Regular visitors may have noticed that I’ve begun posting playlists on Spotify. At the same time, I haven’t been completely happy there. While it’s all but effortless to make playlists on that popular streaming service, there are in my view three consistent downsides to how things work in Spotifyland. First, you have to register before you can listen; second, playlist songs are inelegantly stacked together (rather than artful segues you typically get an awkward amount of dead air between songs); and third, all playlists are marred by random commercials which intrude if you are using the free versus paid-for service. An additional problem occasionally encountered is the absence of a song one might otherwise want to use. Spotify has lots of stuff but they don’t have everything, because basically no one can.
The British streaming service Mixcloud deftly sidesteps each of these problems, for the relatively minor cost of it involving more effort to create playlists in the first place. Rather than dragging and dropping songs, Mixcloud requires the playlist maker to fully construct his or her playlist as one long file, which is then uploaded. Further effort is then necessary to upload song titles and “time-stamp” the playlist, so the Mixcloud player can identify what song is playing at any given time.
The end result is brilliant, however. You get a playlist anyone can listen to, without joining anything, you get a playlist with purposefully designed segues, you get a playlist without commercials, and you get to include any song you have in your own library. On top of all this, Mixcloud is legal; they pay all the appropriate licensing fees required in the U.K. And while it’s true that Mixcloud is a very DJ-oriented environment, there does seem room for eclectic playlists of all kinds, so I’m definitely hopeful to gain a foothold there.
Which I most certainly have not done yet, as you’ll see if you visit my profile page. But hey it’s a brand-new enterprise for me, and the beginning is always today, as the saying goes.
Note that right now I’m a bit out of sync with myself—Volume 4 in the Eclectic Playlist Series will be out in a few days on Spotify, but on Mixcloud only the first two playlists in the series are available. You can access those below. I am hoping that within another month or so I will be able to beginning publishing the playlists on Spotify and Mixcloud at the same time. In the meantime, it’s a good opportunity to check out these earlier playlists if you haven’t quite found the time yet. Not that I can give you more time in the day (if only), but here at least is the easiest access yet to the music.