the TikTokification and Playlistification of music (How to enjoy music more)

Before I start saying some hot opinions, I want to say I'm not here to police anyone's consumption style of music. Musical pretention is like, super lame and stuff. I think if we all assumed that all musical experiences at a minimum with unproblematic music are valid ones, the world would basically be a better place. What should I care if a 14 year old listens to the most popular Alex G song and sobs to it? Why be judgemental? I think we should be glad we still get intense emotional reactions to music at all, let alone the masses generally do too!

And I'm also not here to act like my music taste is better than anyone elses. There's no difference between being a fan of Black Midi and BC, NR then there is being a fan of Korn and Slipknot. The former is just a Post-Punk Revival fan, and the latter is like a metal fan? I think? I've never listened to Korn or Slipknot, don't kill me. But the point is, no matter if you know the artists I mentioned or not, they're all relatively popular, and I'm not more intellectual for listening to the most popular artists of a not-so popular genre. Like I said before, all musical experiences are valid! Unless your favorite song is that Ben Shapiro rap, I don't really know what to say to you

Now, I'm not here to judge, but I am here to suggest. I think we should all try to have a diverse taste in music that challenges our consumption skills and attention span. This year I asked some peers if they've ever listened to one album in full in recent memory, and a lot of them said No! Which really surprised me. I think you're missing out if you haven't listened to albums in full, being honest, as I think they're some of the best musical experiences you can have. 

I also know a lot of people who exclusively listen to one or two genres, like pop or rap, or just shoegaze and emo. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, especially if you're listening to some challenging, inventive music in these genres. But I think it's a good idea to dive into why you stick to these genres in the first place. I've had people before say to me they just 'don't like rap' which is kind of baffling. That might be true, but being honest, most of the time it's just subtle racism. Rap, hip-hop, or any adjacent genre are all very factually not about "sex and drugs and killing people" and that should really be obvious. It's not really a coincidence that genres of music that have people who Aren't white as the mainstays get this "critique" thrown at them, when white genres like country or even emo are filled with nationalist or misogynist ideas get nothing said about them. If you really think you aren't, or just can't ever be into rap, I'd really ask you to challenge that idea, and become a better music listener.

So, the point of this blog is to ask you to become better at listening and consuming music, to get a more diverse taste and have a better time enjoying the music itself. I've gone on a couple tangents, but that's the gist of it. I feel like a lot of people, no offense, find songs exclusively from tiktok audios and take singular songs they love and dump them into their playlist and put that on whenever they can, all the time. There are a lot of reasons why listening to music 24/7 isn't the best, but I'm not gonna preach about it, I'll just suggest some ways to spice up how you listen to music to hopefully increase enjoyment of the art form I really love.

How to change HOW you're listening to music:

  • Stuck listening to music in long car rides or in boring classes? I'd recommend trying listening while walking in some pretty place, or even simply enough just in your room while you do some menial task or even while you're very badly dancing. I'd highly recommend it.
  • Stuck listening to a playlist which you're getting tired of? Take an artist you love, do some research on their reddit or something, and find their widely considered "Best Album". Then, listen from it front to back when you have time. If it's especially long, >45 minutes, taking a break halfway through isn't the worst, and often is better for how I consume music so I can really take in all of the songs.
  • Maybe try listening to albums or EP's with a friend. This can make it more easily enjoyable and smoother to listen to!

How to change What/Who you listen to:

  • Further dive into genres you already enjoy, or similar music in tone or style. Even though I've previously criticized TikTok in this blog, I actually think some pages on social media's like TikTok are great for music recommendations. If you like Alex G, slowly try to dive into some other indie rock or folk projects like Slaughter Beach, Dog or Fleet Foxes or anything else you find. If you mainly listen to rap, I'd recommend diving into underground or abstract rap, like Diz's "The Way Forward is Not the way home". 
  • Try something entirely new. For me to get into rap and ambient music after previously being involved with only rock genres in the past, I really just had to dive into it forcefully, which I'm glad I did. I listened to DAMN and To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar, which are some of my favorite albums ever now, and I can't wait to dive into more similar artists. To diversify my music taste, other than continuing to listen to challenging and newer music in genres I was already interested in, I just had to actually do it. It's really as simple as just listening to something different, I never found that 'easing' into an entirely different genre was an option and I don't know how I'd go about doing that.

And that's it. Probably not the best advice in the world, but I hope it helps out someone. I am of course biased to my own experiences and not an expert in this sort of thing, but I thought I had enough knowledge to say *something* haha. I hope people get something out of this.

