Spotify playlist sharing as a potential feature of Mefi Music August 11, 2015 8:33 AM   Subscribe

This recent AskMe, the sad demise of This Is My Jam, and some recent music posts on the Blue have got me thinking. How feasible is it to set up some kind of venue for members to share music playlists independent of the Mefi Swap? I'm thinking Spotify playlists in particular, and wondering if there's any scope for adding this as an additional feature to Mefi Music.

Metafilter members tend to have good taste in music, and certain threads on both the Blue and Green lend themselves naturally to playlist creation. I would absolutely love to see some kind of venue where I can easily access other members' playlists and perhaps playlistified versions of certain music threads or questions. Is anyone else moved by this idea? Or would it potentially dilute the existing mission of the Music sub-site?
posted by Sonny Jim to Feature Requests at 8:33 AM (28 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

My immediate reactions are (a) I think the idea is neat in a general sense because, hey, sharing stuff is fun, but (b) it does seem like it's sort of off-the-path from Music as it exists now so I'm not sure if it'd make sense to try and roll it in there.

But more generally, as someone who doesn't really swap or browse playlists much, as a specific site feature at all (above and beyond the current potential cruising of e.g. users' Spotify accounts via the Social Explorer tool) I'm not totally clear on what form this would take or where it would go, really. Is there a specific need here that could only be served by official site support (vs. just being served more slickly/conveniently) that would argue against organizing a sort of ad hoc thing at a user level and seeing what happens there, etc?
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:39 AM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

I and some friends do a sort of monthly mixtape playlist thing, where each month someone makes a Spotify playlist and everybody adds one song to it. I'd love something along those lines.
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:44 AM on August 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

I looked into this when that AskMe came up because I like the idea of sharing playlists with other MeFites and have built some playlists based on AskMes, but after many unsuccessful attempts to unhook my realname/FB-account from Spotify I decided against it. (Note: I never actually chose to connect my Spotify and FB accounts so I don't have a high level of confidence it wouldn't happen again in the future. And, I'm still trying to unhook them so if anyone has any Grandmaster-level tricks to try, lay them on me.)
posted by cocoagirl at 10:29 AM on August 11, 2015

posted by boo_radley at 11:51 AM on August 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

I would like this a lot. I would especially like it if people made Spotify playlists out of some of the threads on AskMe. Then we could listen to the responses without clicking individually on every link, so could listen while we exercise. Or drive.

I don't know how that could work except manually, and agree with cocoagirl's concerns that our real names would be exposed, so maybe it's not feasible, but if there was a way to do it, that would be great.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 12:01 PM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

posted by boo_radley at 12:05 PM on August 11, 2015

two commas and a crown are emoji for "I buttposted to metatalk"
posted by boo_radley at 12:54 PM on August 11, 2015 [12 favorites]

With This Is My Jam ending, some of my friends and I have started up a small private Slack channel to share songs with each other. It's pretty cool, and with Slack's built-in functionality, you get embedded youtube, soundcloud, and bandcamp.

Considering Mr. Mathowie is employed at Slack, maybe it's a possibility for something larger scale, with a few dozen (or more) interested people? Just an idea.
posted by naju at 12:58 PM on August 11, 2015 [4 favorites]

I looked at the Spotify API and it seems feasible (for someone with free time) to make a third party website where users can either go and link to an AskMefi post to generate playlists from. Or there can be a naming standard, like put 'Mefi' in the name it will draw it into the website.
posted by tofu_crouton at 1:47 PM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

what happened to the swap? old-fashioned me would really like to do that again.
posted by andrewcooke at 2:06 PM on August 11, 2015 [4 favorites]

BTW, I joined TiMJ when everyone else here did (because of a MetaTalk post, I think) and it was super-useful and fun for discovering new music and enjoying recommendations from other mefites. Yeah, people here do have good taste in music, and you can cite me as an authority on that hal_c_on. (Incidentally, back then I made a Mefite TiMJ Spotify playlist of the tracks that mefites had jammed in that first 24 hours after the MeTa TiMJ post.)

I'm thinking that an implementation of this suggestion might be a neat way to both meet this community need/desire and moderately raise the profile of MeFi Music.

What I have in mind is a little widget on the right side of the Music page where mefites are able to add a song they like and, using the Spotify Web API under an official MeFi Spotify account, the widget queries for the track and, if it finds it, adds it to the db here and to MeFI's rolling Spotify playlist. "Rolling" because, like TiMJ, it could be something like a "last 30 days" format where the Spotify playlist is maintained to reflect this. So the widget could show on the page maybe a few of the most recently added tracks as well as, of course, a Spotify URI for MeFi's playlist (and each visible track could be linked to a Spotify URI, too). And maybe there could be a separate page with the entire current playlist with user attribution, as well as historical submissions.

Here's a screenshot of a mock-up, lacking the track submission portion. (I actually pulled those tracks from those early mefite TiMJ jams and made sure all the links worked ... even though I only planned to make a screenshot available. Because I'm nuts.)

