where do you work? What do you do?
I run Ink Music, an agency I founded in 2001 that covers management, booking, label and publishing. There’s a bunch of lovely people working with me here. We focus on artist development and bringing artists into new areas, geographically and artistically. The label released way over 100 records, our Live Department books tours in and around Austria and also promotes some 300-400 shows a year in Austria. We also do a lot of conceptional work and curation for festivals, communities and brands. Also we are very active in creating and running educational programmes for the local music industry, which has been growing nicely in the past couple of years. I personally mostly focus on artist management and strategic work for the company. I’m happy to say that I’m also a big fan of the artists i work with – like Leyya, Schmieds Puls (Mira Lu Kovacs) or Lou Asril.

What are you listening to?
Currently I somehow mostly rediscover a lot of old music from 70s soul (Motown Era and beyond) to jazz records (classics really – Coltrane! Getz/Gilberto! Davis! Chet Baker!) from the 60s – which don’t necessarily fit in the company picture. I must admit I find it harder and harder to get excited over new music. If it does, I’m often surprised about myself – for instance i really enjoy my piece of pop, like Sigrid. I also liked Janelle Monae’s recent record and Little Simz new one. Vampire Weekend got me – again, and my favourite new discovery of now is Australian singer Angie McMahon.

How do you discover new music?
There’s this ever amazing radio station in Austria called FM4 that does such a brilliant job in filtering music of all genres. They have a very dedicated and diverse team. Since their early days each night is dedicated to a different niche – from HipHop to Indie to Metal. They have a DJ slot in the afternoon that is exciting, the Gilles Peterson Worldwide show… it’s really enriching and colourful.

Some Spotify playlists do the job but I have the feeling it’s harder to fall for something completely new without some story or introduction. And then of course there are a lot of personal recommendations from your circles – and I don’t mean Social Media ones, but personal ones.

What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Services and why?
Pheew. I used to DJ for ages but haven’t touched most of my collection in years. I’m afraid I don’t own a working CD player anymore. Mostly the convenience of Spotify is winning the game; occasionally for a enjoyable and relaxed dinner i give some of my vinyl a dedicated listen. I’m not a huge collector anymore but love to take some vinyl home especially from shows I enjoyed and artists I admire.

Where do you do most of your music listening?
My favourite time to listen to music is indeed while doing boring regular household stuff at home like dishwashing, vacuuming or just getting things in order. Both of it then feels like a treat.

How do find and listen to pre-release music?
Ink Music gets loads of demos and of course also a lot of unreleased stuff from our artists, too. Soundcloud is very convenient for this, i don’t really like actual downloads. To actually find new music it’s really often on recommendations, especially at or around festivals you attend. Also keeping your eyes open what your favourite channels – be it radio, Facebook or release playlists – say, helps here, obviously.

What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?
Secret download or streaming links that change, you somehow lost and/or forgot. Example: Track 1 uploaded, but artist then altered, deleted and re-uploaded the song to a different place. Annoying.

How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?
Can you, really? I loved last.fm back in the days to do this for me but it’s not made for the business side of things, obviously. So a lot is pure bookmarking of e-mails and browser pages.

Do you tip other people off to new music? How?
All the time, and not necessarily on “my” stuff or new music. I really like to talk and play with my bands on their own references and then tip them off to, say, a weird Herbie Hancock (used to be the trailer music for Austrias “Top Of The Pops” show in the 80s) or Talking Heads record from 1980 when I figure they would probably like it. They often then refer back to something really fresh and new I hadn’t heard before. This is actually great fun.

Anything you want to “promote”?
You would never believe how deep, dense, diverse and amazing the Austrian music scene currently is, so dig in deep. You have to listen to this 19y old whizkid Lou Asril, you will enjoy every single piece that Leyya get their hands on and same goes for Mira Lu Kovacs who’s is in an amazing band that fits your needs if you’re up for something more experimental. I could easily recommend 50, though. Vienna these days is H.O.T.

#HowWeListen – Kristin Grant / Westcott Multimedia

June 11, 2019 Byta #HowWeListen

How We Listen is an interview series where Byta interviews artists, their teams, and everyone else working in and around music about how they find, listen and experience music, new and old.
Kristin Grant Westcott Multimedia Forbes

Who are you?
Kristin Grant

Where are you based?
I am originally from Toronto, Canada. Currently, I am based in Los Angeles.

