How can playlists on streaming services be innovated?

I continue to be fascinated by the way new music delivery systems–in this case, streaming–are affecting the ways people consume music.

As the CD dies, the concept of the album is increasingly passe. More and more people are turning to playlists, collections of carefully curated tracks from a multitude of artists. Musicians and producers are more concerned about placing songs on the right playlists in hopes that this is the way to fame.

Which brings me to this article from Midia Research:

“There has certainly been an industry skew towards ‘streaming hits’ though. More artists are making “Spotify-core” (i.e. music that will do anything to avoid being skipped) and that’s a genre perhaps lacking in subtlety, But can it be accused of crowding out other, subtler types of music?

“I would argue that playlists have changed the way we listen more than they have changed music itself. If the first port-of-call for music consumers is to hear songs on playlists, a lot of context around the music is lost. Already, research has shown that listeners are hard pushed to recall song titles, let alone the albums those songs are taken from. Speaking of albums, it strikes me as high time the industry now evaluate just what a ‘post-album’ world will look and sound like. So perhaps somewhere to start is to think about more innovation with the format that in essence, has replaced the album – playlists.”

If you’re wondering where music consumption is headed in at least the near term, you need to keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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