What is a Music Curator?


↑   This reading experience is better with the sound turned on

I was recently looking down a Run-of-Show (the detailed schedule for events) and saw, “4:00pm: DJ arrives.” I knew I had arrived at 4pm, but I didn’t bring any gear, tables or refer to myself as a DJ. Hmmm, I thought, I think I need to explain the difference between a DJ and a music curator

A music curator creates a soundtrack for a brand. It’s like having your perfect Spotify playlist on, that knows your moods and times of day, all the time.

It’s true, there is a lot of overlap. Both DJs and music curators have extensive knowledge of music, are able to read a crowd and are hired for their taste. DJs are typically on-the-go. They’re hired for a specific event or gig, play their tunes and get outta there. The music they play for an event is not usually saved or shared with the party-goers.



 What music do you hear when you look at these spaces? That's a question a music curator tackles.

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Delano Hotel in Miami on

Music curators also work on projects that are not event-based, but more brand-driven. Brands (a brand can be a space like a hotel or restaurant, or retail etc.) need music all the time, not just for their events. A hotel has to think about the different elements of their space and what they’re being used for, as well as their clientele.

A music curator isn’t just curating music; they’re curating an experience, an atmosphere, a culture.
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A music curator fits the music to a brand by mixing science-backed research, market research, brand research, client interviews, understanding of lifestyle and music trends, music knowledge and knowing how music will sound in a specific environment with specific people. Oh, and having a great filter for what music works and what doesn’t.

Then a playlist is born. This playlist belongs to the brand, represents the brand, breathes the brand. And can be shared and enjoyed endlessly. 

A music curator isn’t just curating music; their curating an experience, an atmosphere, a culture.

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IndustryOlivia Coleon