Where do you work? What do you do?
I am a contributor for Forbes and I am the Founder of Westcott Multimedia. An automated advertising platform built for independent record labels. Our mission is to use data to create a connection by getting the right music to the right people at the right time. There are over 40,000 songs uploaded every day onto Spotify and access to promotion is a challenge. In other words, getting your music on the radio or playlists. So how does one get noticed through all of the noise? What we do, is we launch digital advertisements online in reaction to spikes in streaming which represent moments of increased awareness about the band. We help to control your spending, increase an artist’s runway and subsequently, their chances of breaking a hit in the online marketplace. We focus a lot on promoting catalog music.

What are you listening to?
Right now, I am listening to “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X. Actually, I am currently listening to not only the original, but the remix by Billy Ray Cyrus and the remix by Diplo. This song has such an awesome story behind it. It had originally charted on the Country charts but was taken down because it could also be perceived as a hip hop song. Regardless, country fans were connecting with it and country radio programmers were playing it. This is a perfect example of a common behavior within the music space of industry professionals thinking that they can dictate and define what culture connects with. After this happened, a legendary country artist named Billy Ray Cyrus, who also happens to be Miley Cyrus’s father remixed the track forcing it back into the country charts.

How do you find new music?
I discover new music through recommendations through friends and my network or whatever comes across my news feed. I love seeing video advertisements for artists music videos on my Instagram or YouTube.
Saying that I look at music discovery in two ways; first, as a listener discovering new music and then as an artist discovering new fans. Believe it or not, when you are using data, these two perspectives become very different. For example, Spotify uses data to help users discover new music, so they categorize genres as Chill, Dinner Music, Sleepy Time. However, I have yet to see an artist walk out of the studio pronouncing they’ve made the best “Workout song that ever existed!” Saying that, when an artist is trying to bucket listeners most likely to listen to their Hip Hop song, they will categorize their listeners as hip hop, rap or r&b, not workout. It’s subtle, but in the world of data and bucketing audience based on listening preferences, categorization of titles matter from the perspective of who you are discovering for and for what purpose. When it comes to artists discovering new fans, I think discovery is a huge challenge.

I benchmark the functionality of the products we build off of how I discover new music or don’t, online. When I was living in Nashville, I discovered a song called “do re mi” by an artist named Blackbear and I fell in love with it. When this happens with a song, I play it on repeat. That following weekend, Blackbear did a show in Nashville and I had no idea! If I had known, I would have loved to by a ticket. Even though I had listened to the song probably 60 times in a 48-hour period, at no point in time did I see an advertisement on my Facebook letting me know that this artist was in town. Currently, there is no link between music listening and the ability to discover, reach and cultivate a base of fans.

What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Services and why?
I listen on streaming services, Spotify is my goto. I like the flow and functionality of Spotify versus other digital service providers, that is the primary reason I use the service.

Where do you do most of your music listening?
Everywhere, all the time. If I could have a permanent soundtrack to my life, like those old black and white movies where the entire storyline is amplified by a background soundtrack, I would do it in a heartbeat. I listen to different types of music for different activities and moods but for that reason, in terms of music preferences, I am genre agnostic. If it is good, it’s good. Currently, I have two apple speakers that like to randomly switch from playing my Spotify account to my ancient iTunes account containing nothing but Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. Amazing music but arguably not suitable for every situation. For this reason, I’m looking into new stereo systems.

How do find and listen to pre-release music?
I get sent pre-release music from my labels, artists and friends in the music space. It’s always a treat when that happens.

What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?
I love listening to music online, the internet gives you the ability to research and learn about new waves of music all over the world.

How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?
My songs list on Spotify is like a chronological soundtrack to my life. Everything I listen to is saved here. So if I go down my song list, I can identify what songs were summer 2017, summer 2016 and so on.

Do you tip other people off to new music? How?
When I can, I do. I am starting a series of articles on Forbes every month that will highlight a song I’ve discovered and tell the story of the artist and the song’s trajectory using data to back it up.

Anything you want to “promote”?
We have built our data model off of taking traditional practices in the music industry like the traditional way of conceptualizing a “Hit Record” and the blockbuster strategy, and we have reversed this thinking. We are writing about our theories and models in an effort to promote new ways of using data to break hit records versus predict them. To learn more and jump on the bandwagon, follow me on my page at Forbes.com.

