Are there "important" Spotify playlists?

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So, Spotify launched in America six years ago this month and only in the last year or so have I noticed the trend to dub the "playlist" as the new way people engage with music
see:
--Drake calling 'More Life' a "playlist" instead of an album or a mixtape
--"Playlist albums" forcing Billboard to change its rules: http://www.billboard.com/articles/business/7624338/how-labels-using-playlist-albums-break-new-artists-streaming-era
--the site The Dowsers getting music writers to make playlists ("The Dowsers (the-dowsers.com) is the world’s first editorial site devoted exclusively to the playlist experience. It’s a new era, and people consume and think about music differently than they did even 10 years ago.")

All of which is to say, has there been one "important" or "canonical" playlist? Every format era seems to have its "compilation that changes the way we think a little" whether its the Robert Johnson and Harry Smith comps in the vinyl era, or the Nuggets/Star Time/Back to Mono boxes in the CD era; then the CD-R comps like Chains and Black Exhaust or Messthetics and the various blogger-run MP3 things like Musicophilia 1981 set or the Oh Word 50 or Vladislav Delay's all-verse Nicki Minaj Soundcloud

I think that two things are at play in that A) So much is missing from streaming services that any chance to make a "complete" or "definitive" anything gets screwed up a little (I tried to put my Big Beat comp on Spotify and CJ Bolland's "Sugar Is Sweeter" is not on the service) and B) The platform is so vast and democratic that everyone is just content/happy to go into their own personal wormhole?

Thoughts?

Sutcliffe Juugin' (Whiney G. Weingarten), Wednesday, 5 July 2017 16:22 (one year ago) Permalink

Most playlists aren't cross-platform, right? I'd think that would restrict how 'canonical' one could become. Maybe a part of the Spotify canon or the YouTube canon, but listeners on a different service would never hear of it.

Also possibly, the playlist format is too new to have been perfected in the way that the long playing record album was in the 60s (arguably)? You could have said there were no 'canonical' albums in 1935, although honestly this isn't a very defensible statement due to the passage of time, it's hard to verify the historical accuracy.

Have there been any 'playlists' released on physical media yet? I'm out of touch, so I'm curious.

Guy Pidgeotto (Tom Violence), Wednesday, 5 July 2017 16:39 (one year ago) Permalink

Well 'physical media playlists' go under names like Now That's What I Call Music etc.

Siegbran, Wednesday, 5 July 2017 17:21 (one year ago) Permalink

feel like Rap Cavier is influential, but not necessarily important

Universal LULU Nation (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 5 July 2017 17:22 (one year ago) Permalink

but that's a constantly updated thing, those playlists feel more like radio stations in a way i guess, than say a Nuggets type thing

Universal LULU Nation (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 5 July 2017 17:23 (one year ago) Permalink

Spotify playlists are pretty fleeting so it's more like radio playlists - listened to by millions but not 'canonical'.

Siegbran, Wednesday, 5 July 2017 17:24 (one year ago) Permalink

xpost!

Siegbran, Wednesday, 5 July 2017 17:24 (one year ago) Permalink

rap caviar

||||||||, Wednesday, 5 July 2017 17:46 (one year ago) Permalink

I think the while point about the importance of playlists is that it reflects certain changes in how people are approaching music these days that can't really be assimilated into older ways of thinking about the canonical. Some playlists keep you updated on genres, some you follow because you trust someone' taste, some will let you know what's popular atm, some place the most important parts of an artist's catalogue within your reach, release radar is "important" because it lets me know whenever artists I'm interested in have released new music, and some will remind you of the old cassette era "mixtape" shot into public space where it can be anything or nothing for anybody. And so on.

human and working on getting beer (longneck), Wednesday, 5 July 2017 21:39 (one year ago) Permalink

a novel aspect of playlists is that they can be as long as you want. I have the spotify playlist of fact magazines best albums of the seventies which I dip into frequently when i don't know what I'd like to listen to. i feel like potentially length is key to format potential

plax (ico), Wednesday, 5 July 2017 22:21 (one year ago) Permalink

No.

