Came across a tweet from Spotify recommending a playlist that features “most of the NME’s albums of the decade”. And suddenly realised that shareable playlists, created by expert curators, are what make Spotify if not the platform of the future, then at least a good blueprint for it.
For the most part, you control your own content. Great if you want to listen to something random – like, say, Siamese Dream. Great if you want to explore and do all those things that new media consumers are supposed to want to do.
But the thing I don’t like about content-on-demand, as a consumer, is the solitariness of it. I sit there on my headphones listening to early-90s grunge while next to me a good friend listens to something I’ve never heard of. And we don’t discuss it.
That’s why I love the idea of shared playlists so much. It gives listening to music back its sense of community. I can perfectly imagine having a conversation about great playlists with my mates down the pub, in much the same way I currently have conversations about what was on Jools Holland. It’ll help break new acts, and help keep music from totally atomising, aside from highly localised scenes based around a few venues.
Made me wonder whether this kind of approach could apply to other kinds of content, too. Movies might be a bit long to share in this way. But what about youtube clips? What if the comedy format of the future is a playlist of amazing 20″ clips that does the rounds? Like a longer-form version of a viral? You could talk about it in the same way that people quote one-liners from Will Ferrel movies at each other, and it would be a great combination of user-controlled but curated.
I don’t know about you but I could do with some curation now and then.