#HowWeListen – Severine Fothergill / Believe Digital & A4Ward

May 20, 2019 Byta #HowWeListen

How We Listen is an interview series where Byta interviews artists, their teams, and everyone else working in and around music about how they find, listen and experience music, new and old.
Severine Fothergill Believe A4Ward

Who are you?
Severine Fothergill

Where are you based?
London!

Where do you work? What do you do?
I am a Marketing Manager at Believe Digital who offer label services and distribution to independent artists. Within my role I focus on executing marketing campaigns and offer artist/brand development strategies to emerging acts. At the moment I work exclusively with our Urban acts under our in-house label A4Ward.

What are you listening to?
Dave, Rimon, Pinty, Blackfish Collective, 6lack, Kash doll and some old skool Ms Dynamite!

How do you find new music?
I’ve always been into discovering new music and dabbling into different genres, being able to make my own judgement appreciating music before the hype and influence. I used to be heavily into Soundcloud I would stay on it for hours on end and it essentially launched my career in the music industry. Spotify is now my go-to as it allows me to decide the type of music I wish to discover and it bridges the gap with underground/undiscovered artists and the huge stars. Me and my friends usually compare new music via Instagram and secret links and often go and see acts in the flesh to get a bigger picture.

What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Services and why?
I wish I could tell you the last time I listened to a CD – I miss buying blank CD’s and making my own albums. I use streaming services as they offer convenience and discovery on the go.

Where do you do most of your music listening?
Discovering new music motivates me so I often listen to new music whilst I’m at work – I save my favourites and then I tend to digest my new finds on the commute home. We also share our projects at work including regular team updates and new music so we always have something new to listen to across the board genre wise.

How do find and listen to pre-release music?
I have a few friends that also work in the industry so I get to listen to some pre-releases and offer fresh thoughts. I try and keep up with the exclusive releases online on websites like The Fader and Complex releases as well as radio first spins from top Radio presenters/DJ’s like DJ Target, Mista Jam and Annie Mac.

What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?
Although digital music has an amazing sense of ease in terms delivery and discovering it’s sort of opened up the floodgates and now there is so much music out there it’s so hard to keep up. Who’s hot? Who’s not? Who’s dropped an album? Whos on what playlist? How many monthly stream do they have? The questions go on! This doesn’t affect how I listen to music personally as I prefer to listen without influence but I can see how it influencers others. I’d like to think I’m an A&R scout in my own right (HA) and with all the talent out there I hate that I may be missing somebody great! I must also say I’m not a fan of the advert interruptions either I tried to hold back from subscribing, but I caved. Nothing beats uninterrupted music when you have so much to get through.

How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?
I create my own playlists on Spotify and entertain myself with interesting playlist titles like ‘Damn, we made it’ and ‘Weird AF’. Any pre-released stuff I have is usually on a private link so if i’m into it I’ll usually dig a little deeper on Spotify and Youtube for a better scope.

Do you tip other people off to new music? How?
Definitely, I’m usually the girl with the aux lead pretending I’m a DJ.

Anything you want to “promote”?
I’m going to be working on some great projects this summer so I’d love give A4Ward and the artists on my roster a shout out! Look out for releases from these amazing emerging acts including Tamaraebi, Cassie Rytz, Vianni, GZ Tian, Ghetto Boy, Halia Jack and Just Charlii.

#HowWeListen – Mauricio Bussab / Tratore [EN]

May 14, 2019 Byta #HowWeListen

How We Listen is an interview series where Byta interviews artists, their teams, and everyone else working in and around music about how they find, listen and experience music, new and old.
Mauricio Bussab Tratore

Who are you?
Mauricio Bussab

Where are you based?
Crowded, noisy, sunny, busy São Paulo, Brazil

Where do you work? What do you do?
I am the CEO/president of Tratore Distribution, a local digital aggregator and physical distributor. We are the only local aggregator in Brazil to deliver music to Spotify, iTunes, Deezer, Tidal, etc We also still distribute physical product (vinyl and CD) to stores. Currently we have over 10,000 Brazilian artists in our catalog.

