In an age when a staggering amount of current music is the new norm, the thought of keeping up can be daunting. Lucky for us, the changing times come along with pretty phenomenal tools to face the challenges that come with tracking the trends of exponential music growth.
Spotify is an essential among those tools, making it easy to access tons of music while creating the ability for keep a narrow focus with playlists. As an added benefit to its popularity, some biggest players in music—media outlets, artists, and music orgs alike—have created playlists of their own to help the little guys like us! I mean, come on, who doesn’t want to impress their friends with the freshest insight into what’s trending in the world of music?
As a musician, I want to stay ahead of the game. I want to know what’s breaking and catching the ears of the masses before anyone realizes it. Full Disclosure: I have big aspirations to become a world-class music curator! And chances are, so do you. So without any further delay, here are 6 playlist that you need to follow (and create) to get on the right track to music-savvy status.
1. Follow the Billboard Hot 100.
Billboard is a staple when it comes to determining what current hits have everyone’s attention, based on radio airplay, sales data, and streaming activity… so you know it’s good.
2. Follow the official playlist for New Releases on Spotify.
As soon as singles and albums become available in the ecosystem, you’ll know here. You can even enable notifications to stay on top of it.
3. Follow the Best New Tracks playlist from Pitchfork (or your favorite music blog alternative).
If you wanna be great, you gotta keep your eye on the greats! Pitchfork does a terrific job of scanning for up and coming winners. To find out what’s good but may be flying below the radar, keep an eye on this one. Or you can find out if your favorite music blogger has one of their own. I also recommend The Hype Machine, Earmilk, Gorilla vs. Bear, and Ad Hoc.
3. Create an Up Next playlist.
Any time you find something worth listening to from a friend, a magazine, or any of the above sources, stick the tunes here! This is meant to be a catch-all of things you’d like to get around to checking out. Don’t limit yourself to how much you put in here. Just constantly adhere to these two suggestions: 1) Fill It Up with new stuff & 2) Clean It Out once you listen.
4. Create a Now Listening playlist. (Here’s mine.)
This playlist should house the albums and singles in your rotation right now, sort of like the answer to an old-school question, “What’s in your CD changer?” (Remember those?) I like to keep up with this in 3 steps:
a) Limit the list to 5-6 albums at a time as well as any singles I want to hear.
b) Store the playlist offline for foolproof access when I can’t stream over an internet connection.
c) Change it out every 1-2 of weeks, filling it with goods from my Up Next playlist or anything else I want to chew on.
d) Star any tracks that I love along the way.
5. Create a Stuff I Like playlist.
No one wants to hear new music all the time. Keep a playlist with songs that you’re guaranteed to connect with. If you want star your tracks as you go (see 4d above), it’s easy to place them all in here. No limits; just good music. When the need arises to rekindle those old flames, just put this bad boy on shuffle!
Easy and effective, just the way I like it. Let everyone know how you like it! How do you manage to keep up with the flood of music?