Last week we enjoyed a very musical evening at our Amsterdam studio for our latest ‘At the Bar’. Our guest speaker was Vincent Reinders, the founder of the award winning musical platform 22tracks.
If you’ve not heard of 22tracks, let us give you a quick overview. 22tracks was born in Amsterdam as a new way to discover music. It’s an online jukebox consisting of 22 playlists of different genres. Each playlist is filled with 22 tracks. These are curated by local DJs, musicians and industry insiders, and updated weekly. Originally created for Amsterdam, you can now listen to playlists from Brussels, London and Paris, each with their own local flavour – for example, Amsterdam has a playlist dedicated to Dutch Hip Hop, whilst the Parisian playlists include ‘Electro’ and ‘Sélection Française’.
Richard (a Creative Artworker and our in-house photographer) has retold Vincent’s inspiring story for us here:
We live in the age of the music stream. With websites and apps like Spotify, Soundcloud, Google and Apple all providing different ways to explore and listen, music has never been more accessible. Rewind a few years to Vincent. He had created what he thought was the ultimate collection of Hip Hop, so he approached local Amsterdam radio station FunX with an idea… and soon became the host of his very own radio programme, showcasing new music.
His playlists became more renowned, and in 2009 Vincent had the bright idea of creating online playlists of new music, or a ‘digital jukebox’. The original thought of including twenty choices wouldn’t work because he couldn’t buy the website domain so, with its more visually appealing love heart appearance, ‘22tracks’ was born.
Passion breeds passion and as the website grew in popularity it brought with it new playlist curators. The lists began to expand into different genres until reaching that magical number of 22. Each week a selected curator would add five favourite new tracks to their playlist, bumping the five bottom runners to keep everything fresh.
Soon collaborators in London, Brussels and Paris were invited to contribute, providing a new way to uncover and discover emerging music in these cities and growing the listener base to 60,000 a month.
In 2015 22tracks had a refresh, complete with a clean and simple new website design and an ultra slick user experience. The listenership was now over 500,000 a month with a third originating from the Netherlands. Vincent felt that it was now time to bring the fans and the people who helped him get 22tracks to where it was together.
The idea was to host a festival featuring the undiscovered artists that were getting recognition through the site. With Vincent personally curating the stages and creatively overseeing the day, his hard work ultimately paid off and ‘22fest’ (on 18 July 2015) was a sell out success!
Being able to offer the ‘music of tomorrow’ in a laid-back festival proved to be yet another winning formula, and started the next chapter of the 22tracks story, with plans already in place for similar events in Brussels and Paris.
What struck me most about Vincent was how he immediately draws you in with his friendly approach, recounting a story that he must have told numerous times, yet still igniting the same love in his heart as when he was creating his first perfect playlist.
I personally really like 22track’s style; its clean, honest and true to what it passionately believes in. This is something that I encounter on a daily basis with the talented souls that I share the Design Bridge work space with, and the people who put together our excellent ‘At the Bar’ talks.
I know that we all get that buzz from a bit of passionate storytelling, and being homegrown from Amsterdam makes the 22tracks story all that more special.