An essay around the evolution of musicto - Part 1
Written while listening to Think It by Orbit22
musicto started out with a vision to become the #1 Independent playlist site on the planet. To that end we set about recruiting amateur playlist curators with the promise that - if we all worked together under the same brand we would eventually be able to monetize our playlists - not through pay to play, but through sponsorship and ultimately single track distribution deals. And while those outcomes are still probable we significantly underestimated the time it would take to get there - initially we thought 1 to 3 years but now it’s looking to be closer to 5.
The thing is - along the way things started to change - not only did the streaming platforms continue to develop and start to hide the independent playlists, social media continued to drive engagement resulting in less people leaving the platforms for other websites.
Growing an audience - particularly inside the DSPs got even harder.
However - as we continued to publish on musicto.com and got to know one another - something else happened - we started to form a loose community. Initially run out of a musicto Slack channel and then initiated by the community itself, forming as a private Facebook group. We recognized early on that community was going to be an important aspect of the musicto experiment but we didn’t realize quite how essential it was going to be.
Adding curators at a growing rate through 2017 and accelerating through 2018, we nearly imploded during the autumn. There was little automation or systematized processes - everything was manual and run through one central point - there were no onboarding emails or how to’s and worst of all - there was no community. Oh sure we had people showing up in the various channels but there was no underlying sense of belonging. Relationships were between curators and the center rather than between curators themselves. Curator attrition was close to 80% as the early promise of monetization turned out to be a marathon we started to fall apart.
Part 2 next…