Crowdsourced Playlists

With the advent of music services like Spotify and Pandora, people are no longer downloading music.  Instead, they have the full catalog of any song they can think of at their fingertips.  The problem is, they have to think of it.  I don’t know about you, but putting together playlists is daunting.  I grew up with oldies music thanks to my parents, but having to put together a playlist to replicate that station makes me age just thinking of it.  

Right now I can follow other people’s playlist, but that comes with downsides as well.  It might start off well, but then take a left somewhere along the way.  Instead of having creators and followers, there should be an admin and contributors.  An admin starts a playlist, and seeds it with a couple songs.  Contributors will follow the playlist and add songs that they think would be in the same vain.  However–to avoid the playlist running amok, all contributors would have to vote up or down on songs added to the playlist.  Admins would have control of kicking contributors off if need be.

Songs that contributors would want to add but Spotify–or another streaming app–does not have the rights to, would be put in a queue.  This can be tracked by the company to get an idea of where demand lies and how much of it there is.

As more contributors follow a playlist, the opportunity for discovery grows as well.  Someone out there has heard of some doo-wop band that was crazy cool, just never made the charts.  They can add that to my playlist, and voila!  I just discovered my new favorite band fifty years after the fact.  Or even better, you think your friend’s garage band would go perfectly with this psudo 80’s, low-budget, electronic pop playlist you found?  Add them on!  Next thing you know they’ll be the new indie sensation!  (You should ask for ten percent by way, because, you totally helped discover them.)

So how is this new to how Pandora works currently?  Their algorithm seems to peter out after about two hours of listening.  Because I listen to music for extended periods of time during the day, it was easy to play through my Pandora playlists even though they are designed to not run out of music.  Then when I played them again a few days later, it would be the same songs.  I suppose another way crowd sources playlists could avoid this is by adding entire albums to a playlist, instead of only one or two songs.

As of right now, radio can’t be beat as far as continuous, new, music for me.  And no, I do not mean commercial radio. *shudders* Look up your local college or non-profit, volunteer run radio stations.  They stream online if you live in the middle of nowhere.  (KALX Berkeley, KUTX Austin, and KXLU Los Angeles are some of my faves.) If human powered music is currently the only way to get completely new music all the time, we’re going to have to help the machines out for a while.

1 month ago

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