AlexKzillion
fuck you i resignate
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Spotify Study Playlists: some incoherent thoughts

List is recent digs
1Miles Davis
Sketches of Spain


So, I've noticed lately a lot of my friends listening to these Spotify curated "study playlists" (assumingly while they're lifting?). I decided to check them out and I've kinda fallen down a rabbit hole.
2John Coltrane
The Olatunji Concert: The Last Live Recording


The main one I've been studying to is "Instrumental Study". It's essentially a conglomeration of short ambient piano pieces. It is very soft on the ears, and you can't tell when one song ends and another starts unless you're staring at your screen (which is probably the point).
3A Day to Remember
What Separates Me from You


These playlists are made up of hundreds of songs by hundreds of different artists... yet they are literally indistinguishable from one another. I'm no expert on musical theory, but all these songs seem to be in the exact same key. And played on the exact same piano plugin. I've even clicked around songs every five seconds trying to see if I could spot any noticeable differences and I really couldn't.
4Machine Gun Kelly
Tickets to My Downfall


In fact, when you click on these artist's pages, they only have like three songs under their name. One song (the one that made the playlist) will have hundreds of thousands, if not millions of plays. The others will have < 1000.
5Kodak Black
Project Baby 2


Sometimes you'll stumble upon an artist who has loads upon loads of material. I'm talking like 15+ albums worth of material released in 2021 alone already. The sole intent seems to be getting a track or two aggregated into one of these playlists.
6Foo Fighters
The Colour and the Shape


Who are these artists? Not one of them has a person that can be presumed to be "the artist" in any of their banners or profile pictures. I've even googled quite a few of the artists' names... literally nothing comes up but their spotify pages with very few exceptions... like not even an apple music page or social media or anything. These artists exist on spotify and spotify only.
7Sophie
Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides


So what is the deal here? Are these artists actually real? Is it just a couple in-house Spotify musicians pumping this music out under hundreds of different pseudonyms so that Spotify doesn't actually have to pay anyone when they're streamed by hundreds of thousands of people? Is this shit even made by a human at all? How does Spotify even discover these artists and deem them worthy of their playlists if one of the latter points isn't the case?
8Viktor Vaughn
Vaudeville Villain


These playlists are also entirely refreshed every week or so. The entire thing is so identity-less that it wouldn't surprise me if they just recycled the same exact stuff over and over again in different orders/under different pseudonyms.
9Avenged Sevenfold
Nightmare


For those of you who may listen to these playlists: how does it make you feel, knowing that it's all bullshit? (I'm sure anyone who listens to these is at least vaguely aware of this phenomenon). Like, I feel this community (and others like it) care about supporting the artist as much as anyone. But these playlists are like listen to the corporate machine.
10Protest the Hero
Scurrilous


Makes me sort of worried about where music as a whole might be going. Not only does Spotify do this kind of stuff, but they've also been going all in on podcasting as well. Why? Spotify makes their money off of ads and subscriptions. Spotify loses money every time you stream a song by an actual artist, and while 99.99% of users don't stream enough music to make Spotify pay out their $9.99 subscriptions in full to artists on their behalf, it is still a rather large chunk of revenue they have to pay out every month. Getting you to listen to podcasts, or their totally not in-house and very very real curated playlists of REAL ambient/electronic/lo-fi artists reduces that payout. The less time you spend listening to people they actually have to pay, the more money they save.
11Bomb the Music Industry!
Vacation


Whose to say Spotify can't sign/build up their own country musicians, pop artists, rappers etc. like any regular label would, insert them into their playlists and generate millions of plays, just like they do with all their ambient study music? As technology gets more and more advanced, whose to say Spotify won't be able to throw a bunch of Coltrane albums into a computer and spit out endless amounts of their own Coltrane-style Jazz, and make playlists out of that? Or any other form of instrumental music? People obviously don't care that these study playlists are fake. They average hundreds of thousands of monthly listeners. Spotify are the tastemakers for the large majority of their users. How far can they push this?
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