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Letting everyone control my music

Posted on February 26th, 2009 by Neil Crosby. Filed under Blog Posts.

Today, I tried an experiment. This morning, I’d been reading Paul Lamere‘s blog entry about Collaborative Playlists in which he mentioned that it was possible to create them in Spotify.

Well, colour me surprised.

I’ve been using Spotify for a little while now, but only ever to listen to particular songs that I wanted to hear whilst away from my full media library or to listen to artist radio. I’d never been enticed by playlists in Spotify in general, mainly because I only ever used it for little bits and pieces here and there. Finding out that I could use it to get people to suggest music to me was a revelation.

So, I tried a little experiment. This morning I tweeted a link to my collaborative playlist, asking people to add to it. My aim was to press play at that point and just keep listening to the playlist all day, with no self intervention. I trusted people to add music that they thought was good, with a little bit of adding amusingly bad songs for the hell of it. Sure enough, Aqua made it in there with “Barbie Girl”, as did Celine Dion with “My Heart Will Go On”. But, I listened to them all. Well, all of them except for Enya, but you have to draw the line somewhere, don’t you?

During the course of the day I listened to many artists I’d forgotten about, as well as plenty I didn’t know at all. One of the nice things that came out of this experiment was finding a load of new songs that I liked, and thanks to George Brocklehurst’s Lastify add-on for Spotify I was able to easily mark them as “loved” on so that I could come back and listen to them again later.

By the time I finished working I’d only managed to make it halfway down the playlist that had been created. So, tomorrow I’ll be carrying on where I left of and listening to some more new to me music.

There are a couple of things that I wish were possible with Spotify’s Collaborative Playlists though. First off, I wish I could see who it was who added certain songs, so I could gently mock them for their choices. Following on from that it would be nice if you could lock down a playlist so that only certain users could add to it, or block certain user entirely. Not that I had any problems today, but it’s still a worry that someone might go crazy and just add fifteen hours of Rick Astley to a playlist.

Why not give it a go yourself? Just create a playlist in Spotify, right click on its name and set it as collaborative, and then give people the URL. You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised by what you get added.

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