This way, people could go to the Music page to add a track, to see what people are listening to, and to play the Spotify MeFi playlist or individual mefite submitted tracks. It would be a little side-feature of MeFi Music, not a major feature distracting from the main mission of Music, but as a fun thing alongside it. And because it's there, and because people who have otherwise not been that interested in the Music subsite, then this would direct some traffic to the main Music page where, hopefully, people will also check out the mefite-created music.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:39 PM on August 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

Sorry, that TiMJ playlist I made mostly won't work -- didn't notice that I had built it from local (and retagged) tracks. :(
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:49 PM on August 11, 2015

Metafilter could have an official Cymbal channel?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:02 PM on August 11, 2015

So many of the tracks I have shared are not on Spotify that I just load them to YouTube.
posted by bjgeiger at 7:22 PM on August 11, 2015

Couldn't people just create public playlists with the Word "Mefi" in it and then in the description include a link to the thread or an explanation or whatever? (I have done this)

I suppose there'd have to be convention as to whether we are using "Mefi" or "metafilter" or "pancakes" or "cortexsucks" or whatever.

Anyway, I like simple solutions and I have frequently wished for a way to easily peruse playlists on Spotify generated by Mefi threads.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:44 AM on August 12, 2015

Along the lines of Slarty Bartfast's comment, would having an official Mefi spotify account that follows any user-created playlists culled from Mefi/AskMe threads work? I often miss the spotify playlists once they're posted, so this would allow people to just follow the official Mefi account and check what playlists it's following. It would require a certain amount of maintenance from the mod team though, which I understand may not be feasible.
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 9:51 AM on August 12, 2015 [2 favorites]

I am always appreciative when someone links a playlist they made based on a thread; I know I've done that many times, including when the thread wasn't about music. Playlist sharing and collaborative playlists are some of my favorite Spotify features, so I'm in favor of whatever makes that easier.

Also: Labs has a couple Recent YouTube Links In Comments and Posts. Could there be a recent Spotify links in Posts and/or Comments added to Labs?
posted by mountmccabe at 2:58 PM on August 12, 2015

I'm glad that other people like the idea of making Mefi-related playlists on Spotify easier to find. I guess what we need now is: (1) some kind of mechanism for discovery and listing them all; and (2) a space where those listings can be easily accessed and updated as new lists are created. From what cortex says, it looks like that will initially have to be a third-party space, unless anyone's interested in setting up an "official" Mefi Spotify account as a content aggregator. And the Spotify/Facebook account linkage will also inevitably impinge on who wants to be involved in this, I guess, just in terms of maintaining some semblance of internet anonymity.

In terms of searchability, how good is the Spotify search function for picking up Metafilter-related keywords? My own searches mainly turn up my own playlists (and those I've followed) and not much else. Would it be worth people listing existing Mefi-user-created playlists in this space as some kind of initial ground survey? Here's an initial stab at that, with an attempt at genre categorization, culled from the existing AskMe:

Jazz and Bossa Nova
'50s and '60s Jazz. (Potomac Avenue)
Bossa Nova (Stan Getz, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Joao Gilberto, Nara Leao. (yueliang)
Cool Jazz (Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz, Ahmad Jamal Trio, Lester Young, Chet Baker, etc). (yueliang)

'80s Italo-Disco. (Potomac Avenue)

Funk, Soul, Country
Soul and Harmony (India Arie, Erykah Badu, Nina Simone, D'Angelo, etc). (yueliang)
'70s Country Funk. (Potomac Avenue)

Rockabilly and R&B
Rockabilly. (Potomac Avenue)
'50s R&B. (Potomac Avenue)

Ska, rocksteady, and calypso
Ska, rocksteady, and calypso. (Potomac Avenue)

Rock, Alt-rock, Indie, and Shoegaze
'60s garage rock. (Potomac Avenue)
'60s non-American garage rock. (Potomac Avenue)
Math Rock. (Potomac Avenue)
Newmo (2010s emo). (Potomac Avenue)
Pop-punk. (Potomac Avenue)
Scottish Indie Rock. (banjo_and_the_pork)
Shoegaze (MountMcCabe's list). (mountmccabe)
Shoegaze/Alt-gaze. (Sonny Jim)
Canal 180 (shoegaze). (lmfsilva)
City (shoegaze). (lmfsilva)
Look at the Sky (shoegaze). (lmfsilva)
O Bolo (shoegaze). (lmfsilva)

Ambient and chillout
Dreampop/dreamwave/chillout/ambient-mix. (yueliang)

Pop and rap
2012 freedom list. (yueliang)
Hot mess. (yueliang)

Protest and Fight Songs
Politics and Protest. (SisterHavana)
IRA fight songs. (Potomac Avenue)

Spanish Party Music. (yueliang)
Asian space pop. (Katemonkey)

Classical and choir
Medieval. (mountmccabe)
Renaissance. (mountmccabe)
Shapenote. (Katemonkey)

Cover versions
Non-English pop covers. (SisterHavana)
Originals and Covers. (SisterHavana)

Misc and Other
Short songs, 1, 2, and 3. (lmfsilva)
Halloween. (Katemonkey)
Christmas. (Katemonkey)

Obviously, culling existing playlists made in response to or featured on the Blue, the Green, or Projects would be a larger, er, project, but worth doing if we're going to go anywhere with this. Is anyone up for that?
posted by Sonny Jim at 4:40 AM on August 13, 2015 [8 favorites]

OK: here's an initial listing of Spotify playlists that grew out of older Metafilter and AskMe threads. Please feel free to add more!

