Business News Digital Industry People Labels & Publishers The Great Escape 2015

Hospital Records on driving listens through curated playlists

By | Published on Thursday 21 May 2015

CMU@TGE Audience

Much of the discussion around online playlists during the marketing strand at CMU Insights @ The Great Escape last week focused on companies trying to get their music onto other people’s curated track lists. However, we also heard case studies from a number of organisations about their experiences creating their own playlists.

One of those was Hospital Records, whose Digital Manager Romy Harber spoke about the label’s own in-house playlisting activity. Interviewed by Spintune’s Brittney Bean, she began by asking Harber why Hospital wants to create its own playlists on Spotify and YouTube.

“We use it as a way of driving people to songs that we want them to listen to”, he said. “We have our own playlists on Spotify, we have different moods, we have our official playlists, we have the best of drum n bass. And then on YouTube, we use it as a way of grouping releases”.

“It’s quite easy for people to get lost on YouTube”, he continued. “They’ll start watching a music video and then the next moment they’re watching a video of a cat on a skateboard. If we group our content all together, then hopefully people follow that path and listen to our music more”.

On YouTube, where the company has over 250,000 subscribers, he explained that the focus is very much on Hospital’s own releases.

“We have a playlist for every album”, he explained. “We post every track from every album on YouTube, pretty much, eventually. Which I know is controversial. But we find that, unless you block it, someone else will upload your music anyway, to another channel, and then you get a worse rate. So I’d prefer people come to our channel, where we can give them the message that we want, with our buy links, rather than having them go elsewhere”.

“Lots of people don’t agree with putting it all up there, because the rates on YouTube are not great”, he admitted. “However, we’ve found that from the buy links and from tracking, that it is actually a good platform to drive sales”.

On Spotify, where the company currently has around 14,000 followers, the focus is somewhat different, he added. “On Spotify it’s much more about curation, in that we draw in lots of third party content into our playlists and mix it up, to create moods and different environments around the music, whereas on YouTube it’s almost entirely our own content”.

A big challenge in generating interest in Spotify playlists, he said, is updating them with the right music at the right time.

“We’re a dance music label, so we have a massive spike Thursday, Friday and then it dips on Monday. We’re trying to combat that with a playlist called ‘Monday Morning Rollers’, which is a more chilled out, liquidy type of drum n bass, with other types of music on there too, and then we do separate Thursday, Friday and Saturday playlists”.

“The weekend’s what suits us best”, he continued. “We want people to get that updated playlist notification at the right time, so it pops up on their phone and they think, ‘Right, I’m going to listen to that now’. Whereas, if I put in a really hardcore dance track on a Tuesday morning, maybe people really aren’t going to be that interested. We try to hit people with those notifications, which is a really important part of it, at the right time, so that hopefully they’ll play our playlist”.

For more reports on the CMU Insights music marketing strand, including discussions on the importance of playlists and pitching music to playlist owners, check out the [email protected] microsite here.