My Music Workflow
Finding good music isn’t so hard these days. It’s easy to open Spotify (or whatever) and take in the suggestions. Check out generated playlists, songs sorted by genre, and even good ol’ music blogs.
Making your own playlists is easy too, but sometimes it’s difficult to figure out what makes the cut. Deciding that a song “favorite” good or just “dinner party” good is never easy on the spot.
Well, I’ve got a system for generating a good playlist. It will generate a playlist that represents your unique musical style and yet is impossible to categorize. Best of all, it’s set up so you don’t have to make a hard decision the first time you hear the song.
Step 1 - Recommendations
Every week, listen to Spotify’s Discover Weekly and Release Radar. Don’t use Spotify? That’s fine. Seek out some music you’ve never heard before. Most (all?) music services have recommendations. Ideally you can find a playlist with songs from diverse sources.
Any song that captures your interest in any way, throw it into a playlist called Weekly Maybe. You may even decide halfway through the song it will not be for you long-term. That’s fine. Throw it in anyway.
Step 2 - Curate
At the end of the week I have about 5-10 songs in Weekly Maybe. Take those songs and pick which ones you want to keep from that list.
This part is admittedly a little tough. Again, what makes the cut? You’re looking for songs you wouldn’t mind hearing again, randomly, in most situations. You’ve already had some distance from your first listen, which is helpful. How does it strike you on listen 2? 3? 10?
Step 3 - Save
If you’re still enjoying after a few listens, you keep it. Chuck it in a playlist called Starred or Favorites or Heck Yes. I usually end up with 2-3 per week, but sometimes nothing makes the cut. It’s not always a great week for the algorithms, you know? This is the good stuff. If someone ever asks you “What kind of music do you like?” you point them here.
But what about the other Weekly Maybe songs? They were still interesting, but maybe not every-day songs. You put all those in different playlist. I call mine Dark Starred but Rainy Day or Yes These Are Songs is also fine.
This gives you a nice list to go to when your songs on heavy rotation are feeling stale. They will interest but not amaze. This is sometimes exactly what you need to kick off another deep dive to find that next good song.
If your music service has a way to songs you like, you can select everything in that best-of playlist. It will then feed back into their recommendation algorithms and you’ll get more interesting music!