Le Bateau Ivre, Wednesday, 5 July 2017 22:31 (one year ago) Permalink

Everynoise.com ?

MarkoP, Thursday, 6 July 2017 02:56 (one year ago) Permalink

it's important to be on playlists if you want to make any money in the music industry in 2017

44 4s (voodoo chili), Thursday, 6 July 2017 03:06 (one year ago) Permalink

no, the inherent ephemerality of spotify playlists (and Youtube playlists, basically any cloud-based playlist) disqualifies them (for good or ill) from consideration as "Important".

The Saga of Rodney Stooksbury (rushomancy), Thursday, 6 July 2017 03:08 (one year ago) Permalink

Remember when what we now think of as "playlists" were called "mixtapes" and what we now think of as "mixtapes" were called "albums"?

Austin, Thursday, 6 July 2017 03:09 (one year ago) Permalink

Ahem

i believe that (s)he is sincere (forksclovetofu), Thursday, 6 July 2017 06:08 (one year ago) Permalink

important not impotent forks

r|t|c, Thursday, 6 July 2017 07:13 (one year ago) Permalink

Impotent forks have no tines, methinks you have me confused with your own sad cutlery

i believe that (s)he is sincere (forksclovetofu), Thursday, 6 July 2017 12:55 (one year ago) Permalink

compilations are pretty ephemeral too (as you know if you've ever tried to track one down)

sick, fucking funny, and well tasty (katherine), Thursday, 6 July 2017 14:52 (one year ago) Permalink

the one -- advantage? it's not an advantage now but it will be a decade from now -- is that given how metrics-driven most playlists are and how fine-grained the tracking of them, and how much listeners hate unfamiliar artists foisted upon them via playlist, in 2030 there will probably be a lot fewer tracks only available on some defunct, inaccessible playlist than tracks only available on some obscure compilation (or not even obscure, this starts happening, for instance, on old promo only comps)

sick, fucking funny, and well tasty (katherine), Thursday, 6 July 2017 14:57 (one year ago) Permalink

idk where I might find really deep/thoughtfully-put-together spotify playlists. the useful ones I find tend to be more like huge repositories to shuffle about, in practice it seems to be a format that encourages broad brush sloppiness

ogmor, Thursday, 6 July 2017 14:59 (one year ago) Permalink

yeah, I identify with that. my own are super broad brush sloppy, because I use them like the radio - I wanna put something on while I'm doing dishes or whatever - and I don't want to get bored with em so a playlist of hundreds and hundreds of things that sorta fit the theme/vibe is more useful than something more carefully curated in terms of either adherence to theme or actual quality of music.

﴿→ ☺ (Doctor Casino), Thursday, 6 July 2017 15:03 (one year ago) Permalink

I dunno if thread is tongue in cheekily named from the important videos playlist but that's a fun example of a playlist that went viral because of algorithms:
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7XlqX4npddfrdpMCxBnNZXg2GFll7t5y

http://www.bbc.com/news/av/magazine-38408595/who-chooses-youtube-s-important-videos
^^for context

Every format era seems to have its "compilation that changes the way we think a little" whether its the Robert Johnson and Harry Smith comps in the vinyl era, or the Nuggets/Star Time/Back to Mono boxes in the CD era; then the CD-R comps like Chains and Black Exhaust or Messthetics and the various blogger-run MP3 things like Musicophilia 1981 set or the Oh Word 50 or Vladislav Delay's all-verse Nicki Minaj Soundcloud

I think those compilations changed the thinking of around 0.01 % of listeners whereas listening through playlists is probably the most common mode of listening atm, so there's some niche/mainstream misunderstanding in applying the aesthetic criteria of one to the other

