Playlists: to discover while staying in his bubble

Photo: Pedro Ruiz The Duty
Spotify, Apple, Music, Google Play and as YouTube offer abundant lists to their users.

Times change, as has the way we listen to music. At a time when online platforms such as Spotify, Apple, Music, and Google Play settled more than comfortably into the habits, the consumption of the music often goes through the playlists. For better and for worse.

Every Monday, on the music application Spotify, appears the popular reading list Discover Weekly, which offers a thirty titles to users who decide to dive in. To generate this playlist, automated, distribution system online monitors your listening habits and multiplies the crossover through its approximately two billion of lists to select songs which should please you. Wonderful ? Yes and no.


For Jason Bissessar, “label manager” and responsible for the digital distribution for the label, montreal’s Bonsound, playlists, music are well served by the music lovers. “It is much easier for people to discover new music, and listen longer. “


Spotify, Apple, Music, Google Play and as YouTube offer abundant lists to their users. “They are everywhere” sums up Geneviève Côté, chief Quebec SOCAN, a company that manages the copyrights of its members. “This is the contemporary version of the tapes, but it is much easier to share with friends. And it allows you to discover new music. “


In an internal analysis, published in November, Spotify said that the diversity of the artists that are listened to by its members had increased by 30 % between 2014 and 2017. In short, according to their figures, people listen to more different artists per week.


May-be, said Danick Trottier, professor of musicology at the UQAM, but there is a catch. “One has the impression that it creates mobility on the aesthetic level in the listening, and it is true that it creates. But the fundamental problem with the algorithms is that it closes around certain musical styles. If you love hip-hop, it is certain that the list will suggest other hip-hop artists. Conversely, the playlist does not lead you may not be elsewhere, in a more electronic, for example. “


Jean-Robert Bisaillon, a consultant in new technologies applied to the cultural sector, gives an example. “If you listen to Pierre Lapointe and Coeur de pirate, you risk to hear the Félix Dyotte in your list of recommendations,” he said, referring to the phenomenon of the ” bubble filter “. “But you can always do research if you want to try something different this morning, it’s still interactive tools. “


The industry adapts


Platforms streaming broadcast also rely on human flesh and bone to sort the music, which highlight some of the specific types or local conditions.


The different platforms allow for two types of playlists : official — generally favored by the algorithms — and those that the users — or the record companies, artists — have been created.

The reading list must be done in a smart way, devious even. I dream to make a panel that would be called “the age of robots, and learn to séduir”. But this is it ! The reading list does not become just a “mixtape” for his friends, but also a tool of marketing strategy to try to develop the découvrabilité of its projects.
Geneviève Côté

At Bonsound, Jason Bissessa said that the training rap, Dead Obies has received in 2016 support of Spotify, which has propelled the group on playlists, among others in France, where their room Where They @ then had got more than a million listens.


“We used it, the press that the group had made, to find an agent shows interested out there, showing the datas listening. It snowballed from there. “


For an artist, to find its place on a list to read official Apple Music, for example, “this is the nec plus ultra,” said Geneviève Côté, SOCAN. To access it, the task is not simple, but it is still within the reach of those who put in the effort required. One of the approaches used by the labels of the disks is to integrate into their own play lists of popular titles, but also songs from their artists, and thus “hitchhiking” shows Jean-Robert Bisaillon, on the success of Radiohead, Rihanna and Ed Sheeran’s of this world.


“The reading list must be done in a smart way, backstab the same,” said Geneviève Côté. I dream to make a panel that would be called “the age of robots, and learn to seduce.” But this is it ! The list of reading becomes not just a mixtape for his friends, but also a tool of marketing strategy to try to develop the découvrabilité of its projects. “


At Bonsound, two artists have managed to exceed the five million listen to one of their songs on Spotify, the group Milk and Bone with Pressure and pop artist Geoffroy with Sleeping on My Own. Also, Coeur de pirate gets 11 million listen to As children, a million less than Patrick Watson with his piece Lighthouse.


The fact remains that, for the teacher Danick Trottier, it’s not the playlists that format and direct the tastes, it still notes the major impact of the mouth-to-ear. “There are phenomena on which the digital has no hold. People stay in communication. “

The list will erode the drive ?

The strong presence of the playlists delivers to the forefront the titles strong, isolated. “We came back to a process that we know in popular music, the process of the single,” says the professor of musicology Danick Trottier. A situation that Jean-Robert Bisaillon is extremely sad. “It is somewhere loses the ability to be loyal to an album as a whole. Because, for some artists, the album is like a novel, you don’t read just a chapter in the middle. “At Bonsound, one prints, of course, still CD, but sometimes in smaller quantities than in the past, even re-edit later. “You put a little less in-store marketing for banners, for example, said Jason Bissessa. But what is with the streaming and the digital, is that you don’t have manufacturing costs or shipments, saving time when not even a lot of money. “

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