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Interview with Michael Warner

Written by on October 6, 2022

Interview with Michael Warner

What once seemed scary and unattainable years ago is now closer than ever before. The book “Work Hard Playlist Hard” teaches artists at any level how to grow their audience on streaming services through profile enhancement, data analysis, automation and creating value as a curator.

In the e-book “Work Hard Playlist Hard” you will learn how to:

Customize your artist profiles on popular streaming services
Build a playlist and grow its following
Pitch to independent curators the right way
Grow your network
Manage your time by staying organized
Release music catered to playlists

We sat down with author Michael Warner to chat about his inspirations and his book.


This is a book that you’ve spent a great deal of time, research and energy putting together. Talk us through the genesis of the book and what inspired you to write Work Hard Playlist Hard. How did Work Hard Playlist Hard come about?

Michael Warner: I’ve been a DJ for 15 years and a producer for 10. I had released on many record labels and was always curious as to how they pushed music into the hands of DJ’s and Radio. At this time streaming popularity was taking off and I focused my time into learning more about how these streaming services work, who are they key curators and tastemakers. I started applying this knowledge to my music releases and then began to share it with artists.

You’ve worked for many years as a DJ. What was the transition like from DJ to writing an book like Work Hard Playlist Hard?

Michael Warner: A DJ is a curator with a live audience. We get to see peoples reactions to our music selections. Writing this book I had no audience, so I pretended I was writing it for a friend and it was me telling them what they need to do.

You’ve been in this industry for quite sometime.

Michael Warner: Yes, I have. Always learning new things every day!

How long did it take you to write and bring the idea to life?

Michael Warner: The e-book was written over 6 months. I have a full time day job and 6 side hustles, plus I wanted to make sure the book was useful so I tested it with a group of trusted artists and label friends before releasing.

What were some of the challenges you faced during the writing process?

Michael Warner: Ideas for chapters. They came to me at weird times. I would literally wake up with an idea and have to start writing, I couldn’t just sit down and force myself to write at a set time.

Now that the book is out there in the world, what do you hope artists will take away from Work Hard Playlist Hard?

Michael Warner: I hope artists gain a stronger understanding of the streaming music world and how curators play an important role. I would love to see artists come to me and tell me that the advice in this book launched their career but even if that were to be true, their talent is the reason they are successful… this book may just help them to get noticed sooner.

Judging from your experience, do you think we still have a long way to go with regards to streaming, as some people in the industry say that the value chain’s broken?

Michael Warner: Merchandise is still huge, at least in the US. People will stream a song multiple times, then go buy the vinyl and a t-shirt. If everyone keeps focusing on other ways to offer value to their fans through merchandise and physical products in addition to streaming, it won’t matter that CD’s are almost completely irrelevant now.

DJ´s/Producers inspired you over the years? Who are your heroes?

Michael Warner: StoneBridge would have to be one of my favorites. Consistently released great music, adapted to the new music industry and remains one of the most humble and genuine guys i’ve ever met. He shows that there are plenty of good people able to make a living in this industry without stepping on any toes or burning any bridges. He also loves a nerdy music chat!

What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Michael Warner: “Protect your f**king ears.” – James Ash from an Australian electronic band called Rogue Traders once told me. I purchased ear plugs the next day and I always take them to gigs. Hearing loss is common in the music industry and it is preventable, so protect your ears!

Are you working on anything right now?

Michael Warner: Many things but I don’t like to announce until they are ready.

What’s it about?

Michael Warner: You can see by paying attention to,, and

Finally, what advice do you have to give to other DJs/Producers out there who are just starting out on their journey?

Michael Warner: Surround yourself with positive people you aspire to be like and always support them. “When one of us wins, we all win” is what I always say to my friends.

We thank you for the interview.


“My friend Michael is my go to for streaming advice mainly because he comes from music and the music I like and not just a statistics type knowledge, but that special touch and feel for where a track can work well. His playlists are always put together in an organic way, not just strategy – they are solid musically. I have seen him grow from one playlist to a massive operation over the years.” – StoneBridge (Grammy nominated producer and remixer)

“Michael knows the streaming world extremely well and as an artist has a unique view on the sector too. With a proven track record of success this book is a must read for anyone interested in this space.” – Kieron Donoghue (Founder of Humble Angel Records)

“What impresses me most about Michael is that his knowledge of the digital music world is born from a true love for music (unfortunately not always the case in the biz these days).  From both an artist and industry perspective, Michael always seems to be up on the trends and is always looking to find new ways to expose not only his groups music, but the music of other talented artists from around the world to wider audiences.  Beyond his clear expertise in the areas that he works, he also just happens to be a great person to deal with, talk to and collaborate with. Nothing but respect for his hustle and know how.” – Brian Delaney (Tommy Boy Records)


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