"This is:" Playlists

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"This is:" Playlists

joshnsolomon
Newbie

So I spend a lot of time in Spotify listening "This is" playlists. For those who don't know, often times when you go to the search bar, once you type in the artist's name a playlist will show up called This is Justin Bieber. 

 

I have been listening to a lot of these playlists, specifically for jazz musicians, and I have a lot of issues with the way that they are set up. The playlists are marketed as being "the essential tracks, all in one location." However, the selected tracks are often not the essential ones. For instance, on the "This is Duke Ellington" playlist there is the solo piano version of Take The A Train. Now, any Duke Ellington fan knows that the whole point of his music is that it is to be listened to in a big band setting.

 

I assume that the playlists are created using an algorithm, probably implemented with some sort of machine learning to factor in play frequency. However, when constructing a playlist to function as the introduction to an artist, there is no substituting a real human with a real understanding of the music. Furthermore, the creation of a bad playlist that shows up first in a search would lead to people listing to bad songs, and neglecting the bad songs, even disregarding the artist entirely.  Spotify has an enormous amount of power over what people listen to, and it's important they get it right.  

 

I get that there are tons of these playlists and understand that there is probably not that much human capital available internally. However, you have an enormous listener base and I'm sure there could be some way to utilize them without causing too much chaos. And also hey, I could just make great playlists for you for all the major jazz artists! You wouldn't even have to give me a job. 

 

17 Replies

Re: "This is:" Playlists

krankenstein
Roadie

I agree.

I'm not sure whether they've been computer generated or 'curated' by a person who doesn't know the band. Would be much better if they did a lot more research before they put them together. Why not consult someone who knows their music well as opposed to someone who doesn't know much about the artist/band... 

Re: "This is:" Playlists

housepilgrim
Casual Listener

Totally agree. I would have the bands themselves pick the "best and most recent of" or at the very least prioritise those songs which appear on multiple compliation albums. 

Re: "This is:" Playlists

Funkopedia
Newbie

For each artist they have ,they should contact the user that has the most listens to compile the list.

Re: "This is:" Playlists

krankenstein
Roadie

Rather than choosing just 1 individual, they could get multiple users to vote for their favourites from a particular artist. My favourite songs are not necessarily the ones with the highest playcount as I might be listening to mp3s which won't show in their stats. The most popular songs are not always the best tracks either as I've found B-sides that are absolutely gems.

Re: "This is:" Playlists

swzoo7777
Casual Listener

In the 'This Is' playlist that has been compiled for me there are obviously the popular ones, and the latest ones..but the rest of the playlist seems to concentrate on the softer side of my music..(OK I get it I think, some of it's a bit hectic, maybe it frazzled-up their data checkers!)  Sal Paradise  

https://spoti.fi/2zPSVuy

Re: "This is:" Playlists

pedantique
Newbie

Why are some called "This Is" (withou the colon) and others called "This Is:" (with the colon)?

Re: "This is:" Playlists

Aublob
Music Fan

I think that the "This is:" (with the colon) are curated by a human editor (as opposed to updated algorithmically) I have a "This is" (no colon) playlist and have noticed that it ("This is Kid Indigo by Spotify") updates regularly (presumably based on recent stats) as opposed to a "This is: Animal Collective" playlist that I "liked", which I noticed not only has a custom made album cover but also has a past date for most of the songs on the list.

 

I believe it is kind of more set in stone so to speak, perhaps for more popular artists who are also prolific, to keep some consistency to their "essentials" playlist rather than updating with each new release (that may gain a lot of initial traction but is perhaps not truly "essential", ya dig?) 

 

Anyway, all of this is just gathered assumptions on my end but maybe it will be helpful. For reference I will link the "This is Kid Indigo" playlist. I think it is a particularly interesting example for anyone curious about this feature as my overall follower/play count/ etc are all quite low but perhaps there are more complicated algorithms at play that take into consideration other aspects of an artist and their listener base.

 

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1DZ06evO1YHHkn?si=lSXUxd1hT1ij5lhBKNi-5Q

 

 

 

Re: "This is:" Playlists

krankenstein
Roadie

The problem with humans is that sometimes they haven't done their research properly and/or they have a bias against certain artists or songs. Official playlists by Spotify may have an educational role and if certain obvious hits have been omitted because the curator forgot to include them or they've included a song that definitely doesn't fit with the criteria, I as a user might learn the wrong things. For example, if the original version of a song ends up in a covers playlist because the curator thought it was X who covered Y and not the other way around, users will continue to think that the original song is a cover since they assume it wouldn't be in a playlist that's dedicated to covers if it wasn't one. Or if I'm trying to learn about goth from the 80s and the 'professional' curator has included the wrong kind of songs that don't represent that genre, I as a user might learn the wrong things and get the wrong impression. 

Re: "This is:" Playlists

Aublob
Music Fan

Totally, there are so many issues with algorithmic selections but there is the benefit of providing lesser known artists with at least some form of an "essentials" playlist, though it may stray from ideal. 

 

If you hate this is playlists I encourage you to make your own, if the artist name is in the title it is especially likely it will appear in a search for playlists containing that artist, alongside the official Spotify "this is" playlist and on the off chance that there is another listener craving that human touch it might really make them happy to stumble upon your list!

 

Re: "This is:" Playlists

Aublob
Music Fan

Also very true about human error, I believe that is actually the main reason why I was given a "This is Kid Indigo" playlist to begin with, as I have had an issue recently with someone else trying to use my artist name.

 

My dad got quite sick and during the time around his death there was a lapse in my releases and I didn't think much of it as I am fairly underground and I assumed my relatively small listener base wouldn't be too angry with me, as my music was still available via bandcamp etc. When I returned my discography to Spotify I was a little horrified to see that someone had been operating under my artist name (even using similar imagery and confusing references) and had accumulated quite a bit of internet traction (arguably with a strong initial boost from MY OWN little indie career) it really **bleep** me off so deeply but my faith in computers was slightly restored when I realized that despite all odds something in the algorithms is compensating for the confusion.

 

 

Re: "This is:" Playlists

Aublob
Music Fan

(**bleep** how cute I got bleeped.)

Re: "This is:" Playlists

Aublob
Music Fan

haha oops you really can't say anything around here can ya?! I'm sorry for saying the bleep worthy stuff I didn't even realize haha

Re: "This is:" Playlists

Aublob
Music Fan

it is crazy though because I think I am blacklisted from the "daily mix" literally every single friend/fan I've talked to about it says no matter what every other artist they play seems to show up in some form in their daily mix and my songs won't no matter what. 

Re: "This is:" Playlists

Notbobby
Casual Listener

have also noticed this happening..

Re: "This is:" Playlists

AgingTeenIdol
Visitor

I just want to know how they are created. I also want to know what the requirements are to have one made.

Re: "This is:" Playlists

kaxigram
Visitor
I want to know how Spotify makes the "this is.." playlist cause I don't think there is a specific number of listeners or streams you need to get one.

Re: "This is:" Playlists

jennypallister
Music Fan
Yeah I think they just put together some of the popular songs from that artist and call it good.
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