so much of music corporate culture depends on the water-cooler-sharing experience of mobs of buyers. what if music were shared one track at a time, among small groups, even in little parlor settings?
i personally never want to listen to anyone’s playlist, but i love to get a single song to hear.
I love browsing my friends’ collections, and I always associate my discoveries with the people who introduced me to them. It makes the music more flavorful.
It also reflects back on the friendship. “Do I like this person’s taste?” is a proxy for “Do I like this person?”
I haven’t really enjoyed people’s playlists since the Webjay days, though. Since then my interest has been more in Audioscrobbler-style voyeurism.
When I was first involved in campus radio years ago, I was annoyed that the station supplied a playlist because this seemed “corporate” – but then I realized that the playlist was maintained by a community whose concern was to make sure that artists meeting the station’s mandate didn’t get overlooked.
Again, this was process, not product.
IMHO, publishing a “playlist” as an act of canonization is MUCH more important than as an act of “sharing” – I think there is something to be lost in conflating the two ideas.
In that sense the playlist is less about expression and more about data. It says “here are the items in the set.” The set is a tribal thing. Belonging to the set means that you are a member of the tribe.