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evelyn 🏳️‍⚧️

evelyn 🏳️‍⚧️'s profile picture

Hey thanks for all the super well written comments, I'm so happy others are this passionate about such a great art form. I'm sorry if I don't reply to all of them, but I PROMISE I've read them all! And hey, starting discussions on here is all that I can really hope to do. Have a nice day everypony

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by 4ppler; ; Report


Fuujii's profile picture

Years ago when I first got into electronic music I became fixated and, as a result, rigid when it came to any other genre of music, but through artists like Omar Varela, Mr. Bill, Curbi, or especially Skrillex who were open to evolving and experimenting with their sounds and style, I slowly got warmed up to music that wasn't always instant ear candy at first but something that I could try and find a way to appreciate, to try and figure out what does or doesn't work, even if not on the first listen. With that mindset you eventually make comparisons not only on a song by song basis but genre by genre and at that point you can expose yourself to all kinds of music and find something enjoyable in it. It all just happened naturally but I would say a good takeaway is if you allow yourself to get invested in an artist who really wants to make music and give them a chance when they put out something different or keep an eye out when they collab with an artist you don't know, you can end up making real intimate and lasting connections with songs you might not have been able to before (if anything it feels kind of cool to be in on an obscure artist/genre/song that maybe only you and some people online care about lol)

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SL★TH_J∅SH's profile picture

Nah this is real asf tho bc music is supposed to be this diverse thing and every genre and song is unique in its own way. I feel like some people just don't wanna diversify their music taste either out of pure laziness and ignorance or just stick to mainstream stuff and shit on anything else.

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Ratul's profile picture

I was born in 1996, the internet was a much different place when I was in school. A tip: I see a bit of ageism here, haha, Ive always been young, never dealt with that, but honestly, after you learn to read, write, speak, not much changes as you grow older. You're just you with more life lessons and experiences. I understand the boomers better now, they're the same, themselves, but with more wisdom. Nicely written!

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ʚ delia ɞ

ʚ delia ɞ's profile picture

This is pretty cool because I’m kind of the opposite. Listening to and rating albums is (was?) a hobby of mine. After listening to a lot of music I start to become less impressed and more overwhelmed. Right now I have lost interest in listening to not only new full albums but also my favorite artists. So currently, I have been a playlist person more than an artist person.:p and I’ve been watching a lot of tv so I haven’t taken the time to listen to things :p

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But I DO agree with you. I got a good friend into loveless by mbv and she loved it so much, we would sing it together lol. I recommended her their other albums, but she said she wasn’t going to listen. Personally I don’t get it, but that’s her choice and I won’t force her obv lol she is more of a playlist person

by ʚ delia ɞ; ; Report

n0flyingGhost ≽^•⩊•^≼

n0flyingGhost ≽^•⩊•^≼'s profile picture

this is the best thing I've ever read about music, I mean, music is supposed to unite people, not divide them! there is no reason for you to be listening only to one genre just for the fear to be called a poser, what even is a poser? if a kid likes the most popular songs of an artist or a band it's not the end of the world, if those songs make him/her feel alive then they're not less than you. music enjoyers come in all shapes and forms, but we all have in common music, even if they're not the same genre or artists it doesn't make you less of a music enjoyer.

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Ash's profile picture

this is so true, i noticed it because my brother who is 3 years younger than me and has a tiktok and a spotify does this. he adds single songs into big playlists and so he'll know like one song by an artist and has never had the curiosity to listen to the rest of their stuff. tbh there's nothing wrong with it, he does seek out albums more than before for select favourites of his, but i find it so baffling that you can really like a song but have zero curiosity for what the rest of their songs are like?? if you like it, why wouldn't you think you'd like their other stuff?? you know?? lol

that being said i've also always been horrible at playlists LOL so to be fair, i think curating a nice and neat playlist with a variety of artists fitting a single theme or vibe is really cool. even the playlists i do make for myself are often massive because i'll add entire albums in bulk lol. i have a playlist thats like 2 days in listening time because like, how can i just choose one or two songs from an album when the entire album fits the vibe? playlists are for shuffling but the other benefit is that i can listen to an album in full, non-shuffled, and then smoothly transition to the next even if its a completely different artist. so i like that about my playlists, although it is probably weird to most people xD

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Bel's profile picture

This is a really great post! I've been into music since I was a teenager and I still do it the same way I always did... I get mp3s of the full album or disc and listen to the entire thing. It's important to be open-minded and try out all kinds of music! It broadens your horizons and you'll find a lot of things you like that way!

