Musical Foray

So I was thinking about doing something new, hopefully something I could stick with. In the past I’ve enjoyed throwing out the odd idea; unfortunately they were few and far between. So keeping a structure to stick with it was hard.

I do something in my everyday life that I already (kind of) curate and write up, so transitioning it to this space seems easy, reasonable, and maybe a not totally un-fun.

I’ve never really liked the Top 40 all that much and I don’t regularly (or at all) listen to the radio or sources of popular music. As such I’ve looked to different ways of finding new music for listening. I regularly exchange music recommendations with a few friends and co-workers. I’ve always much preferred the search process experienced when using the discovery-based music projects. Starting with Pandora back in 2006, when I started on that service, or the numerous alternatives that have waded into the space. In college I started using Google Music as a storage mechanism for my larger-than-normal mp3 library. Eventually they added the Google Play pass where you can pay to have access to their entire music catalog. I’ve been using that for a few years with no real direction. My lackadaisical listening habits were changed recently when I was turned onto a music curation method by a friend.

Essentially I just go through the normal means of music exploration and listening. Using Pandora, Google Radio, keeping an eye out for samples/uses in TV or Movies, and of course talking with friends. Each month I create a playlist for that month. So currently I have a March 2015 playlist in my Google Music. Any song that comes through my headphones that I really enjoy, I add it to the playlist. Eventually by the end of each month I have about 35-50 songs that are tied to that space and time. It’s an interesting system, and it’s led to some really good listening. It allows me to listen to songs I vibe with, over and over, but then quickly move on before burning them out. In the past I would fixate or attach to a song, play it repeatedly for months, and then lose all interest in hearing it ever again. This method strikes a nice balance, it also allows for more directed exploration. If I find a song I like, and add it; then I will put that through Pandora and Google Radio to see what musical counterparts get spit out.

As I the year goes on, I start a secondary, passive playlist. This is a ‘mega’ or ‘recap’ playlist that acts as a big bucket for the year. So at the end of each month I close out that month’s playlist, add it to the Mega playlist for the year, then move on to the next month, with no carry over. The songs of March will stay there, un-listened, and new songs will begin for April. Fresh new music always, with just enough repeat to fall in love with stuff. And at the end of the year I have an actual account of what I liked and can listen again if I want to. Music and sound have strong ties to memory and even though I’ve been doing this for just about a year now. I can draw connections to many memories with just the one mega playlist I have from 2014. It’s a bit more specific than Spotify’s year in review feature. I am satisfied with that completeness.

So guess this is a heads up of sorts. I intend to post the playlist for the month at the end of each month. With a short description (1-2 sentences) as to why the song was added, what I liked about it, or where it came from. I’m unsure the best way to share the actual music itself. I know that my playlist on Google can be listened to by anyone (who has a google music access pass). I’m not currently on Spotify which I know is the preferred platform for most. I could also do a few minutes of work and build a Youtube playlist with the songs, that is hardly ideal because of the rampant ads on Youtube. I’ll think on this. The first post (March), will probably come with a few of these options to see what the best is.

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