How Decentralized Curation Can Democratize Music Discovery

2 min readMay 10, 2022

With an increasing number of web3 projects tackling issues within existing creator economies, many are looking towards fairer forms of curation as a means of accurately representing the opinions of the community.

Music discovery algorithms or processes on existing music platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and even radio stations often have curation limited to the editorial teams that are hired for the sole purpose of curating featured playlists on each of these platforms. Spotify’s featured curated playlists, like RapCaviar and Are & Be, have specialized teams of music experts that make selections to be presented on these playlists.

These centralized curation mechanisms, however, only accurately represent the opinions of a gated subset of curators, preventing community input from impacting curation.

This is where decentralized curation can help fix disparities between curators and community members by giving curation responsibilities to the existing community. The most organized form that would likely see implementation would be a genre-specific curation DAO made up of avid listeners/musicians in a specific genre. This structure would allow for serious community curators to make effective curation decisions on behalf of the greater community. A reward mechanism would likely also be built to reward strong curation and punish weak curation. This may take the form of a token reward provided by listeners who enjoy the curated playlist enough to contribute a financial reward to the curators. It may also take the form of social credit assigned by the platform to specify strong curators. An entirely different structure that may see implementation is for community members to submit curated playlists and for the community to vote on which playlist to feature on the platform. This approach may also enable greater accessibility for community members and act as a natural gating mechanism for creators who are not sufficiently adamant to curate their own playlist. In either case, a platform would benefit the most from having its community members participate in curation as it allows a broader set of opinions to be considered and reflected.

With curation being so integral to creator platforms, it will inevitably be disintermediated and decentralized for communities to take control. With these structures, and in conjunction with governance, curation can take on a whole new meaning and methodology, thus working towards a new creator economy.