As the calendar year comes to an end, it’s time for my traditional end-of-the-year recap as well as sharing bits of what’s coming in 2020.
2019 saw numerous highlights such as the launch of our sub-label Memoir Music, the launch of our new livestream and a steady schedule of great music.
Along with a recap, we also want to talk about what we’ve been working on behind the scenes and what we have planned for 2020. Let’s jump into it!
Keeping with tradition, we just published our 2019 Chillhop Yearmix. It contains 2.5 hours of the best tracks of the year and is a great representation of the Chillhop sound of 2019. We’re curious to hear what your favorite tracks of the year have been. Let us know in the comments section under the article!
The Chillhop sound hits 1 billion
As tastes and preferences evolve, our most important yearly goal is to keep the music (and everything around it) as something we feel passionate and motivated about. We strive to work our hardest at providing sound and style for our listeners to fully enjoy and appreciate.
As a result of our steady efforts to put out the best music and spread it to an audience all around the world, listeners streamed our tracks more than 1,000,000,000 times in 2019 alone. This is a great achievement, and something we want to build on in the next year. We even managed to fill the playlist of our new livestream with music exclusively from our label, which grew to over 1000 tracks in 2019.
Telling the story
While we know a lot of our listeners simply play Chillhop as background music when they are studying or working, there’s more of a story and depth to our releases than just that. The fact that the ‘music to study/relax to’ has become so popular is an indication of the increased search for relaxation in people’s everyday lives. We’re eager to explore this further by telling more of the story of the music and providing the perspective of the artists in order to create the link and discover what connects people on a deeper level.
An example of this is the Sleepy Fish story. Producer Sleepy Fish has been a fan favorite in terms of sound, and to compliment the music, we wanted to tell a story and paint a world that has parallels to the real world. Something for our listeners to relate to. We’re happy with the start we made, and are excited to continue the story in 2020.
Another example of bringing the music to life is the live session by L’indécis and sadtoi. Filmed in Rotterdam to celebrate L’indécis’s Second Wind release, the performance showcases the jazzy sound and was positively received by the audience (both in-person and online). Bringing music (that is mainly consumed online) to life is a challenge, but it is something we are going to focus on in order to expand the Chillhop universe.
One of the main highlights of the year was the launch of our sub-label, Memoir Music. I’ve had this idea for a long time as I wanted to explore a creative project that is focused on a very organic and nostalgic sound with a strong emphasis on the visual aspect of the music.
Memoir Music takes a lot of inspiration from Chillhop but is less based on hip-hop (like that of Chillhop) and is signified by a warm, organic, and ambient sound, often without drums, accompanied by hazy and relaxed visuals that empower a sort of nostalgic and relaxed feeling.
During our ‘exploratory’ stage of Memoir this year, we released two compilations and various EPs to test the waters and start building a story. With music curated by talented musician Kyle McEvoy, visuals curated by art enthusiast neonpajamas and beautiful VR worlds created by Matt Newell, we made great leaps and are super excited to further build this out. Creating something new from scratch without any expectations or pressures is such a fun process and we hope people enjoy this new world as we have a lot of great things coming out on Memoir in 2020.
Chillhop for a better world
One of the things we’re proud of is being able to use our influence to create a better world through the power of our community. We want to help people have a more balanced life through Chillhop and we want to have the same kind of influence on the world around us.
One thing we started doing this year is making our vinyl production more sustainable by using leftover vinyl stock from all over the world, melting them down and pressing them into new records. This is done at Deepgrooves, our pressing plant in the Netherlands. In addition to this, we started and will continue to plant a tree for every vinyl sold through our webshop!
Another thing worth recapping is our Holiday Card exchange, PenPaws. In collaboration with talented illustrators, we launched a campaign where we sent out custom Chillhop postcards to participants from the community (65 countries!) and asked them to mail their cards to other participants all over the world with a warm holiday message. Cards are still being sent, and we personally sent out 5460 cards which means a donation of $5460 to the teamtrees campaign, resulting in 5460 trees planted! We’re very happy to see the community coming together and achieving great things like this.
Chillhop in 2020
2019 has been an awesome year for us, and 2020 is looking to be even more exciting. In order to make the creative output even better and further improve our service towards the artists, we tripled our team in 2019! We’ve made sure we expanded our team with people that share our values, so we won’t lose the personal approach and the Chillhop spirit which is at the core of what we do.
In 2020, we want to focus on our story and empower the shared values we have among our audience. We want to form a stronger connection between the artists, listeners and the Chillhop brand, and keep being creative without making compromises in what we stand for.
We will continue to work hard to release more great music in 2020 as we did in 2019, while also expanding the Chillhop world. My personal perspective is that the music we put out is an expression of the need for a relaxed and chilled everyday life. Along with the music, we want to explore other ways and formats to express this feeling.
How does listening to your favorite Chillhop tracks in an actual Chillhop café wearing a cozy Chillhop hoodie while sitting back in a soft couch with a cup of coffee sound? This is one of the things that might become a reality in 2020 and which we’re working towards, so I hope you’re ready!
Looking back one last time, I’m personally very proud of what we have accomplished this year and I’m very happy that I can listen to our releases as a genuine fan of the music as I’ve always been, all the while helping the artists to develop themselves. This is something which would never be possible without everyone involved, so I want to thank you all (listeners, artists, collaborators) so much for another great year. 2020 will be a year where we make big steps into new territories as a brand, and I’m very grateful that the support of you all as listeners has allowed us to live our dream as well as give us the confidence to make these steps. We’re super excited to take you on this journey…Let’s do this!
And on behalf of the whole Chillhop team, thanks! (Agnis, A June, Bas, Bastien, Ben, Ben, Bjorn, Chelsea, Cliff, Darius, David, Eliran, Erika, Jochum, Kyle, Lisa, Maikel, Marcus, Matt, Mika, Nathan, Nick, Rohan, Simon, Thomas, Xaviera, Yiwei)
P.S. What would you like to see from us in 2020? Leave a comment below!