Playlists – Art and Science

Pitchfork plumbed the depths of playlists, providing a fascinating insight on music marketing and analytics. Record labels are eager to hire those who have established track records of peer-to-peer playlist popularity. “I can see a time coming when the playlist creator becomes just as important an element in the process as the artists being featured,” Spotify user and playlist maker Jonathan Good told writer Marc Hogan.

There’s a playlist for every taste — “Songs to Sing in the Shower” and “Country Songs About Fishin’” among them — and while some playlisters operate on instinct alone, others mine data: Pandora purchased Next Big Sound, Apple acquired Semetric, and Spotify picked up The Echo Nest.

Reach the entire Pitchfork piece here if you want a great overview of what’s going on. Wired explores the science of bad playlists. For a deep-dive into music analytics, check out Daniella Capodilupo’s excellent 2015 thesis for her MS at Florida Atlantic University: Big Data Analytics: The Future of Music Marketing.

Illustration by Tavis Coburn

Illustration by Tavis Coburn for Wired

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