Playlists from the Green and Blue

Rock and Indie
Crone Island—from "Where's My Cut?" On Unpaid Emotional Labor (Metafilter, 24 July 2015).
Metafilter Vs. Royal Blood—from Ladies and Gentlemen ... Royal Blood! (Metafilter, 18 April 2015).
Mefi Grrrl Power Playlist—from "Help me create a mix CD for my wife that celebrates womanhood" (Ask Metafilter, 17 November 2014).
Chalk Pastels and Conté Crayons—from Indie Twee Playlist for When You've been DTMFA'd (Ask Metafilter, 19 December 2014).
Songs Suggested by Mefi—from What are your very favorite songs—songs that you can listen to over and over again? (Ask Metafilter, 18 January 2012).
Heavy Scottish Accents—from Contemporary Music Featuring Heavy Scottish Accents (Ask Metafilter, 5 June 2013).

Pop and Rap
Time can heal, but this won't: the playlist—from Working on a playlist of fun, catchy pop songs by women whose underlying (or overt) message is simply, "No, seriously, fuck you. FOREVER." (Ask Metafilter, 30 July 2015).
Summer Jamz 2013—from Need some great Summer 2013 songs for a playlist (Ask Metafilter, 29 May 2013). (The playlist created for the 2014 follow-up question to this appears to no longer exist.)

">Summa Smoove—from Help me compile a playlist of the best R&B Summer Jams from the years 1986 to 1991 (Ask Metafilter, 16 May 2012).

Misc and Other
Goodbye Songs—from Please recommend songs along the theme of "so long"/"farewell"/"goodbye"/"we'll miss you". (Ask Metafilter, 1 May 2013).

Catfishing Playlist—from Country music songs with catfish in them? (Ask Metafilter, 21 July 2013).
posted by Sonny Jim at 6:39 AM on August 13, 2015 [6 favorites]

Banjo made a follow-up Irish Indie Rock playlist on her recent thread that she was only somewhat heartbroken about nobody commenting on.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:39 AM on August 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

Drat. Munged that 1986–1991 R&B link and missed the edit window. That should read R&B Summa Smooove, Summer Jams, 1986–1991.
posted by Sonny Jim at 6:47 AM on August 13, 2015

Maybe what we actually need is some kind of push just to get more MeFites to link their Spotify accounts to their MeFi profiles.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:04 PM on August 14, 2015

Sonny Jim: In terms of searchability, how good is the Spotify search function for picking up Metafilter-related keywords? My own searches mainly turn up my own playlists (and those I've followed) and not much else.

Playlist searching seems to be all but useless for this. You can find playlists with search, but the results are very limited. I tried searching "R&B Summa Smooove" and various parts of that and got nothing, even though I've already been following that user on Spotify (just not that playlist). I tried several other playlist titles and similarly got nowhere.

So even if people wanted to tag all their playlists with MeFi or whatever it would have no benefit.

posted by mountmccabe at 7:48 PM on August 14, 2015

What about using It's designed as a discovery engine for Spotify playlists. Looks like you can register with FB or Twitter or set up a new account, so that would allay the privacy issues. And you can write a description for the playlist, which is searchable. So would be pretty easy to put Metafilter and other useful data in there. And you can upload any playlist, you don't have to be the creator, as long as you know the URI.
posted by Pink Frost at 9:36 PM on August 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Last year I posted an ask for some help with a twee/anorak/indie pop playlist and mefi delivered the goods:
chalk pastels and contè crayons
posted by Annika Cicada at 1:42 PM on August 16, 2015

I've investigated the option and set up an unofficial "Mefi playlists" account there. While I think it's a neat interface, I'm worried about issues of ownership. Uploaded playlists are attributed to the owner of the account who does the uploading, not the original creator on Spotify, which I don't think is ideal. So, yeah: potentially I could use it as a kind of content aggregator for all of the playlists mentioned in this thread so far, but doing so would elide the work of the people who originally created the playlists. Hmmm.
posted by Sonny Jim at 4:10 AM on August 17, 2015

Yeah, although the ownership issue is an interesting one - I mean, I made this London one, but I didn't post the original AskMe question, or contribute most of the suggestions, so it's not really "mine" anyway. And having a generic account might be good for people who don't want their real name linked to Metafilter. Hmmm. Not a simple problem.
posted by Pink Frost at 3:30 PM on August 28, 2015

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