Strange Fruits, a label and playlist company that has amassed millions of Spotify subscribers, is rebranding itself as Fruits Music while announcing other major projects in the works.
These plans include doubling down on its in-house label and launching a proprietary subscription app called fruits of sleep.
The rebranding coincides with the Dutch-based company’s fifth anniversary this year.
“The Strange Fruits name has served us well over the past five years, during which we have become a dominant player in the global independent streaming market,” said Founder and CEO Stef van Vugt.
“However, as we enter a new phase of our business, which will see us expand our offering and introduce new products and opportunities to engage directly with music fans and entertainment consumers, it is time to reposition our brand to reflect these changes,” the executive added.
Strange Fruits or Fruits Music describes itself as a music and technology company that specializes in promoting music playlists through creative marketing.
Since its launch five years ago, Fruits Music has moved into various musical genres including Lo-Fi, Jazz, Dance, etc., as well as creating audio playlists targeted at “moods” and activities. such as sleep, concentration and nature simulations.
The controversial company founded by Van Vugt, 25, has rapidly increased its presence on Spotify and other music streaming services.
“As we enter a new phase of our business, which will see us expand our offering and introduce new products and opportunities to engage directly with music fans and entertainment consumers, it is time to reposition our brand to reflect these changes.”
Stef van Vugt
In its latest press release, Fruits Music said it will now position its in-house label as a top brand, with plans to focus more on A&R to attract more high-profile signings to its own label.
Fruits Music is also looking to launch its own app for its meditation music and bedtime stories called fruits of sleepwhich should adopt a subscription-based model.
A Minecraft server for in-app purchase called fruit crafts is also in progress. The health and mindfulness app and the Minecraft server are still in beta mode.
Fruits Music also intends to make its virtual artist MELON, a digitally animated mascot, an “actual live and recording artist”.
Other projects underway include making the company’s marketing technology available to third parties, starting with several external rights holders.
“We will continue to advocate for a fair, balanced and transparent streaming environment, which is vital to the overall health of the music industry. We hope that by keeping an open mind, studying their consumer data and supporting everyone who gets creative, these services will be able to provide a level playing field for the biggest hitmakers and the smallest niche writers to thrive,” Van Vugt said.
“Fruits Music will always be a home for outcasts, innovators, and creators everywhere.”
Stef van Vugt
“Our house label has always been a key part of what we stand for and now is the time to properly focus time, effort and resources on this part of our business. Fruits Music will always be a home for outcasts, innovators and creators everywhere,” said Van Vugt.
The company also revealed plans to collaborate with Romanian independent label Global Records, founded in 2008 by Lucian Ștefan, which amassed 11 billion streams in January.
Global is the label behind Romanian superstar Minelli, whose single Ramampam peaked at No. 6 on the Shazam World Charts in 2021.
Strange Fruits (now Fruits Music) has managed to take advantage of Spotify’s revenue-sharing royalty scheme: many of its tracks in some “rain” playlists are just over 30 seconds long, according to a rolling stone exhibited last year.
This model has prompted accusations that “fake artists” or playlists like those owned by Strange Fruits harm “real” artists who get a smaller share of Spotify’s revenue.
Van Vugt dismissed those accusations in a podcast with The music industry around the world founder Tim Ingham in late July, saying it’s up to users who have paid for a subscription to decide what to listen to on platforms like Spotify.
Ingham suggested that the artists in Fruits Music’s playlists may not get enough public recognition in the way they are credited – the tracks in these playlists are credited to the playlist itself by as the main “artist”.
However, Van Vugt argued that many musicians “don’t want to be the next superstar” and don’t seek validation for their work.The music industry around the world