What are you listening to?
I just came back from PMX, the Palestine Music Expo in Ramallah and I was preparing a playlist of the stuff I heard there so, yeah, lots of new Palestinian music, listen here. Apart from the stuff that arrives at my desk everyday, I have been revisiting some old classics like Stevie Wonder and Bowie, and found some new respect for some old timers such as Burt Bacharach and Charles Mingus. And very happy that King Crimson is FINALLY on the digital platforms.
Regarding newer stuff, of the stuff that is NOT Tratore, Boogarins is always a pleasure, the new Lamb is pretty good, Anna Meredith always surprises me.

How do you find new music?
I still buy paper magazines, like MOJO, read blogs, listen to a few podcasts ( like NPR All Songs Considered and Sound Opinions and Hit Parade) get pointers from friends at Facebook, my friends at Tratore know all bands in the universe and always give me ideas (for example, I first heard Rosalia at someone else’s desk). Then I add all this to a playlist I have called scrapbook and listen to it when I have time.
And of course as you can imagine, all the bands that arrive at Tratore.

What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Services and why?
Nothing beats the practicality of streaming. But at home, it is vinyl mostly and CDs in the car sometimes.

Where do you do most of your music listening?
Car or bike. Now that Sao Paulo has a few good bike paths, wearing headphones is not an unsafe option.

How do find and listen to pre-release music?
I don’t. Only professionally, when a relevant new release appears in the office.

What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?
THE ABSENCE OF LINER NOTES AND FULL CREDITS. Don’t get me started.

How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?
Streaming is good for this… You just add to your library with one click.

Do you tip other people off to new music? How?
Ah, the aforementioned playlist which I update monthly, RADIO BACANA where I put everything that I like, sometimes connected by an unifying theme: This month: New Palestinian music.

Anything you want to “promote”?
New Tratore stuff that deserves a close listen – the latest O Terno, new Thiago Pethit, latest one by Rubel, new Fafa de Belem and My new band “The Universal Mauricio Orchestra”, a jam band formed only by Mauricios, six of them.

#HowWeListen – Joao Afonso / Gig Club [EN]

May 6, 2019 Byta #HowWeListen

How We Listen is an interview series where Byta interviews artists, their teams, and everyone else working in and around music about how they find, listen and experience music, new and old.
Joao Afonso Gig Club

Who are you?
Joao Afonso

Where are you based?
Porto, Portugal

Where do you work? What do you do?
I’m the founder of Gig Club, an annual subscription service for live music. We kicked-off in Porto and Lisbon early this year and we’re soon launching in other European cities like Madrid, Barcelona, London and Berlin.

What are you listening to?
While I write this, I’m listening to Big Thief’s new album “U.F.O.F” – the first on 4AD – for the first time. Sounding really good, as expected. Love everything Adrianne Lenker and Buck Meek get their hands on. This week I’ve been listening a lot to this Brazilian band called O Terno. The new album is really beautiful. The frontman, Tim Bernardes, is probably the most talented singer songwriter of his generation in Brazil. I’m also hooked to FKA Twigs new single “Cellophane”, Kelsey Lu’s new album “Blood” and the new The National – Gig Club is doing screening and album advance listening events for the release of this album, so I was able to listen to the record a little bit earlier.

I’m hooked on something different every week but, as anyone else, I have safe places I often go to. Sufjan Stevens, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Wilco, Bon Iver, Sigur Ros, just to name a few.

How do you find new music?
It’s a mix of sources, I guess. I get emails from labels with upcoming releases; I have this rss feed with several blogs and online magazines, which I check every day; Youtube is also a source sometimes. I’ve also a more proactive way of finding music. When I’m hooked on a song or album, I tend to check who played in it, who produced it, etc. This usually leads me to finding new music.

And there’s also live, of course. I frequently go out to watch shows of bands I’ve never heard before – obviously, I only do this when I know who’s curating the show. Actually, this is something we’re trying to replicate at a bigger scale with Gig Club. If the community trusts our curation, we can take more risks in bringing lesser known bands because the audience will come anyway.

What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Services and why?
I listen to Spotify most of the time with an occasional jump to YouTube for some tracks that are still missing on the catalogue or for live renditions. During the weekend, I usually listen to vinyl. I still buy vinyl regularly and own a fairly big collection of CDs as well, though I don’t listen to these that much.

