At 21, Eli Rossman’s Entrepreneurial Spirit Has Changed Lives (and Playlists Too)

 (photo credit: ELI ROSSMAN)
(photo credit: ELI ROSSMAN)

Just because an artist is not cracking the Hot 100 yet does not mean that they don’t have something impressive to offer the world. Eli Rossman knows this as well as anybody. “Right now there’s more than 70 million tracks sitting on display in the world’s biggest music streaming platform, with over 60,000 more being added daily. Admittedly, it’s an overwhelming number. But it’s not our job to be overwhelmed. It’s our to make our artists heard.”

Putting the seemingly insurmountable numbers situation into consideration, Eli started Upturn Network in late 2019 to help unsigned and underappreciated talents begin to grow their fanbases. The company currently scouts Spanish playlist curators and helps them curate their to promote the musicians who work with them. Upturn Network has also expanded their services since their inception to cover the creation of audio content and its subsequent promotion and has already begun to cater to English and instrumental artists.

Each Playlist is a New Radio

Hundreds of millions of people spend most of their time online, specifically dedicating their music listening and discover to Spotify’s platform. Considering the potential for promotion from this attention, people don’t need convincing that using its power can be significantly influential. User created content has always been a central benefit of Spotify’s platform, and user created playlists serve as a centralization tool to focus audience attention to new talent.

Finding your own custom music festival, with a couple new openers

“Our real goal is to stay as close to form as possible,” Rossman explained, “When you come to a Spanish Rock list, we know you expect to hear Spanish Rock. Our job is to figure out which of our artists can fit the mold and give you, as a listener, an enjoyable listening experience while feeding you new content.” With an unimaginable number of different musical niches, Eli spends the better part of most days scavenging that platform to find the right lists for his musical acts. 

People nowadays prefer streaming rather than CDs and vinyl (despite vinyl’s indie resurgence), a change that has been tough on the wallet of artists but also a tool to help them get discovered. Unlike the days of old when a record would have to be pressed and vie for the attention of a shopper on a store rack, artists can have their tracks seamlessly integrated with other artists in mood and genre playlists. 

Have an interest? There’s a playlist for that

The main reason why playlists have the power to let new artists be discovered is that they are categorized based on listeners’ preferences in music, with no exceptions. Those who are fans of a particular genre will naturally want to stream songs that belong to it, no matter how niche or odd an outsider may find a specific playlist to be. Really been hankering to know what you would have listened to if you had been born in 1937? Go follow user secondlefty’s “Had I Been Born in 1937”. Trying to find the right tracks for your figure skating program? We’d recommend abisiatkowski’s “figure skating program music ideas”.

The point is, there is always going to be a playlist that captures the attention or interest of a listener that a new artist could benefit from. “I truly believe I’ve scraped the depths of Spotify,” Rossman joked, “It makes you wonder what goes into the creative process of some of the playlists. You’ll find something you couldn’t have dreamt up in a thousand years and it’ll have thousands of followers.”

Introduction is (more than) half the battle

Considering the ability of playlists to expose listeners to songs that they might be interested in, and the vast number of potential fans waiting to be brought in on Spotify’s platform, building a fanbase by taking advantage of both has never been easier. At the end of the day, no matter how impressive the song is, if people don’t get to have the chance to listen to it getting, discovered is impossible.

Artists like ‘Issana’ and ‘The Rossman Ensemble’ can credit their growing success to the efforts of Upturn Network, being created, distributed, and promoted entirely through the company. Many unsigned (and soon to be signed) musicians are also enjoying their active fanbases now thanks Eli and the business after sharing their tracks on curated playlists. “It’s a powerful thing,” Rossman said, “We get to be a transformative piece of a lot of creators careers. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”