My decision-making process behind curation at Beatport

One of the things I do now as a music curator at Beatport is to feature releases on the store. Every week I listen to thousands of tracks (literally) and decide whether to feature each or not. And since featuring placements are very limited, I have to decide thoroughly.

If you think about it, that’s thousands of micro-decisions to make every week. I started to analyse what are some common patterns in my decision-making process, and I thought to share my observations with you.

Here are four things that I pay attention to:

Production. I use production as a broad term to describe the overall quality of sound design, arrangement, mixdown and all other nuances that form how a track sounds. Sometimes a track has some decent musical ideas, but how does it sound? Would it be played well in a DJ mix? Would it hold up on a big sound system in a club? Since the electronic dance music genres I deal with are predominantly made for the dancefloors and play a big role in the DJ culture, these questions are essential. In 2016 I published a post where I gave my insights into what I think is the criteria of professional productions, and it’s still relevant.

Novelty. To me, novelty is something that makes a track stand out. Let’s say there are hundred amazing-sounding tracks in terms of production, how would you choose just one among them? It doesn’t have to be something entirely new per se, but there must be something to it, some idea, a musical or any other cleverly-made part.

Trends. Genres always blend, evolve and emerge. I love noticing such changes, and I believe it’s a part of my job to reflect those changes as an answer to the community’s needs. But oftentimes, finding future trends means actually going against the current trend. As a curator, I’m trying to be proactive, and sometimes I highlight tracks that are odd. Tracks that are different from what is called music standards of a particular genre. I’m trying to be open-minded and willing to embrace experiments, and who knows, maybe a track that sounds weird today will become the next big thing.

Diversity. I think diversity in a broad sense makes the global phenomenon of electronic music so interesting, so I’m trying to reflect the communities we serve, including people and music from all different genders and backgrounds. This is how the music culture evolves, and I’m doing my best to nurture it.

What else would you like to know regarding my work at Beatport? Leave your comments below.

 572   11 mo   Beatport   Behind the scenes   Curation
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© Daniel Sokolovskiy, 2024
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