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♡Latte♡'s profile picture

I love having varied music tastes, hearing different forms of expressions through music. Life's too short to limit yourself to only one or two genres. This probably put into words why I struggle to say what my music tastes are just because it's so varied.

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Game 0ver?!

Game 0ver?!'s profile picture

I would just like to compliment your writing, since I don't exactly have an opinion on the subject — much less have the right to say anything about it, since my musical taste is not exactly the most diverse —. I really liked the way you covered the subject throughout the text, because it didn't get boring to read, even though it's of average length. Another point I would like to point out is the language you used (not English, but the words you chose), I'm absolutely sure that it's a text that anyone would be able to understand (except for the part where you mention artists and song names, I have to admit that I was a little confused, haha). I admire the way you managed to balance the simplicity and complexity of the words, making it neither too simple nor too complex, but average (I don't know if that made sense?), and at the same time, everything seemed so homely, as if I were talking to a friend, or even reading a column.

Anyway, congratulations for the great text!

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I can't express how thankful and overjoyed I am to read that :'). It's a bit shocking because I thought my writing was a deformed chaotic mess for a while; in fact, it probably was. I think the effect you feel was caused by me slowly but surely finding the balance between outspoken language and honesty, put into simple terms. But I also just say what I'm thinking, making a keyboard into my crazy brain printer. Thanks for all the kind words!

by evelyn 🏳️‍⚧️; ; Report


Kam's profile picture

MP3 players are more convient for me because of the simple fact that I can control what tracks I can have. Streaming services can host inferior versions of songs (or albums).

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chronically.hikiko's profile picture

listening to the wheatus album in full instead of just punk ass b.tch and hump emn dump em was a religious experience

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Noel's profile picture

This is so true. It makes me genuinely sad that some people mostly consume music through playlists that spotify created. It's their choice obviously but it makes me worry about the future of music

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Oldroom's profile picture

This was a really awesome post! I just joined and this was one of the first to show. I've always struggled in being more diverse with my music taste, I've tried different things in different ways but nothing really seems to stick. I will say though, I've never appreciated a song more than when listening to an album front to back and dancing awkwardly. I find that the people I know who say they don't like or even "hate" rap music have never even listened to it! They just got their opinion from hearing it online and parroting the bs. To say you don't like rap while only ever hearing some 30 second clips of one KIND seems kind of disrespectful to the genre as a whole.

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Emerald's profile picture

I love this ! I own a lot of CDs and like to keep it simple. My cousin often calls me a poser on my taste, so listening to music on other devices other Spotify can be helper too, since all the music that he criticizes are on Spotify. Playing stuff on Spotify is also great, but I have a deeper affection for my CDs than for some playlist I can delete at any second.

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Emerald's profile picture

I love this ! I own a lot of CDs and like to keep it simple. My cousin often calls me a poser on my taste, so listening to music on other devices other Spotify can be helper too, since all the music that he criticizes are on Spotify. Playing stuff on Spotify is also great, but I have a deeper affection for my CDs than for some playlist I can delete at any second.

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radiskrem's profile picture

i agree with this post!! this isn't related, but once my friend made fun of me for listening to music on yt with an ad blocker instead of paying for spotify premium?! why would i waste $5 on something i could get for free?

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BTW.. You might want to learn how to use soulseek before too long. Youtube seems to be experimenting with doing ad-injection into your actual video stream, which would make ad-blockers completely useless... I don't know if they're actually ever gonna do this but the threat alone should be worrying.

Here's a random ass article i found about it, but if you just google it you can find more info.

by nil; ; Report

thank you!

by radiskrem; ; Report

thiss some ppl make fun of me for pirating spotify like??? i have exactly what u have but for free???

by Clown!!; ; Report


Milla's profile picture

i love this post!! i hate getting bored of artists/playlists so thanks a lot

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odetomae's profile picture

good post op !!!!!!! i've been thinking lately about how media consumption recently has become for most people just some mindless passive activity with no critical or meaningful engagement and it's espeeeeecially true w music and my brain's been tricked into working that way too often i'm glad someone else is pointing it out !

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DivaOfSelfDestruction's profile picture

I remember I used to be the same way w the "find a song on tiktok and add it to ur playlist thing" But then I js randomly decided to listen to a full Van Halen and Guns n Roses album and songs that I had never even heard of from them became my favorite!! :3

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