Where do you do most of your music listening?
I basically listen to music all day. While I walk to work; while I’m working; at home. I’m so used to listen to music all the time that I get stressed if I have a day with too many meetings. In fact – and this might be too geeky – I have speakers on my bedside tables. I listen to music since I wake up till I go to bed.

How do find and listen to pre-release music?
Because of my work, I have people sending me pre-release music almost every day. Labels, booking agents and artists themselves. Some through services like Byta; others through secret or unlisted links on Soundcloud and Youtube; others even through Dropbox or Box.

What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?
My biggest frustration is the lack of detailed information, which for me is one of the best ways of finding new music. It would be awesome if we could check who composed the song, who played in it, etc. and then click on those names and jump to their other work.

If think the biggest benefit is how fast you can go from thinking of a song to actually listen to it.

How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?
I used to use Lastfm’s scrobbler a few years back but eventually stopped when I moved to Spotify. Now I save albums on Spotify and I build playlists. I started doing a Song a Day playlist on Spotify in 2017, which proved to be quite useful for this. I can look back to a whole year of songs, one each day. It’s almost a diary because, not only do I remember the song I was listening at the time but also what I was feeling or experiencing. Music is a powerful way to index memories.

Do you tip other people off to new music? How?
Yes, and I do it through different channels. I share 1 to 3 songs a day on Facebook, curate several playlists on Spotify and I send direct recommendations through WhatsApp to a handful of people. There’s also this thing I do with messaging and music. Sometimes, instead of sending text or an emoji, I reply with a song and it’s funny how that triggers a similar response from the other person. I’ve had conversations almost purely based on music. A song carries a lot of information and emotion, it’s a really powerful message. Sometimes I wonder if a music messaging app would work.

Anything you want to “promote”?
I have to mention Surma and First Breath After Coma, which are two of the best Portuguese acts right now and seam well prepared to break internationally. Shouldn’t be long before they sign for a big indie label. We were very close to get that with their latest records.

There’s also this young talented polish pianist, Hania Rani. Her debut album, Esja, came out weeks ago and it’s really good. Would love to work with her.

#HowWeListen – Sam Ford / So Young Magazine

April 30, 2019 Byta #HowWeListen

How We Listen is an interview series where Byta interviews artists, their teams, and everyone else working in and around music about how they find, listen and experience music, new and old.
Sam Ford So Young Magazine

Who are you?
Sam Ford

Where are you based?
Southampton, UK

Where do you work? What do you do?
I’m the co-founder and editor of So Young Magazine. So Young began six years ago and was created by myself and Josh Whettingsteel. So Young is a fully illustrated new music print and online magazine designed to champion new bands from the underground and just above. My role at the magazine focuses mainly on finding new bands and organising our features with these bands. We also curate shows at venues such as The Social and The 100 Club in London. I book and organise these shows. Anything packed and posted to you e.g. Magazines or T Shirts, that’ll also be done by me. After that, it’s keeping up with social media and being as regular on there as possible. Josh and I share this role…thank goodness.

What are you listening to?
It’s been a good couple of weeks for albums. On the So Young front, because of the stage at which we work with bands, it’s normally a lot of debut singles. However, Fontaines D.C. and Fat White Family have dropped new records and they’re both game changes. I’m listening to those on repeat at the minute. Each magazine we release tend to represent what we are listening to, so it’s no surprise that Fat Whites and Fontaines are on the current covers. Working Mens Club are a really exciting new young band, they’re on a lot too.

How do you find new music?
A lot of it comes from band managers or their press team, especially if the band have already established themselves or if we’ve worked with one of their roster before. I have a bandcamp account where I follow lots of smaller labels and make sure I get notifications of their new releases. I keep tabs on gig posters and look for names I haven’t heard before. Often, good bands will take their mates around with them and that’s a good way to get in before the ‘team’ does. Press obviously has a part to play, so keeping an eye on trusted sites, titles and writers. I also just keep an eye on social media, see what people are sharing. If they’re willing to put their taste on the line, there’s a good chance it’s going to have something. Radio plays a small part in this process but I do listen to Beats1 now and again on top of the usual 6music.

