Spotify’s most popular songs of the year are an amalgamation of abhorrent radio fodder and YouTube’s one-hit wonders: Train, Gotye, Carly Rae Jepsen, and not one but two Flo Rida tracks.
That’s a heartbreaking reality for a year that flooded our collective inboxes with an endless stream of brilliant new music. The problem is that competent curators are few and far between. Traditional tastemakers have focused on creating apps that incorporate Spotify into their output, not the other way around–where the focus is on creating custom experiences on and for Spotify. (That will likely change with Spotify’s addition of new social features on Thursday.)
The year in music deserves a sprawling playlist across genre lines, not a mere best-of list or compressed mashup—a block of music that prioritizes the listener and music discovery.
Since late 2008, I’ve been on a Facebook thread with the most indignant music fans I’ve ever met, a gated community of fantasy football talk and pop culture critiques. It’s a libelous red carpet of veiled threats and genre experts whose interests include hip-hop, general indie rock, metal, alt-country, folk, and every bastard subgenre of electronic music. These people work: edit magazines, study digital copyright laws, hold down music columns for alternative weeklies, sneak their bylines into leading outlets, work the PR back end at labels in New York City, tour manage, and chime in with real talk. It’s the only reason most of us are on Facebook.
This week we tackled an ambitious playlist project that was fleshed out in 300 messages over the last 48 hours. We debated the pros and cons of allowing The Weeknd a bid on our mix because his work came of age last year and his Trilogy is technically a major label reissue. (I successfully lobbied for “Valerie,” one of dude’s few standalone new numbers included on the 3-CD set.)
Unfortunately, an overwhelming supply of the year’s best hip-hop stems from mixtapes, and even the highly touted ones like Action Bronson’s Blue Chips aren’t floating around Spotify’s vast digital chambers (a segregation problem in music for another day). But with so much good stuff on Spotify today, our collective focus birthed a behemoth playlist that spans 24 hours, 360 songs, and includes no more than three tracks from any given artist. (I’m sure there’s some production overlap but whatever.)
You’ll skim tons for sure, but the thing works as a morning to the morning stream. It even comes around full circle with the first and last song from Father John Misty’s Fear Fun—one of those brilliant and gorgeously arranged albums that has yet to receive much year-end shine. Regrettably, metal makes but a cameo appearance and that’s 100% because our token metal guy ignored our pleas for selections, because “Spotify is for hipsters.”
Photo via @FatherJohnMisty/Twitter