Video may have killed the radio star, but playlists could perhaps have saved the music industry. Where record labels once clamoured to have their artists heard on radio, and reviewed by music magazines, the push now is to get songs into curated mixes hosted by streaming services such as Spotify and Apple, on video games, in gyms, and in high street stores.
And revenues are booming: last year the money made by record labels from streaming surpassed income from the sale of traditional formats.
“Getting on one of Spotify’s biggest playlists – New Music Friday or RapCaviar – is vital when you’re breaking a new pop act,” says Stuart Bell, co-founder of Dawbell, a public relations company that has dozens of household names on its roster including Rihanna, Paul McCartney, Pharrell Williams and Elton John. “It’s the equivalent, 20 years ago, to a good single review in Melody Maker, or, 10 years ago, making the Radio 1 playlist.”