What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Services and why?
I’ll buy any record i love on vinyl but it’s never the first place i’ll listen. Vinyl is where you can add a band to your life scrapbook and make sure it’s there forever and i think that’s really important. That’s before we even mention the artwork and the ritual of studying that as it plays. Cassettes are ornaments at best aren’t they? I’ll always ask PR’s for promo CD’s as i’m always driving between Southampton and London so it’s a great way to take in a record for the first time.

On the whole I’ll use digital streaming services as they’re the most effective for jumping between and checking out new artists and new music. My laptop is where i do 90% of my work for So Young so it makes sense for my music to be there too.

Where do you do most of your music listening?
My listening takes place wherever it can. Digital streaming allows me to continue my listening on the go if i need to take it away from my laptop. I work a lot from home and the set up is just a bluetooth Sony speaker that sounds a hell of a lot better than the tin speakers in my laptop. I love listening to music in the car, no distractions (apart from the road) and it’s somewhere you can really invest your time and attention to each track. The sound is pretty good too.

How do find and listen to pre-release music?
Honestly, the majority is sent over to me. It’s a great feeling to think that people want us to hear it first. Obviously they’re looking for something at the end of it but nobody should resent being considered.

I don’t listen to a lot of radio. If I’m at a loose end, i’ll listen again to Wilko on Beats1 in the gym. Generally, it’s not a great source for new music. The importance of streaming figures to bands (out of necessity) has meant that premieres for singles seem to be reducing. If requested from a band, I often offer that we just embed Spotify on the day of release instead. It hits exactly where they need it. I do however keep an eye out on all of the main websites for their posts and new music features.

What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?
Most albums are sent over as a download or stream via Promojukebox or a major label equivalent. I’ll only download a couple here and there from artists i love. Streaming on those platforms is okay when you’re at a desktop but poor on the go. It’s hard to skip a track without the whole thing resetting. Soundcloud is probably the best on the go now as you can play private links within the app.

New music tends to come via email and we get a lot of those each day, full with new music. The tough thing is remembering it’s there and then where to find it. If I don’t listen within 24 hours, chances are i’ve lost it or forgot about it. I have a tab called ‘New music to catch up on’ now, that helps. Generally, I have no qualms with the sound.

How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?
The tab I mentioned above is starting to help. We have a lot on at the moment so i’m writing a lot of ‘listen’ reminders in my diary too. Ultimately, I don’t keep track very well and I wish I could do it better. This is mainly for unreleased music. Playlists on Spotify etc are great for catching up and keeping track of released songs.

Do you tip other people off to new music? How?
Hopefully the magazine and our website are one big tip off to anyone and everyone we can reach. We try and mention a band before they’ve released anything so that people may try and catch them at a show and if not, we will have their debut on our site. But if you’re talking about mentioning new bands and artists to other people working around us, of course. I send and receive regular messages which always look like this “anything good lately?”. People aren’t discovering bands by chance at the same time, people are sharing their favourite things all the time. Us included.

Anything you want to “promote”?
Our latest issue has sold out which is great but you can still read it online for FREE. It features chats with Fat White Family, Fontaines D.C., Nilufer Yanya, Squid, Sunflower Bean, Surfbort, The Murder Capital and more.

We also have a regular new band showcase night called We Are So Young. Keep an eye on our website for listings!

#HowWeListen – Sarah Stam / Set The Tone & shesaid.so

April 23, 2019 Byta #HowWeListen

How We Listen is an interview series where Byta interviews artists, their teams, and everyone else working in and around music about how they find, listen and experience music, new and old.
Sarah Stam Set the tone shesaid.so

Who are you?
Sarah Stam, artist manager and label consultant within the (electronic) music scene under SET THE TONE . I’m also co-founder of shesaidso.ams, the Dutch chapter of the international organisation shesaid.so, a global initiative to achieve more diversity and equality within the music industry.

Where are you based?
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Where do you work? What do you do?
I am very fortunate to work as an independent artist manager and label consultant for over 2 years now, having the best time of my life really. After working for several other music companies and record labels in the past I’ve launched SET THE TONE as my own umbrella company, focussing mainly on artist management, release marketing, branding and international relations. You make the music, we set the tone. It’s really great working from both the artist perspective as well as the staying up to date with all the label developments, through my work with new indie labels like NoCopyrightSounds, Future House Music and Frequency. On a daily basis I feel blessed working with kind, talented and creative people and brands, being able to do what makes me smile and experiencing room to have that creative freedom I like to have when working on projects. When I started my career I never imagined I could achieve a lifestyle in which I could combine my passion for music, culture and travelling like this. Happy times!

