The Unique & Personal Musical Workflow
Everyone listens to music differently. Here’s how I do it.
I recently had a bout of nostalgia where I daydreamed of my younger days and how I consumed music. Back when I blessed myself with terrible haircuts. Like many in my generation, music and adolescence paired quite nicely. I found myself through the music I listened to. Friends would recommend artists, MTV would project images of rock stardom on my young corneas, giving me a taste of what I wanted out of my personal style. This permeated through my existence more than anything else I gave a shit about. Whether it was the rush of purchasing a new Eminem CD, discovering Incubus, or channeling my angst through KoRn, I lived and breathed my music as a strolled the middle school halls with my skip protection® Walkman. A simple process that worked well for quite some time.
As I reflected upon this, I realized the way I have consumed music changes very quickly nowadays compared to the pre-digital-steal this-streaming-subscription-YouTube-playlist world. It seems like every few months, the way I consume audio morphs into a new process — along with my tastes.
Four years ago, I switched almost exclusively to streaming my music. After a handful of computers and pre-Cloud management, my iTunes was completely empty — besides a U2 album for a brief moment. I didn’t purchase albums on there, or even upload CDs to my drive. I’m obviously not alone in this practice. I haven’t looked back, and stream all my music currently. I do, however, appreciate physically buying music and encourage those who enjoy owning their music outright to continue to do so.
So what is streaming? Below I have outlined what I like to call my Music Workflow:
My go-to. I pay for Premium, and use it daily. For work, travel, relaxation, partying. You name it. With this extensive use, I have begun to truly trust the algorithms. I use Discover Weekly heavily. I find it to be the best way to find artists I like, tracks I replay a thousand times, and more genres that pique my interest. Years ago, I would just create playlists of an artist’s discography. I do that seldom now, rather use the search function to play an artist’s music, or create eclectic playlists based on songs I like.
This new practice has in a way changed the way I listen to music. I listen to a certain artist in less bulk, but listen to more artists sporadically. I am much more interested in this variety — a far-cry from my CD days which gave you roughly 12 songs by the same artist. I now prefer variance even song-to-song.
On top of this new way of ingesting my music, I find myself to be more open to other types of music. Recommendations are meant to push you into unknown territory. It’s meant to be awkward and uncomfortable. If you don’t like the song, skip it. If you like it, delve deeper down that rabbit hole.
A more of a recent discovery in the past year, but an otherwise strong fighter for my ear’s attention. Noon Pacific is a weekly playlist curated by a small group of passionate music lovers, sent right to your inbox every Monday at noon PST (obviously). You can also listen to current and past playlists on their website.
This relatively new streaming style has some benefits. For one, it feels like a weekly gift, and I love it. It is probably the only email to be permanently moved from my GMail Promotions folder into my Primary. Quite the statement. Luckily, Noon Pacific caters to my music tastes. This is more of a luck thing, and possibly a trend in the homogeny of electronic, pop, and hip hop. Anyways, if you love heavy metal, look somewhere else. I’m sure there’s a similar thing out there for you.
These curated playlists give some creativity and production to something as commonplace as a playlist. A valuable component to the Music Workflow.
A seldom used element to the whole ordeal, but important for a few reasons. Soundcloud’s true power in my ecosystem is the rarities, remixes, and one-offs artists upload to the service. Countless tracks that I heard randomly out and about have their roots on Soundcloud. In a world where music is uploaded instantly by those who make it, this is a fantastic niche.
Despite rumors of Soundcloud’s demise, the value through these streamable gems keeps me coming back for more. A good example is an album of remixes for the popular song Lean On by Major Lazer was first available on Soundcloud for weeks before sprinkling into the other digital services.
The unnerved king of streaming enjoys its place on top of a mountain through sheer convenience and price. I personally do not use YouTube for music all that often, but appreciate its place amongst the other players. It offers visuals (sometimes), easy shareability, and rogue uploading. A great place to track down a track (ha) that seems to be nowhere else on Earth.
So there you have it. My personal superhero team of services to fill up on anything rhythmic. I feel like this workflow is personal for everyone, and wanted to share my style. Feel free to outline your own. You never know, a new challenger could enter the ring.