I can remember spending hours, back in olden times, trying to do a half decent job of recording my favourite songs off vinyl onto a cassette tape. Of course success varied greatly. Whether it was for my own music consumption or for a friend, it was an important piece of my musical journey. Which begs the question, are playlists the millennial version of this?
The premise of compiling a special collection of songs on a tape or CD and sharing with a friend or love interest hasn’t gone away in the digital age. Today, it’s playlisting—an increasingly important part of the music experience.
Nearly three-quarters of those who stream music in the U.S. create online playlists—some are for themselves, and some they share with others. More than half of all music listeners create playlists by selecting tracks across genres and artists, and 32% share their lists with others, up from 24% in 2016.
Playlisting is part of the personalization trend found in Nielsen’s 2017 U.S. Music 360 Report. Listening to music is a more individual experience than ever before through playlist curation, choice of music devices and deciding what to share across social media channels.
While receiving a playlist curated by someone else may seem like a heartfelt gift, most listeners say they prefer the lists they create themselves over the ones their friends and family share with them, as well as those publicly available. The ability to create a playlist is among the factors music listeners cite in driving their decision on which music streaming service to use.