I'm also not sure why we'd be chasing one monolithic or "important" playlist, none of the ilx playlists are v dominant but all the same we've had entire threads devoted to discussing their justification (no need to go there again)

niels, Friday, 7 July 2017 10:27 (one year ago) Permalink

Playlists in Spotify are not set on stone is the problem. You can archive its contents in text form for future reference but maybe in a year there's songs that went missing, were deleted or were added to the playlist. Unless there was a compromise from the artist to not modify it, like Caribou's The Longest Mixtape comprised of 1000 songs.

dance cum rituals (Moka), Friday, 7 July 2017 14:39 (one year ago) Permalink

Youtube or Spotify can lose some of the songs but the original list is easy to find in text form.

dance cum rituals (Moka), Friday, 7 July 2017 14:40 (one year ago) Permalink

i do wonder what the first playlist to be seen as artistically significant (rather than just important from a commercial/promotional standpoint) will be. i guess the way drake's more life was presented was semi-interesting but there isn't really anything particularly new about how it was released.

i think it would be legitimately a bit boundary-pushing if an artist chose to release a project as a playlist that actually had a rotating or expanding selection of tracks over the course of its promo cycle (and not just like, 'oh here's a few random tracks that i'll tack on as bonus tracks at one time several months later' which i think future did recently). there is def potential there since for many artists the 'album cycle' is already becoming a fairly obsolete method of promoting your work -- releasing a handful of tracks at a time (w/ maybe one or two having significant hit potential) could possibly be a much better strategy for such artists.

spotify is now using its 'rap caviar' brand for a concert series it's putting on: https://news.spotify.com/us/2017/06/27/spotify-kicks-off-inaugural-rapcaviar-live-concert-series-with-gucci-mane-in-atlanta/

obviously rap caviar and today's top hits are super influential rotating lists from a commercial standpoint. if i cared enough about this sort of thing i would be archiving which tracks have been on them over different points in time.

dyl, Friday, 7 July 2017 16:20 (one year ago) Permalink

rap caviar such an annoying name

niels, Friday, 7 July 2017 16:24 (one year ago) Permalink

some of those phenomena began in the itunes era (and a few even during the retail-singles era) but yeah spotify seems to be making it all so much worse

dyl, Friday, 7 July 2017 20:19 (one year ago) Permalink

I'm sure there's good points in that article but the tone makes it a poor read

niels, Friday, 7 July 2017 20:49 (one year ago) Permalink

compilations are pretty ephemeral too (as you know if you've ever tried to track one down)

― sick, fucking funny, and well tasty (katherine)

sure, but if i decide i want to pick up a copy of "the great twenty-eight" i'm not one day going to find that, say, "nadine" isn't there anymore due to rights issues. "Importance" requires a static text.

The Saga of Rodney Stooksbury (rushomancy), Saturday, 8 July 2017 01:54 (one year ago) Permalink

Footnote: I love that Spotify allows artists to share playlists. I've found some great songs through their pages. Lately been loving what Four Tet, Motor City Drum Ensemble and HNNY have shared in there.

There should be a separate thread for awesome playlists shared by artists in their spotify profiles.

dance cum rituals (Moka), Saturday, 8 July 2017 03:02 (one year ago) Permalink

When you're an obsessive fan you always want to hear the songs and sounds they're hearing as inspiration for certain albums. One of my favorite spotify feats.

dance cum rituals (Moka), Saturday, 8 July 2017 03:03 (one year ago) Permalink

Of course it's not true!

But, I do think that Vulture article brought up a weird coincidence in the cases where an "artist" only has two or three songs on Spotify and they're all on highly rotated playlists. How did they get there?

he doesn't need to be racist about it though. (Austin), Saturday, 8 July 2017 17:19 (one year ago) Permalink

eight months pass...

