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Meet Adam Read: Curator of playlists at Deezer UK


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Adam Read, UK & Ireland Music Editor for streaming service Deezer, has the dream job.

A recent graduate, Adam started his career path with all signs pointing to a job in a bank, but a few years later, has landed at international streaming service Deezer. We fired the all-important questions Adam's way and asked for some hot tips on getting paid to make playlists. 

Adam Read, UK & Ireland Music Editor at Deezer

TNS: What university did you go to, and what did you study?

Adam: I studied Economics & Finance at the University of Surrey, so I started away from the music space. However, I’ve always been hugely passionate about the music industry and spent a lot of time presenting for the student radio station.

TNS: What drew you to a career in music? What inspired your passion for music?

A: Growing up, my friends' music tastes were all so different, from grime to indie & alternative, to dance - we used to create playlists on our MP3 players and share them with each other, so even back then I was curating music!

My time at student radio definitely increased my passion and I learnt how to craft a show’s musical output. A year later, I volunteered to be the station’s Head Of Music, so I had to teach myself how to use music scheduling software. Controlling a station’s musical output and playlists, helping to introduce people to their new favourite songs and artists - it gave me a massive buzz and from then I knew pursuing a career in the music industry was the right move.

TNS: Talk us through what happened after graduation, did you go straight into your role at Deezer?

A: After graduation, I wanted to combine my degree with my love of music so I joined the business team at an independent label and gained valuable experience. Six months later, a friend recommended a role with MTV as Junior Music Editor. I got the job and stayed there for four years - it was an incredible experience to curate playlists for the channels I watched as a kid.

On the side, I also worked as a producer on BBC Music Introducing In Kent. It was fantastic to be able to hear artists at the earliest stages of their careers and provide that initial stepping stone. I’ve been with Deezer for just over six months and it’s been great to get involved in the most exciting part of the music industry - streaming!  

TNS: Tell us a bit about your day to day as UK & Ireland Music Editor. What does your role entail?

A: I’m responsible for Deezer’s playlist curation across all of our moods and genres in the UK & Ireland. This means I have to understand what our users are listening to, what they like and provide them with the best playlists that suit their needs, no matter what time of day. I use a combination of streaming data and my own editorial judgement to work out what music is applicable for each playlist. My experience with numbers in my degree has been hugely beneficial, as it allows me to understand where the musical trends are going.

Overall I manage about 70-80 playlists which I update regularly. Each week I am responsible for listening to all the new releases that are suitable for the UK. Typically I’ll spend almost one full day getting stuck into this music. This is hugely exciting as you never know the gems you’ll find. Outside of playlist editorial, I work alongside Deezer’s Artist Marketing team to come up with creative ideas for artists to help promote them on our service and provide engaging content for our users.

TNS: Can you remember the first playlist you made after joining the Deezer team?

A: I remember just after joining Deezer there was a mini heatwave in the UK. I created a ‘Tropical Indie’ playlist for the summer, containing all the tracks that immediately make you crave an ice cold cider or cocktail, pop the shades on and phase out from the world.

TNS: What’s the playlist you’re most proud of creating so far?

A: That’s a tough one, it’s almost like a parent choosing a favourite child! A really exciting playlist that we launched recently on Deezer is a playlist called ‘Certified’, which is going to be taken over by the most exciting talent in UK rap. Each artist gets the chance to show us their favourite tracks right now, and the first artist to be in control are The Streets.

TNS: What advice would you give to students looking to follow in your footsteps?

A: I would say be passionate, motivated and nice to everyone. You never know who you’ll meet in the future in the music industry. Everyone seems to know everyone and if you get a bad reputation for being rude or disrespectful, it could really affect your chances of forging a long and successful career. Get involved in as many different sides of music as you can, whether that’s a label, volunteering at the local radio station, or running events. When you do get that first job, remember this is only the start! So many people rest on their laurels and just want the bragging rights for what they do. Make sure you don’t become one of those people!

TNS: Any final words of wisdom?

A: One of the most important lessons I learnt when I was at university, was that it’s equally important to learn what you do NOT want to do, as much as what you do want to. I did a placement year at a large global bank as part of my degree, and despite it being very interesting to see what I learnt at university applied to the real world, I realised it wasn’t the right career for me. Don’t be scared of trying different career paths, as it will help you narrow down what you really want to do.

Download Deezer to listen to playlists created by Adam, Deezer music editors and musicians from all over the world.

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