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What’s next for playlists? Perhaps more context for the music


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Former BPI and Spotify research exec Keith Jopling is now working with Midia Research among other music companies, thinking about big-picture strategy. His latest blog post, published for Midia, explores what the next evolution might be for music-streaming playlists.

“There is plenty of scope for further creative development of the format. We are far from ‘peak playlist’,” wrote Jopling.

“A glance at the latest MIDiA global consumer data for Q4 2018 would back this up, with just 17% of music streamers claiming to listen to playlists regularly. though that number nearly doubles for Spotify subscribers to 31%. Critical mass for Spotify but hardly mass behaviour for the market overall.”

So what next? Jopling points to Spotify’s nascent exploration of ‘algotorial’, where human-curated playlists are combined with algorithmic personalisation. But he also thinks more context may be key. “Why can’t we have sleeve notes for playlists about how they were put together (let alone by whom and why?). It looks to me like there is an opportunity to bring some context and personality back into playlisting,” he wrote. “Mixtapes from the cassette age were lovingly compiled, often with handwritten notes and homemade cover art… My hope is that with the artwork, sleeve notes and more original themes for the playlists, will make fans and listeners listen to playlists more like they used to with albums – paying more attention and hopefully connecting with the song collection on a deeper level.”

Stuart Dredge

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