By
Ariana Díaz Celma

It is very likely that Aleix Fernández was the classic teenager that carefully selected his favourite songs and recorded them on a cassette with a pre-established order that had some kind of discourse and coherence in his mind. We could also say that, with the arrival of the Internet and the indomitable flow of information, he became a virtual digger that soon ran into the limitations of the web. Where to store all those wonderful references Internet gives us every day? All this led him to create last year a Beta version of Playmoss, a tool to create audio and video playlists with links from YouTube, Soundcloud and Vimeo. This year, Playmoss has a new web and Apps for iOS and Android. In a few months, it has stretched its tentacles around the world, becoming one of the most interesting start-ups in Barcelona. We have interviewed him…

How does a multimedia engineer with a mapping estudio (Onionlab) end up creating a tool like Playmoss?

Onionlab is an audiovisual production company that works on projects related to art, design, and technology as audiovisual and interactive content for exhibitions and shows.. Besides, music is a very important factor in our projects. Playmoss is a combination of these factors but assembled differently. In fact, it’s just the sum of music, video, design and technology.

Creating a platform of platforms seems logical nowadays, why do you think it’s taken so long to see the birth of something as necessary as Playmoss?

Here I think two factors come together, one is the fact that there should be a progression to see if it makes sense or not. Listening to music in streaming is now very common and now it seems to be a trend, but it wasn’t three years ago. Back then the bandwidth was shorter and people used to download music illegally more often, for example. Another determining factor is whether you are comfortable with the tool or not, whether you like it or not, or maybe the concept is not as necessary for you…

Playmoss is a combination of these factors but assembled differently. In fact, it’s just the sum of music, video, design and technology

Playmoss is useful for storing tracks that would otherwise get lost, but it also has a romantic side, like recovering the old K7 collections or creating CDs collections in digital format. In the opinion of the creator, which of the two aspects weighs more?

Playmoss was born as a tool to organize tracks from different streaming platforms, but as of late the second aspect is growing. You can share compilations, share tracks and discover new music. A very interesting musical community in growing in Playmoss, attracted by the compilations created by its users.

3in1-1

SoundCloud, YouTube and Vimeo, three in one. A dream for many, but certainly many people will miss other platforms. Are you thinking about including them in the future?

Yes, we plan to support more platforms. Mixcloud will come soon, but there’ll be more, some of them a bit different from what we’ve seen so far.

To launch the new web and the app you have self-produced a vinyl with internationally-acclaimed Barcelona artists. Why online tool chooses to promote itself with an analog record?

Our communication director thought it would be a good idea to present the tool’s new version with an object, and I think a vinyl record represents Playmoss very well, even more so if it’s an LP featuring several artists. It’d be an analog playlist, the best materialization of Playmoss possible. The tool also aims to enable the industry to develop in a digital medium. Among these tasks, there’s the promotion of artists. We thought it’d be great to promote artists from the city that have seen us grow from the beginning. The artists featured in the New Playlist compilation were DonwlinerSekt, Begun, Mans-o, Shelby Grey, Pina with a remix of Playmodes, Sunny Graves, Peter Vian, Asférico and Bruna with a Henry Saiz remix. You can listen to the new playlist here.

One of the most surprising features of Playmoss is its versatility. Users can store tracks, promoters promote their parties, labels show their catalog, festivals announce their line-up… Was the tool born with all these specifics?

The tool has a very simple purpose, to provide an online space to sort, classify and share audio and video content that is already online in legal platforms. This simple feature is very useful for a large number of music lovers, but also very interesting to festivals, promoters or labels because they need to show content dispersed among different platforms in a neat way. These new features appeared casually, sometimes spontaneously and sometimes from a friends’ suggestions.

There are some tools similar Playmoss, but they don’t have such a faithful community and such an outstanding design. We believe having sections such as GoodFridays or Artwork as to blame for this. Are they designed for this function?

Honestly, Playmoss was born in a time when we didn’t know there were other tools like Playmoss and we have developed it with lots of freedom. Obviously, we have found inspiration in some of the trends in music sites, but we’ve never developed similar tools. Good Fridays and Artwork were born from a wish to satisfy some of our ‘pleasures’. The first arises from “how cool would it be to have this band or that DJ make a playlists for us”. The second from the question: “Why do musicians who define their image are so little known?” We started with this and then we thought, well, we are a little crazy, nobody will play attention to us.” We ended up doing it and they have become some of Playmoss’ most acclaimed sections.

 Good Fridays and Artwork were born from a wish to satisfy some of our ‘pleasures’

Right now there are regular, PLUS and PRO accounts. What is the difference between a normal user and a PLUS user? What must one do to get the upgrade? What is the difference between a PLUS and a PRO account?

The PRO account is for people who work in the music industry: festivals, bands, promoters, media broadcasting music… PLUS users are very active in Playmoss; it’s a kind of reward. The advantages for these accounts are not many at the moment. On the one hand, they have more customization options and, on the other, they allow to embed the playlist in another website.

What are Playmoss’ future plans? It is a tool that can work very well international and we’re sure you have things in mind…

The future of Playmoss is to improve the tool, so if you have suggestions you can send them to us. We will do that by adding recommendation features or new platforms, for example. We will also improve how users can discover other users and playlists. It’s very important for us to find ways to generate small realities within Playmoss: electronic, indie and so on, depending on the users’ tastes.

It’s very important for us to find ways to generate small realities within Playmoss: electronic, indie and so on, depending on the users’ tastes

Can you make a Good Fridays for us with 10-15 tracks you would listen to on a Friday evening at home?

Better than that, I’ll make a Week 34. Week 34 is a series of playlists I post every two months approx. and where I select tracks that I particularly liked, basically a bit accelerated electronic music.

 

Your favourite hotspots in Barcelna are…

Fabra i Coats (C/Sant Adrià, 20), where I recently finished an artistic residence. It’s a space I’m really fond of. En Aparté (C/Lluís el Piadós, 2) for breakfast (from where I’m answering this interview); Elsa y Fred for dinner. The  CCCB’s mechanical stairs (C/Montalegre, 5); WahWah (C/Riera Baixa, 14) and Discos Paradiso (C/Ferlandina, 39) for music; the Floridablanca movie theatre (C/Floridablanca, 139) to meet on weekends and Parc de la Ciutadella, which I cross everyday to go to work.

You’d ban…

Mainstream radio stations

You never thought you’d end up…

Curating VA and releasing vinyl.

Good2b means…

Doing what you like doing and having a little time to be bored.

*Foto por Cecilia Díaz Betz