I love music, and I love listening to music, and I love jamming to music in my car and in the shower and anytime/anyplace else when I think nobody’s watching.
I’ve recently had a stranger wave at me while I was stopped in traffic because he thought my dance moves were a friendly “hello.” We made eye contact and it was beyond awkward.
(Side note: Next time you’re at a stoplight, check your rearview and you’ll realize just how clearly you can spy on the driver in the car directly behind you. <— It is for this reason that I’ve recently decided to tone myself down when I’m singing/dancing in the car.)
But my music tastes change pretty often, and I’ve actually got it down to a science – about every 4 weeks, (in one month), I grow tired of my current faves and need a collection of new songs. I started creating monthly music playlists last October (2016), and it’s super fun. I created my JUNE FAVS playlist about two weeks ago, and thought it would be an interesting process to share with you guys.
While drafting this post, I’ve been thinking about my “music evolution,” and how far tech has come since childhood. CDs, anyone? iPods? I remember how exciting it was when my friends brought the early iPods to sleepovers (I certainly didn’t have one).
This was way back when everyone still purchased music / individual songs. (…Actually, a friend of mine showed me how to download music from YouTube for free – probably illegally – but I was too scared to ever do it myself. I have a very healthy fear of the law. And of the FBI, who I was convinced would come and break down my door to arrest me for the illegally downloaded music. So, no, I didn’t risk it.)
Anyhow, I was really late to the game when it came to the era of (legally) free music. I used Pandora for a while and then switched to Spotify. I really, really liked Spotify, and that I could create playlists, but I didn’t want to pay for the upgrade which would allow me to listen to my Spotify playlists via Bluetooth in the car.
I signed up for the free trial of Apple Music, and realized there was no going back. Also, BONUS, I have an Apple Music student account so the price is significantly cheaper. The $6 a month is totally worth it, because I listen to 3x the number of songs I could purchase with that money (that’s, like, only 3 songs at $1.99 apiece – 3 x $1.99 = $6).
This is not a plug for Apple Music… it’s simply what I use because it works for me. And, honestly, that’s not what matters, because anyone (with any music software!) can use my process for creating monthly music playlists.
CREATING THE PLAYLIST
Basically, I create a playlist and title it “[INSERT MONTH HERE] Faves.” And then I add my current favorite songs to the playlist. I will continue to add music to my playlist throughout the month. For example, I might add a recommendation from a friend or a new song I heard on the radio.
By the time the month is over, I’ve had about enough with my playlist, but I have just enough songs in the queue to start the next playlist. The music I’ve added just the week before (the most recent songs; they’ll be at the bottom of the playlist) rolls over into the next month.
So I create a new playlist (titled “[INSERT NEW MONTH HERE] Faves”) for the new month and “add” the songs from the previous month’s playlist that I’d still like to listen to.
Voila! Just as before, continue to add new songs throughout the month. And then repeat the cycle. The new songs you add to the playlist toward the end of the month become the foundation for the next month’s playlist. I think you get the idea.
There is no magic number, but I’ve found that my playlists hover somewhere between 20-30 songs by the end of the month ( about an hour and a half of play time).
What’s really cool about my process is that I’m beginning to mark time with music – I can remember what I was listening to during a particular season. And, just for fun, sometimes I’ll go back and scroll through older playlists to remind myself what was popular / how I was feeling at the time / etc.
I create themed playlists, too, like “workout” or “road trip,” but when it comes to my day-to-day I’m usually listening to my monthly faves list.
FINDING NEW MUSIC
Sometimes this is easy. There’s a new song on the radio that I adore, so I immediately add it to the playlist. But sometimes it’s a slow month, and the music on the radio becomes repetitive. In that case, here are my ideas:
- Take a song you love and look for similar or suggested songs / artists
- Check out a particular artist’s other music or albums
- Look at the charts – what’s trending in your favorite music genre?
- Listen to Apple Music radio
When I add songs to my playlist, they are not always necessarily “new” in the sense that they’ve recently been released. A song might be several years old, but it’s “new” to me because I’ve never heard it before. Discovering new music often happens organically, but I thought I’d share my tips in case you needed some inspiration to get started.
GADGETRY / TECH
Just a quick word on gadgetry – I have an iPhone 6s and I typically listen to my playlists via Bluetooth in the car on my way to school/work/etc. or when I’m running errands. Last year I bought a shower speaker because I’m a freak about taking my phone into the bathroom (due to an incident involving my iPhone 5 and the toilet), and it changed my life. I can’t believe I didn’t think to buy one sooner.
Music in the shower = LIFE. Guys, I found this adorable little speaker for $15 on Amazon. And there were a variety of color options and I bought HOT PINK. I honestly didn’t expect it to be great quality, or even to last as long as it has. It has great battery life and has quite an impressive volume range. It suctions to the tile in my shower. Occasionally it will fall off the wall, but it doesn’t appear to have suffered serious damage. (And that’s important to mention because, when it falls, it will occasionally get very wet, and that doesn’t seem to be a problem. So they’re not kidding when they say it’s waterproof.) I sometimes listen to it when I’m at the pool. I haven’t yet taken it to the beach, but I’m planning to.
Earphones… I’ve had the same pair of earphones for years and years. And I still love them. But earphones are not always convenient, and I’ve never been a fan of using earphones when I’m walking to class because it means I have to carry my phone in my pocket (or something), and the earphones will catch on my clothes or my bag.
So this past Christmas, I asked for a pair of wireless earphones, because my sister has a pair and I was jealous. She’s an athlete, so the wireless earphones were great for jogging / bike riding. She’s also skilled at poolside-tanning, and she wears her wireless earphones at the pool so she can leave her iPhone on our porch (due to an incident involving her previous iPhone and our pool). Anyhow, I got the Beats wireless earphones I asked for, and I use them a whole lot. I had a long walk to class Monday and Wednesday mornings this past semester, and the wireless earphones are perfect because I could toss my phone in my bag and not worry about it.
What do you listen to? Do you have an obsession with creating playlists like I do? If you have any song recommendations for me, I’d love to hear them!