Chances are you don’t know who Robert Farrugia is. After all, the young ambient musician has a very niche market and just over 600 followers on Facebook. At the same time, though, he’s quietly become one of Malta’s most streamed artists in Spotify’s history.
At the time of writing, one of Robert’s latest tracks – Segments, from last January’s album Worn – has over two million plays on Spotify.
For context, Winter Moods’ classic track Marigold has just over 100,000 plays. The Travellers’ Xemx u Xita? A little under 250,000. Red Electrick’s Right Here, an absolute banger that was on every Vodafone commercial, TV and radio set last year? 788k.
In fact, it looks like Ira Losco’s 2016 Eurovision entry Walk On Water is one of the only Maltese songs that currently has more plays than Robert’s… and even then is just hovering above with 2.6 million plays. Ira’s next most popular song, the immortal Hey Now, has less than half a million streams.
And all this from an album Robert recorded from his bedroom using an old cassette tape which he used to record voice memos on when he was little.
So how did a relatively unknown musician end up beating so many national records? Well, it all has to do with Spotify, and the music it decides to promote in its official playlists…
Perfect for relaxation or meditation, Robert’s music got a massive push a couple of years ago when his track Slow Morning was featured on an official Spotify playlist called Dreamy Vibes. With over 150,000 followers regularly tuning in, Robert’s track quickly but quietly went viral, and is now sitting on 1.2 million plays. But as far as Segments goes, Robert really managed to hit the jackpot.
“I’m currently featured in three different playlists, and that has really helped,” Robert tells Lovin Malta.
In fact, the three playlists in question – Deep Sleep, Peaceful Meditation and Sono Profundo – have a combined following of 1,963,216 listeners tuning in. In any given week, Robert could be getting over 200,000 plays.
The album Worn itself has received some rave reviews, with its seven ethereal tracks no doubt hitting the spot with many beyond our shores. From Italian fans to one reviewer hailing it “some of his finest work yet”, Robert’s latest offering has been making the waves in the underground music scene… but in the meantime, Segments continues to garner thousands of views a day.
“It feels absolutely wonderful,” Robert had said of his online success. “Knowing how many people have listened to my music puts a smile on my face, and it still feels surreal to this day.”
And if you’d like to own a physical copy of the two-million-streamed Segments – along with the whole album it’s from – Robert has made it all available on a gorgeous, aquamarine blue vinyl.
Robert has played a handful of gigs around the island, from intimate indoor gigs to sunset sessions at Malta’s most beautiful beaches, both alone and with fellow musicians from his band Eyes to Argus.
In fact, fellow band members Samwel Mallia and Samuel Attard helped bring Worn to life, through the inlay design and mastering respectively.
For more information on Robert’s future projects, stay tuned on his regularly-updated Facebook page.