Who are you and what’s your background?
My name is Kelvin Ruijters, founder and CEO at Frequency. I’m 20 years old, born and raised in the The Netherlands. I started with YouTube at a very young age, when I was around 12. Back in that time I loved gaming and started recording the gameplay to upload to YouTube. This went pretty well but I just wanted more. When doing gameplay videos on YouTube, I always hated getting copyright claims from using songs in my videos. So I came up with a new idea. Why not start my very own royalty free music channel? I always had a hard time finding new music that was free to use. There was a black market on royalty free music in 2013. I only found NCS, who was one of the first music channels doing royalty free music on YouTube. I saw the opportunity and took it, starting my very own YouTube music channel called ‘Free Songs To Use’ in 2013. After a year of doing daily promotional uploads, the channel went up and up. Major YouTubers where using the songs I uploaded, and they still do! After 2 years of doing this I had to change my name to Frequency (because of the wrong name interpretation). Now a few years on and we’ve changed to a full music label with millions tuning in every month!
What does your job consist of on a day to day basis?
Mostly it consists of listening to new music, responding to emails and Facebook messages and looking for new talent every day. The rest of the day I work with my new partner Rutger Beijer, who’s just began working at Frequency as a label manager. I’m also spending a lot of time on working and improving the brand with new ideas, new innovations and development of the brand.
What do you enjoy most about it?
I always dreamed of doing my very own thing and working freely without having to follow other people. I love doing something where I can make my own rules and decisions… Where I’m not required to do something because someone else says so! This is also one the reasons why I was a pain in the ass at school. I finished high school with just enough 6’s and I wanted to focus on one thing and school wasn’t it. Now I’m working together with the AEI Group with my own little office in Amsterdam, as well as running Frequency, and I’m really happy with how it’s going and happy to have the chance of doing what I always wanted to do. It’s all just the beginning and I’m really excited for what the future holds.
What’s your biggest achievement to date?
The release “Meant To Be” from Arc North and Krista Marina is the biggest release that I’m most proud of. I met Arc North a few years ago in the early days of my YouTube career. He always was one of the best producers on my channel. His productions were really on point. Already I saw some great talent in him. But one day he sent me this amazing tune called “Meant To Be”. I was totally amazed by the feeling that the song created. After doing the release, I can remember that the promo went pretty poorly and nobody was interested to promote the tune, however “Meant To Be” still hit millions on all platforms, without almost any promotional or playlist support!
Any tips and tricks that you wish you knew when you started?
I always was lacking in knowing the basics of how to run a company/music label. I would recommend to start with a base and try to grow up from there. Know the basics; music rights, licenses, etc. These days it isn’t easy anymore to grow a great YouTube label or promo channel from zero to something big. Work hard, be innovative and do something you believe in that nobody is doing.
Who are your favourite artists at the moment?
From a music industry professional perspective – I would say San Holo is my favourite artist at the moment. He’s doing something that nobody is doing in the EDM scene, releasing unique, great music, running his own label Bitbird, doing his own shows, and so on … I have a lot of respect for what he’s doing. From a personal perspective – for the moment I’d say Breakbot, with his song “Devotion”. It’s a great tune with ‘80’s House Music’ vibes in it. Personally I like this kind of music a lot.
What do you look for in a song / artist?
I mostly look at the feeling a song creates. Having great production is important but having emotions in a song is as much important as the production. I see so much music that is being released without any emotions. These songs are of course cool to listen to but I believe releasing music with emotion gives you much more respect and long term listeners.
How do you overcome days where you have no motivation?
This actually totally depends on your situation. For myself, I sometimes go for a walk, go running or do something else to give my head some resting time, so I can go back to working with full focus again. It’s really important to take some time off work.
What do you do when your not working (for downtime)?
When I’m not working I’m mostly doing fitness, watching YouTube videos, watching interesting documentaries or sometimes still playing the games I love.
Any recent announcements and/or upcoming stuff you would like to announce to the readers?
We’re doing something really exciting and big in 2019, I cannot say more at the moment. We will announce it soon on our socials. If you really want to know what’s coming, follow us on our socials to stay up to date!
Your own personal tips for success (either in music or life in general)?
Firstly, never give up on your dreams and try to improve yourself every day. There will be set backs on your path but try to learn and overcome these. This is the way to improve and to get better. Secondly always know the basics for when you start in any industry. Work out from these basics how to make your own path to the goal you want to achieve. Work hard to achieve your goal, be innovative and do something you believe in that nobody is doing. Never underestimate yourself.
Thanks to The Music Elk for doing this interview with me. Hope you enjoyed!