While many creators rose to popularity during the pandemic, the music industry was struck hard due to obvious reasons. Artists had to get creative to stay afloat, and there many musicians took on extra jobs. A sharp contrast to the world of social media, where creators found new audiences who were bound to spend their time in the digital world because of lockdowns and curfews.
Giolí and Assia is a dj duo that makes an interesting hybrid of musicians and creators. A perfect example of how the passion economy enables creativity as the main driver to, not only make a living, but thrive, despite macroeconomic winds. The passion economy that enabled many creators to build big businesses through social media, has also changed a number of other sectors. Music, for example, might not be that obvious but Giolí, one half of the duo, declares that being a musician today is not what used to be. “Making music is so different from just 10 years ago. You don’t need to sign a label for distribution, but at the same time, a crowded space demands higher standards when it comes to build your brand.” She refers to the distribution side of reaching people with your musical creations.
Today, djs have to think holistically about their career, which includes to manage social media in some way. Many successful djs do this strategically, and voices in the industry argue that record label’s have lost much of their appeal to independent producers. “We build our own brand, and we have big goals to build a 360 brand and become so much more than what we are today.” says Assia, the other half of the duo.
They met after Assia commented on a viral drumming video posted by Gioli on Facebook. This led to sharing songs over Whatsapp and shortly after, they started touring together and Assia found herself on stage in front of 10,000 people at her first performance.
“I’ve always loved making music, but my family had plans for me to become a teacher.”, Gioli remembers. “I told my father that I wanted to try the music direction. We decided I would give it a shot, and shortly after I was touring.” And it quickly progressed from there.
After they started touring together, they met a promoter who would invite them to become resident djs at Privilege, the largest nightclub in Ibiza, and the world. “You never lose that feeling of anxiety before going up on stage to perform, not even after 100, 200 times.” They feel a deep connection with their fans who show up for their concerts. “People pay for the tickets to see us so of course we feel a great responsibility to deliver an experience every time.”
The duo gives an impression of being not only creative, but entrepreneurial and business minded. Traits that are not given among music producers. “I have a huge passion of making nice videos, I edit and Assia does the color correction.” Gioli refers to the “Diesis” videos they started releasing to promote their music in an organic way. Electronic music aficionados will recognize similarities with its unique locations and drones, to videos produced by Cercle, a French company focused on live shows with an big electronic music personalities in cultural spots around the world. However, Gioli and Assia produces their own videos and their Youtube channel boasts videos with over 25 million views and counting. “I don’t think TikTok is for us, I’m a perfectionist and want a video to look great, that’s why I love Youtube.”
They pick different locations in each video, often with a breathtaking view in an “uncomfortable” location. “Once we had to climb an active volcano for hours in the middle of the night to be there at sunrise.” says Assia. The videos also reveal they have an interest in fashion and being stepping out of the box with their production.
“The videos have really been a hit. We’re progressing towards a real hit on the music side, but the videos have helped us spread awareness and get our songs out there. The feedback has been incredible.” Many other musicians tried live shows during the pandemic, but as is the case for all creators, creativity and consistency is vital to find success. Many musicians struggled to be creative during the pandemic and didn’t find success with live shows. Let alone being close to the level of reach that Gioli and Assia have, which points towards that sincere interest and passion for producing the content is key for consistency.
When asked about their plans for the future, they simultaneously say they have only begun their journey. “Many started on Youtube, Dua Lipa, Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes. For us, we want to be one of the big names, maybe next to our inspirations Coldplay or U2, but not next to Queen, they are just too big and invincible.”
The conversation has been edited for clarity.