We recently featured the new single by Jazz Mino, who’s one of the first signings to Humble Angel Records, a streaming only label, founded by Kieron Donoghue. It’s an exciting venture, and so Lisa caught up with Kieron and asked him Six Quick Questions.
EP: Hi Kieron! You’ve worked in the music industry for a while now – how did you get into it and where have you worked – what have you done?
KD: It all started in 2008 when a friend sent me an invite for a music service that was still in beta – Spotify. After using Spotify I knew that this would be the future so I built Playlists.net for users to share their playlists to a community of music fans (this was way before Spotify had any editorial playlists in the service). That business grew and grew and I then sold it to Warner Music in 2014 and joined them as VP for Global Playlists and Curation Strategy. After working there for 3 years I left in late 2017 to set up Humble Angel Records.
EP: Your latest venture Humble Angel Records is a streaming only label. It sounds very exciting: how will it work? Tell us all about it! How do artists get involved?
KD: It’s different to traditional labels as rather than signing artists over a space of a few singles or albums I’m looking specifically for singles that will do well on streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer etc. I believe that anybody can create a great song and it can come from anywhere, which is why I have a submission form at humbleangelrecords.com for artists to submit music for consideration for release.
EP: We can pretty much guess what your answer will be, but where do you think the direction of music is going, and why?
KD: I’m already seeing a lot of experimentation and genre crossing and I think this will only get more prolific. With around 20,000 songs released each week it’s getting harder for artists to stand out. So with that we’re seeing a lot of artists experimenting with new sounds, new styles and new genres. This is a tremendously exciting time for music.
EP: With all your years in the business, what advice do you have for any artists starting up and wanting to make a living from music?
KD: Hustle. You need to be hungry and you need to learn everything there is to know about the business of music as well as making music. The great thing now is that the barriers to entry are so low that you can self release on streaming platforms with minimal effort. So in order to make the most of that you need to understand the streaming industry, what works, what doesn’t, what are the best practices. How to build an audience and engage with your fans is really critical. Become an expert.
EP: What if anything would you do differently if you had the opportunity, and why?
KD: I can’t think of anything off hand. I got involved in the streaming sector right at the very beginning, right before Spotify even launched officially in the UK and I’ve never looked back. I kind of wish I had set up a label earlier but it’s certainly not too late now.
EP: What question do you wish someone would ask you in an interview, but nobody ever does?
KD: Who’s my favourite artist? Prince is the answer btw, a genius by any standard.