What are you listening to?
Quite honestly, my taste is a bit all over the place, really depending on mood and setting. From Jazz to Hiphop, Classical and R&B, but also electronic and pop tunes or nostalgic stuff like Billie Holiday.
More recently been having Lophiile on repeat, his latest track ‘One Hand’ with Sophie Faith is pure fire. Quite a lot of hiphop, R&B and urban playlists in my Spotify atm, including Kendrick Lamar, Post Malone or Anderson .Paak. When I’m at home I can put on more classical stuff like Keith Jarrett or chilled vibes with Volcano Choir or Laura Mvula. My mum and I are big fans of Charles Aznavour, but I would never admit that to any music friends in the scene 😉 Love indie electronic acts like Zero7, Pablo Nouvelle or Bonobo, and legends like Justice and Daft Punk are definitely the reason I’m working in the electronic / house scene atm. Oh, and a nice new Dutch talent on the rise is Sarita Lorena!

How do you find new music?
Many different ways, I guess mainly through my friends and social network. I love when a friend or colleague tips you that new gem you would have otherwise never discovered. But of course Spotify serves me the right new jewel every now and then too. Through series or films I can sometimes also really stumble upon a beautiful record, bless the power of Shazam! Furthermore, I’d say Soundcloud used to be my main source of discovery, especially back in the days when I had time to get lost in mixes and bootlegs and what not. I have this one music friend with whom I always go to concerts, we decided years ago to stop giving each other birthday presents and instead always take one another to an exciting new concert or gig, absolute source of music discovery, Nowadays, I’m lucky to travel to different countries and discover local talent too, like the other day in Estonia when I met the lovely Lepatriinu and Daniel Levi, two very talented Estonian singer-songwriters.

What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Services and why?
The main platform for me atm is definitely Spotify. The algorithm and interface simply stands out to me as a user when it comes to all streaming services available today. I’m also starting to have quite a Vinyl collection, I just love the sound and ritual of it and it’s simply fantastic to own a little physical piece of art of those records that are in your heart. Through working with a few YouTube based record labels over the past few years I have discovered that YouTube can be an amazing platform for music discovery, the opportunities on that platform are endless with it being a User Generated Content environment, but I have to admit I feel I’m too old to fully stay on track with it all.

Where do you do most of your music listening?
Always and everywhere. I literally always have music on except when in a social interactive situation or the cinema haha. From the gym, to working, on a holiday, driving, travelling or even when cooking, doing groceries or reading a book. For my work I also listen to a lot of masters and WIPs from my artists, so sometimes I can have tune on repeat for an hour on so, Testing it through my laptop, phone, then through my portable speaker and finally on headphones to see how it sounds through different devices. Always happy to put some vinyl on when relaxing or chilling with friends and I’m happiest when listening at a live concert or festival, being so very in the moment enjoying this form of art with hundreds of others is so special every single time again. I’m happy to be in walking distance from the nicest music temple in the Netherlands: Paradiso, with it being located in an old church it has such a special touch to it!

How do find and listen to pre-release music?
Mainly send to me by artists and/or managers or friends working at labels, Dropbox links and Soundcloud links mainly. I have to say most days I’m so busy I don’t keep track of all demos sent to me, but try to work on the pre releases of the labels and artists I work with. Love when you get all hyped about a release that’s due to come out in 8 weeks or so, and you have it on repeat in the office of the label, and the whole team gets excited working towards release day!

What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?
Not many frustrations to be fair. I feel Soundcloud used to be better back in the day, as it was such a unique platform and so suitable for mixes and DJs. I totally understand they had to change some stuff around to keep up with the alternative platforms but as a user I sometimes miss the old days where Soundcloud did its own thing. As a professional the trends and recent playlist changes at Spotify can be challenging, with skip-rates becoming increasingly important for playlisting, unique and stand-alone acts or sounds are less likely to be playlisted. However, the power of discover weekly and radio radar make up for that as organic growth is rewarded.

