Fear of Music

I bought a premium subscription to Spotify several months ago.  It’s really starting to grow on me.

The main purpose was to have some peace at the bakery.  My Dylan-heavy playlist was getting on the nerves of the other bakers, but I wasn’t willing to listen to their house music or kiddie pop.  The Spotify subscriptions has a wide enough selection of music that there was something for everyone, even (god forbid) customers.

It’s really cool to be able to think of pretty much any music artist and be able to find their music in one place.  We can get a reggae playlist in seconds.  Same with soul music (you want classic or contemporary R&B?)  New music, old music, rock, country, folk or classical, it’s all there.

Sure there are a few things missing.  The Van Morrison collection is very, very slim, and I can’t find a good version of David Bromberg’s “Testify.”  And the Spotify curated playlists can be woeful (“Your Favourite Coffeehouse” is so mellow I’d need to order 3 extra shots of espresso.)  But Discovery Playlists make up for all of that.

The Discovery Playlist is a playlist selected just for you.  It’s around two hours long (30 songs or so) and is  based on the music that you pick regularly.  The twist is that the algorithm picks similar music, both old and new.

A new playlist shows up every Monday and exists for only one week.  So I have a week to listen to the whole thing and flag the artists and songs I want to hear more from.

It’s a neat trick.  I’m reminded of older artists or albums that I haven’t heard in ages, but the playlist also highlights new artists that I want to check out further.

I’ve been paying attention to my Discovery playlist for several weeks now.  If there’s a song I like, I add it to a special playlist so I won’t forget it (my Discovery playlist refreshes after a week and I can’t get it back any other way.  That “Master List of Discoveries” now has over 300 songs and I’ll likely add 20 more next week.

The only problem, and the one that inspired the title of this post, is what the algorithm says about my current musical tastes.  It’s trending towards 60’s and 70’s folk rock and American roots music.  I love it, but my tastes are actually more diverse than that.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to experiment with listening to specific styles to see if they will show up on my Discovery playlist.  Will listening to AC/DC for a week get more hard rock on the playlist?  What about a week of Orchestra Baobab?

I’ll keep you posted.  🙂