In this second edition of the musicto artist newsletter, the focus is on identity.
We all know the pain of trying to come up with a name for our project that feels like it fits, only to find it’s been taken by a Metallica tribute act from Birmingham, or - as was the case with our video interview below - launching a project with the wrong name and deciding to pull your album from distribution in order to get it right.
But it’s not just about what we look like. Identity is about who we are as artists: what we believe in, what you sound like and what you choose to project with your music. If you don’t get your identity right, you don’t get your brand right, and in today’s saturated market - you’re going to be pretty hard to find.
As always, if you find this information helpful, be sure to let us know!
Artist Interview — First the Winter
- Andrew McCluskey, musicto Founder
10 curated video clips from a brilliant interview that give true insight into what it's like to get the identity of your band and brand right.
Topics covered include:
On Naming Your Project (1:16)
On Sacrificing Playlistability (0:40)
On Using Spotify Data to Run Social Media Ads (1:48)
You Never Turn Down A Gig (0:55)
Artist Interview — Kristen Olsson
- Matt Jenko, musicto Curator
Another artist who’s paid close attention to the significance of identity in the music world is Kristen Olsson. In this interview, we discuss stage names, balancing your identity with the other artist’s vision when collaborating, and gender in the music business. Kristen’s insights were fantastic and it was an absolute pleasure working with her to bring you this interview.
Playlist Spotlight - From Saving the World! to Escaping Reality
When I joined musicto in October 2017, I had a particular flavour of playlist in mind that was influenced heavily by where I was at at the particular point in my life. As time went by, I realised that I was finding it harder to write authentically in the way that I had been, that my voice was changing.
In short, I was going through an identity crisis. Ultimately, I had to decide whether to continue with Save the World!, or embrace a new direction. It’s a creative decision so many of us have to make at some point, as we realise that through growing and developing our craft, we’ve shifted fundamentally from where we were when we started, and in order to continue authentically, we have to confront the need to rebrand.
Looking back, I’m proud of what I achieved with Save the World! - but I don’t regret allowing myself the freedom to explore a new frontier with Escape Reality. Reading over my later entries on my first list, it’s clear to see a tendency towards more escapist, imaginative language, so much so that by the end the leap from one to the other was inevitable.
Meet the Curator - Matt Jenko
Hello, this isn't the first time we've spoken (if you're awake you may remember I sent you an email last month), but allow me to formally introduce myself: my name's Matt, but my friends call me Matt. I’m on the wrong side of 27 28, definitely feeling my age, but never felt happier and more content than I do at this point in my life. I’ve been through some rocky patches (who hasn’t) and lived to tell the tale, and boy do I gots some stories.
When I’m not putting my soul through existential hell in my day job, I’m making music, drawing pictures (and making them move in time to the groove, playa), and writing about everything from high-concept sci-fi rigamarole to my thoughts on the intricacies of the music industry.
I’ve been curating for musicto for bloody ages now, and am certainly one of the old guard; my fellow curators are like my family. I love belonging to this tribe of like-minded cats.
If you’re into music that paints vivid sonic landscapes, then we’re going to be the best of friends. And if you’re a Westerosi or from Rivia, hmu: I can talk about that all damn day.