I need to give a closer read, but this is maybe better than that vulture piece?
https://www.dailydot.com/upstream/spotify-playlist-black-market/

rob, Monday, 12 March 2018 22:56 (nine months ago) Permalink

Pay to play, payola 2028 style

curmudgeon, Wednesday, 14 March 2018 04:15 (eight months ago) Permalink

I'm in a funny position right now in that a tune from an old band has been added to a Spotify curated playlist, we didn't even know about it at first until some money started coming our way but we're like the seventh track in and it's had 1.4 million plays so far.

I don't know how long we will be on there for and nobody is getting rich but it's kinda mad how I'm having to start logging Spotify payments on my tax. Thankfully we own the recording and the publishing is locked so it's easy to track.

It's on a 'sleep' themed list and I guess those may be the best ones because people will hopefully nod off and even track 99 stands a decent chance of getting played through, even if it's not heard.

MaresNest, Wednesday, 14 March 2018 21:37 (eight months ago) Permalink

Band/track name?

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Wednesday, 14 March 2018 21:40 (eight months ago) Permalink

Rothko -Suddenly Becomes Light

MaresNest, Wednesday, 14 March 2018 21:47 (eight months ago) Permalink

in the future every spotify playlist will have a song vanish due to rights issues within fifteen minutes

ziggy the ginhead (rushomancy), Wednesday, 14 March 2018 23:44 (eight months ago) Permalink

also, i'm shocked and appalled to learn that certain Internet sites are afflicted with "bot accounts" which can be used for nefarious purposes. Spotify needs to get control of this or it could possibly lead to some real harm at some point.

ziggy the ginhead (rushomancy), Wednesday, 14 March 2018 23:49 (eight months ago) Permalink

gave you another play maresnest, bagsy a ride in your bentley sometime!

i do like rothko though, had no idea you were in them

i'm surprised to see your screwface at the door (NickB), Wednesday, 14 March 2018 23:57 (eight months ago) Permalink

Haha, well it was a long time ago, in fact this year is the 20th anniversary, odd that a modest little tune that was only released on a compilation and recorded live to tape in about 10 mins, before the band had even really formed, should suddenly be working so hard.

MaresNest, Thursday, 15 March 2018 10:56 (eight months ago) Permalink

Huh yeah this is pretty cool! Loved Rothko back in the day, only now finding out the band started releasing again in 2015. Still play the old ones every now and again. The one with Susumu Yokota is a fave too.

Your commercial succes in the digital age is wholly deserved imo :)

Google Atheist (Le Bateau Ivre), Thursday, 15 March 2018 13:33 (eight months ago) Permalink

It's a great atmospheric track, MN! What did you play on it, were you in the band for long?

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Thursday, 15 March 2018 13:45 (eight months ago) Permalink

high chance that he played the bass tbh

i'm surprised to see your screwface at the door (NickB), Thursday, 15 March 2018 15:10 (eight months ago) Permalink

Ha, right!

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Thursday, 15 March 2018 15:22 (eight months ago) Permalink

congrats on your 40 cents MaresNest :)

frogbs, Thursday, 15 March 2018 15:26 (eight months ago) Permalink

Oh, you're all very kind :)

To quickly answer, on that track, I sampled Mark's lovely Yamaha fretless bass, pitched it down and made some different loops to fade in and Mark - who is the main guy behind Rothko and still is - just played, very beautifully, off the top of his head for a bit and we recorded/mixed it straight to a DAT, I worked full time in a recording studio so we were allowed to use it out of hours, a lot of Rothko tracks were done there.

So I"m not on the bass for this one Gerald, it was our second ever session. Before we had played a gig or got Jon, our third member, involved in the band.

Jon, Mark and I were the original triple bass only line up, from about 1997 to 2000 iirc, then we amicably split and Mark carried on - as he still does to this day - with various other folks, he and I made a couple of records together a few years ago as well.

MaresNest, Thursday, 15 March 2018 16:27 (eight months ago) Permalink

I bloody love those first few Rothko records. I shall listen lots and pour money into your coffers.

The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums (Chinaski), Thursday, 15 March 2018 17:35 (eight months ago) Permalink


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