How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?
Haha, I struggle. Just the other day, a very-hung-over-Sunday, I took it upon myself to order and rearrange my 75 (or so) personally made playlists in Spotify. Got so stuck in re-discovering hidden gems in there that I’m not even close to being finished. There used to be this Dutch music brand in the Netherlands titled 22-tracks, they brought the best playlists to you across all genres, existing out of exactly 22 tracks per playlist. They believed that the perfect playlists consisted out of 22 tracks exactly, no more no less. I tried to cling on to that philosophy for a while but there’s simply too much music out there..

Do you tip other people off to new music? How?
Hm I’m not too good on the social platforms, so it’s mainly sending it personally to some fellow music lovers by WhatsApp or Instagram.

Anything you want to “promote”?
For any electronic fans out there, keep an eye out on my boy Ellis. Talented kid from the UK, we’re slowly but steadily building his sound and presence, but a lot of talent and joy to share together with that one! And my beautiful friend and singer-songwriter Bobbie Wall is going to release a special EP in May titled ‘The Hurricane’, a very personal and special creative tale about parenting and pregnancy when working as an artist/music professional. I can’t wait to see that one being released, we’re also hosting a special event around this theme with shesaidso.ams in May, with Bobbie Wall performing. Very proud of her balancing music, life and the care for her newborn, she’s such a star!

#HowWeListen – Andy Weissman / Union Square Ventures

April 15, 2019 Byta #HowWeListen

How We Listen is an interview series where Byta interviews artists, their teams, and everyone else working in and around music about how they find and listen to music, new and old.

Andy Weissman Union Square Ventures

Who are you?
Andy Weissman. “Real names be proof”.

Where are you based?
My family has been in New York City for 120 years. “New York, just like I pictured it”.

Where do you work? What do you do?
“Career, career it ain’t never gonna knock.” I am a partner at Union Square Ventures, a thesis driven venture capital firm. We invest in trusted brands that broaden access to knowledge, capital, and well-being by leveraging networks, platforms, and protocols. For example, we are investors in Soundcloud, Splice and Kickstarter.

What are you listening to?
Everything! Seriously, I ascribe to the “the only truth is music” philosophy and will listen to anything at anytime. Lately, meaning this past week, is it the latest from Little Simz, Jake Xerxes Fussell, Garcia Peoples, Mdou Moctar, Lambchop, Tierra Whack, serpentwithfeet, syd, Obnox. It’s all good. Also, I listen to Phish every day.

How do you find new music?
Every day, a group of a few of us post a song to each other on Twitter around 5am, that is my morning music coffee if you will. But also, by being open to finding new music, I can find it anywhere, the signals are all around us. The best for me is music Twitter – a collection of friends, musicians, writers, randos, strangers.

My entry point to the internet in the early 90s from dial up music BBSs – SonicNet being the first one. Then, through tape trading and then CD trading communities. Things like Tape Trees, Blanks and Postage, hard drive exchanges, I trafficked in all those. Traded live Grateful Dead throughout the 80s and 90s. It is much easier now. “I was so much older than, I’m younger than that now”.

What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Services and why?
Streaming mostly for convenience – it is with me all the time. Vinyl occasionally. Can’t recall seeing a CD in a while. Bandcamp is the best, it feels like your local record store, warm and fuzzy and weird.

Where do you do most of your music listening?
Everywhere 🙂 I am native New Yorker, I love the subway, you can get from one part of the city to another in 30 minutes for under $3, I just put my headphones on and go. “So many things I would have done but clouds got in my way”.

How do find and listen to pre-release music?
I am not sure I do 🙂

What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?
When the internet or mobile signal goes down in the middle of a track. More nostalgia based, I love liner notes and lyrics. I want to listen to music and then the related expressions of the artist – the album front and back, the order of the tracks, the liner notes, everything. Streaming abstracts away the song as the unit and deprecates all other information. That frustrates me.

How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?
“The trick was to surrender to the flow”.

Do you tip other people off to new music? How?
Sharing music is one of life’s great pleasures. Whether via email, text, twitter, nothing better than giving, or receiving, “You want to hear something really interesting?” I’m an obsessed playlist maker. Music Twitter is pretty rich, fun, obsessive and deep. That’s the main venue.

Anything you want to “promote”?
Whatever town you are in anywhere in the world, go to a Sofar, it may reaffirm your faith in humanity and the power of music to make us smile.