Streaming has fast become the new norm in terms of music consumption for a lot of listeners. In recent years, as apps and platforms, such as Apple Music and Spotify, have grown in users, changing the way people consume music and industry insiders such as Addison Hellum are moving to take advantage of the shift. Ultimately, the music industry has in turn been affected, from the ground all the way up to management operations and the industry.
In 2019, Hellum founded Starling, a company that deals in digital music distribution, promotion, and artist management. Starling is a good example of the direction music is taking because it deals almost exclusively in digital formats of music. This shift from CDs and vinyl has enabled Hellum to bring up new artists and to promote their music in ways that resonate with the current trends.
Even before he stepped into the world of music, Hellum had been heavily involved in the tech space. At the age of 16, he helped develop Hypixel Inc., a games network that was at one time the largest Minecraft server in the world. And then, during his senior year of high school, Addison worked with professors from the University of Hawaii to build prototype surveillance drones for the U.S. Navy. Gradually, he gravitated towards music, where he found an industry hungry for change.
Starling is his latest project, and arguably the biggest. It has been so successful that it caught the attention of tech giant Sony, who tapped Hellum to help break new artists.
“I have a knack for technical stuff,” Hellum reveals in an interview, “but I hate the idea of doing something boring with those skills. The music industry is an industry that is surprisingly technology-heavy, especially since the advent of streaming.” Music, for Hellum, represents the rare cross-section between work and passion; he loves what he does, and he is good at it. Through his company, he has found ways of taking advantage of the new reality that is streaming.
Streaming has forced a rethink for all involved players. Dynamism is more important than ever. People like Addison Hellum are showing the world something that has always been true; creativity and evolution are essential in the music industry. Old is no longer gold; for artists and music moguls to strike gold, they have to evolve.
From the production stage to marketing using various platforms like YouTube, Spotify, and, more recently, TikTok, music now demands more technically savvy people. It is here that Hellum’s experience shines through.
Through streaming, musicians can grow their audience, bringing in new listeners in previously untapped markets. We listen to music on our phones first of all. We connect to the world through our phones, too, so it is similarly simple to engage with other music lovers.
Hellum’s Starling is leading the charge into the future of music. And that future begins with streaming.
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