By Julia Burdsall, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Gone are the days of burning CDs and creating mixtapes for your S/O on your dad’s macintosh: enter, Spotify. With well over 50 million songs at your fingertips, the platform boasts 286 million monthly users—fostering a microcosm of the intrinsically creative and musically passionate (and perhaps the emotionally unstable).
Currently, there are over 4 billion playlists on Spotify all of which have been created by the platform, music artists and incognito listeners like myself. The potential to create a perfectly-picked playlist is endless—fear not the amalgamation of Taylor Swift’s best country hits and Lorde’s “Melodrama” for Spotify is a platform kind to collaboration of the unexpected.
As an avid Spotify user with 17 followers, Summit senior Peter Davio explains that the platform’s playlist creating community is “very diverse” and that, “it allows people to listen to so many different types of genres and artists that others users like.”
After having the app for over two years now, I recently discovered my own knack for playlist creating. With over 414 combined followers on 10 playlists—my most acclaimed being “Sleepy time happy songs”—Spotify has given me the opportunity to share my most intimate, and rather embarrassing, emotions with strangers on the internet.
Sharing a similar feat, Summit senior William Nyman—a Spotify user for over three years—reins in just over 3 followers, “Initially, I joined the app to stream music with no intention of having anyone find my profile,” said Nyman. “But, I soon found that there were other users out there who enjoyed my playlists just as much as I did.”
Through its unusual collection of music creators and music appreciators, Spotify has developed its own community of “influencers” but—unlike those on Instagram and Youtube—these ones fly under the radar, receiving no spotlight nor any sort of payment: these are micro influencers.
Spotify provides homebodies and music enthusiasts with a proclivity for creating an outlet to do just that: create. Beyond Nyman and Davio, more popular users like Keanawoods66 and Spiid3r, have the opportunity to generate playlists to connect with other listeners.
Keana has accumulated 116,018 followers on Spotify with over 52 playlists, one of which—“Bout to f*ck sh*t up at the third grade book fair”—has a staggering 41,255 followers. Evoking the aroma of childhood innocence and plastic sparkle pointer fingers there’s no doubt the playlist resonates with now depressed 2000’s kids.
Influence runs deep amongst those creating the playlists and those listening to them. Without lackluster ad sponsorships and ill fated attempts from every Instagram model advocating on behalf of a tea that makes you “skinny,” Spotify users are able to leave lasting impressions on their listeners—they are able to influence on a scale more intimate and genuine than other platforms.
“Well known playlist creators can have a really strong effect on their listeners,” Davio said, “some people do a really good job of combining a bunch of different music onto a playlist to create something that other users can really connect to.”
The app provides rather ordinary people the ability to have a meaningful impact on others, without the glamour. Currently, Spotify does not offer any sort of compensation for users with large followings and successful playlists—there are no ads or sponsorships for users to profit from. In doing so, Spotify ensures that its users and playlist creators are creating purley for personal enjoyment rather than personal gain.
“Like other playlist creators, I’m not given the opportunity to make money through Spotify, but for me it’s so much more than that,” Nyman said, “I just enjoy being able to bond with someone over a playlist.”
And bond people do: popular playlists like “main character type shit” tap into the everlasting sentiments of coming-of-age indie films inspired by John Green’s latest novel—resonating with over 5,000 Spotify users. Now, sitting alone in their room high on a tuesday night, random teenagers can find relation over the utterly terrifying feeling of one’s youth slipping through their fingers.
“Playlists can be personal,” Davio said, “and I think people really enjoy being able to listen to playlists that they can relate to, my favorite is Classic Road Trip songs.”
And so, there exists a degree of mutuality and sincerity on the app: rather than experience a breakup alone on your bedroom floor, any user can assuage and mend their broken heart with the company of a stranger’s playlist—perhaps “crying about a boy you’ve never dated” will do the trick.
Rather than get lost in the clogged drain of disingenuous social media bull shit, Spotify dances alone on a platform of micro influencing, boasting a new wave of internet interaction: genuine connection without the filters and frivolousness.
“Compared to the other social media platforms I have, like Snapchat or Instagram, on Spotify you can’t photoshop your music taste,” Nyman said, “it’s more authentic and you lose the facade’’
Spotify has become more than just a music streaming platform. The app has fostered an environment where users’ emotions are not only validated but reciprocated by fellow music listeners. It’s the duality of Taylor Swift’s “August” paired with Frank Ocean’s “Godspeed” that transcends boundaries, that ignites the spark within a listener to close their eyes and never leave the solemn peace of painfully perfect memories—or maybe that’s just me.
Nevertheless, it is refreshing to be a part of and contribute to a platform that exists under the branch of social media yet diverges from the toxicity and competitiveness of other apps. Spotify is a home for more than just the morning commute, it is home to people that have a passion for sharing their “content” with others in a more discrete and genuine way.