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Ólafur Arnalds takes over as UMG’s ‘Peaceful Music’ curator


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In August 2018, Universal Music Group launched a playlist called ‘Peaceful Music’ capitalising on the demand for classical-chillout music on streaming services like Spotify. The twist: Peaceful Music was exclusive to Apple Music, launching as a 51-track playlist guest-curated by composer Max Richter. Nine months on, and another big name has taken on that role: Ólafur Arnalds. He’s chosen a selection of tracks from artists including Aphex Twin, Radiohead and Nils Frahm, as well as material from his own back catalogue.

How is the playlist doing? There aren’t any specific figures, but UMG’s press release about  Arnalds taking the helm says Peaceful Music “has already proved to be a hit with millions of streams”. It remains exclusive to Apple Music, with Spotify continuing to focus on its own stable of relaxation playlists, including the flagship ‘Peaceful Piano’ which now has 5.3 million followers.

This whole area is currently the subject of controversy, after a 330-track Sony Music playlist called ‘Sleep & Mindfulness Thunderstorms’ sparked debate about so-called ‘playlist-stuffing’.

Stuart Dredge

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