No, a day in the life of a music editor definitely not chilling by the pool. But one thing for sure, it involves music! A lot of music! First, let me start with never in a million years would I have thought I’d have this huge opportunity to get paid just to listen to the music. Music has been my passion for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a house where my parents would always play music from different era, then I’d watch MTV and listen to the radio after school. While other kids wanted to be a doctor, engineer, or more serious roles, all I ever wanted to be was a radio announcer and MTV VJ. I thought I loved meeting people, I’m quite bubbly and energetic, so when I grow up I want to work on television or radio. Well fortunately life has different plans for me. I worked a bit on radio ( after trying sooo many times ), but then I realized if I really want to pursue a career in the entertainment industry and be a part of huge and exciting projects, I gotta leave Indonesia. Go big or go home! Then my dreams took me to Malaysia and Florida where I had opportunities to organize events & shows and create magical moments in Disney World. After Disney, I landed another dream job in Singapore working for the coolest and biggest digital streaming service as a music editor. How did I get the job? It all started with a dream to make a difference, bring positive changes, and introduce more Asian artists to the world. Over ten years ago TV and radios in Indonesia used to play very very bad songs. It’s not that we don’t have great artists, trust me there are sooo many talented independent artists out there but this was an era where major labels were the big boss and no digital streaming service. So if you were an indie artist back in the early 2000, obviously it’s hard to get and promote your music out there. Quite frustrating with the current trends we had in Indonesia, I promised myself if one day I get a role to discover new and talented artists, I would do whatever it takes to help promoting their music. Well, the universe conspired to make my dream come true. I applied for the job three times, did 7 interviews and few tests, got the job and move to Singapore. Looking back it was a long, complicated journey but it was very worth it.
So, what does a music editor do? A lot of people ask if I can edit music. No, I don’t really edit music, I don’t even play any instrument, but…my team and I, we have great ears and excellent taste in music. We are responsible for curating playlists for different genres, countries, and special projects. From editorial programming, discovering and working with artists, labels, managers, different departments, to ( sometimes ) translation, managing special projects / key cultural moments - everyday is always different. I’d start around 10 am. My first hour at work would usually checking emails, news, latest trend, exchange ideas, music, and news with colleagues too. After that I’d usually go for meetings, jump on calls with colleagues from different countries, and of course sit down with my headphone on listening to tons of music for hours. Then I would check on my analytics tools. Which music doing better, worse, gets more skips or love, going viral, and many more. It’s amazing how through data you collect or see, they can help you to make a decision and create a better content, user experience, and creative campaigns. Also, to tell a better story. Perhaps, this is my favourite part of the job. With freedom that we have, we try to create playlists for everyone, every mood, every possible situation. But more than just a playlist, I know my colleagues and I have the same mission here. We want to inspire people, give them not only the best music but also platform for artists to promote their music and reach out to more fans. We have around 50 editors from around the world. Each responsible for different genres, countries, mood, special projects. You wouldn’t believe a job as head of metal, head of jazz, head of urban music or r&b actually exist! Yep, not an ordinary job. What I love about my team, while everyone comes from different background and extremely passionate about what they’re doing, these guys are incredibly humble, creative, and open-minded. As a music editor, yes you gotta have a great taste in music. I personally believe a lot of people have great taste in music, but you gotta have the ear where you listen to the music and in just the first few seconds you know there’s something special about the song and the artist. Your gut just tell you this music would or wouldn’t work. In the end of the day, you’re not curating playlist for yourself. You’re curating playlist for so many people. My friend would describe it as a chef who would cook a special menu for everybody. So yes, you don’t put artist A because you personally really like him but because you know everyone else would like, the users from specific country that you’re curating playlist for would like it.
When I discover new artists and fall in love with their songs, I’d usually chase them. Stalk them on social media, send them an email, support them. It’s a joy in the end of the day to see their music and fans slowly growing. Being in a position of privilege like this, to listen to the music everyday and inspire/help other people, I want to open the door and let the artists to shine on just like how some people in this company have opened up the door for me and believe in me to do the job.
It is a very fun job, but just like any jobs out there…nothing’s perfect, it can be stressful too! Some days you have to work until 4 am in the morning, make sure the music lives and the playlists updated on time. But it doesn’t matter how late you finished working or how exhausted you are at the end of the day, I am grateful to be able doing things that I love truly love with a bunch of passionate people. I learn so much from this job. From dealing with artists and different people in the industry to attending cool events around the world, oh honestly if someone told me my life would be like this years ago I wouldn’t believe them.
She is unapologetic
She is wild with her heart
She is free
She is art
Though some can't figure her out
She's an incredible mess
That's just how she likes it.
Thank you for capturing the moments through your lens as usual, Dani !