Bandcamp Playlists

Like you, I ❤️Bandcamp. But I wish the service had support for playlists. I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently and I spent some time exploring how this feature might work. Here’s what I came up with…

The Basics

Since collections and wishlists are both accessed from the profile page it makes sense to surface playlists there too.

The playlist action bar includes a search field and a “new playlist” link. I would like to be able to subscribe to other Bandcamp members’ playlists. The “subscribed playlists” link navigates to a new view to support that functionality.


Playlist Information

For each playlist, display summary information by default and use progressive disclosure to reveal additional details on hover.

Hover over playlists to see more information and actions.
  • Playlist metrics: play count, number of subscribers, comments, shares, other interesting things
  • In-list “Add” Button: Even though I included an “add songs” link in the management actions to the right of the list, the inline affordance might be more intuitive and user-friendly.
  • List Management Actions: The share link follows the same pattern as Bandcamp’s existing share link found on album pages. The “add songs” link could be eliminated if A/B testing revealed that the in-list button is used more frequently.

Track Management

The album grid is interactive and a mouseover action triggers a pop-up that provides the ability to preview the song, see additional detail, and remove the track from the playlist.

The stroke around the focused element is intended to hint that the item can be dragged. This isn’t a particularly discoverable feature. It might help to add instructional copy on the pop-up…something like “Drag to reorder the playlist.” Or maybe it’s acceptable to surface a one-time tooltip that describes playlist management instructions the first time the user creates a playlist?

The play order is rearranged by dragging individual album covers. Adjusting the visual treatment of the list items helps focus the interaction.

The dotted outline indicates the song’s original position in the playlist. The bar indicates the insertion point.

It might make sense to also fade/disable the play button, inline “add” button, and list management actions while in the reorder state.


Site Integration

I want to be able to create and edit playlists while browsing album pages. Because track lists have an established pattern of using progressive disclosure to display additional functionality on hover I propose including an add button to the state. Clicking “+” triggers a playlist management pop-up.

Seeing the playlist length count increase after adding the song provides implicit action conformation.

The horizontally scrolling list of actions includes:

  • Add to the most recently accessed playlist
  • Create and add to a new playlist
  • Add to other playlists

The pop-up also includes a convenience link to the dedicated playlist page.


What do you think?

👍 or 👎 Did I miss anything? Do you see any gaps or snags in the interaction design? Would you use this feature? Playlists are an essential and timeless way of listening music. Here are some of the ways that this feature would directly benefit me as a user:

  • My music listening experience is “album-only” right now. Playlists give me the option to listen based on mood, genre, event, etc.
  • I have almost 300 items in my collection. Playlists provide a way to rediscover lost favorites and keep the collection fresh.
  • Similar to the wishlist, I can use a playlist to track potential purchases…but at a more granular level.

This feature isn’t just good for the user, it’s also good for Bandcamp! Here are some benefits to the service:

  • Artists get increased exposure through an additional avenue of user access to their music.
  • Playlists will bolster social interaction and increase engagement.
  • People will spend more time at Bandcamp.

Are there other benefits that come to mind? Did reading this post spark ideas for additional features or tweaks? Here are a some “future features” that came to mind for me as I was working on the post:

  • Incorporate a random generator. Use AI to perform sentiment and tone analyses to create interesting playlists.
  • Kick it old-school and allow people to transfer playlists to cassettes.
  • Surface metrics to the artists, such as what playlists their songs appear in and listening patterns.
  • Deepen social engagement on the site by promoting popular playlists.
  • Feature guest DJs who create themed playlists.

Thanks for reading y’all!