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5 June 2019

Behind the Scenes of Music Streaming

In 2014, Joe Pym graduated from BA(Hons) Popular Music and started working at Island Records. Five years later and he’s back at Island as their Streaming & Commerce Manager, working with huge artists like Mumford & Sons, Ariana Grande, Sigrid and Ben Howard.

Joe told us: “I got the Island Records internship award [as a consequence of the University’s great relationship with the label]. I started there as a Digital Intern, where essentially I was helping with building HTML5 mailers and likewise, also pulling stats and assisting on some marketing campaigns for artists like James Morrison and John Newman. Then, after I finished my internship, I went to a central label within Universal.”

While at Universal, Joe looked after Universal’s playlists on Spotify and Apple Music. Slowly he worked his way up there, before returning to Island as Streaming & Commerce Manager.

Joe summarised his role: “Essentially my role is to work across all of [Island’s] releases, both domestically and internationally. I work with Spotify, Apple Music and the key streaming partners; I go in and play them the new music that we have coming up and present to them the campaign (the art proposition and what key promos are happening with each artist).”

Presenting new music to Island’s streaming partners is a highlight of the role for Joe.

“I really enjoy it,” he told us. “Presenting comes naturally to me now. There is a lot of preparation involved as I like to provide visuals, campaign timelines and key stats to accompany the music. I think it’s important to keep the meetings focussed and memorable. Each streaming partner works differently, but I’m lucky that the quality of the music, which I have to ‘pitch in’ from Island, is incredibly high. It makes my job a lot easier.”

Once the track is out in the world, Joe monitors its progress on the different streaming services, working out key marketing campaign moments around key artists and releases.

“It’s the best job I could have asked for,” Joe told us. “It’s perfect for me.”

One of the many things that Joe loves about working for Island is the diversity of its roster.

He told us: “I have worked on campaigns for Mumford & Sons, Disclosure, Giggs, Ariana Grande, Bombay Bicycle Club, Ben Howard, Sigrid, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Robyn and many more – the list goes on! Having the opportunity to work on some of the artists that I grew up listening to has been surreal, but at the same time, helping to break an artist like Sigrid is the most satisfying of all.”

When asked what he loved most about working in streaming, Joe said: “Since the huge rise in streaming consumption over the past five years, there has been a huge effort from the industry to understand the streaming landscape. We have access to an enormous amount of granular data from the likes of Spotify and Apple Music, so as part of my job I have to interpret and communication that to my team, artists and their managers.”

“For me,” Joe said, “streaming is the most exciting area of the music business.”