At best, like mixtapes, playlists are about self-expression… I agree that a single song with a context is WAY more compelling than a playlist lacking context. Mixtapes have always been about process, not product. Some music blogs capture this and some do not., for instance, does not. It is more like those crappy pseudo-mixtapes clothing stores sometimes give away free with purchases.

But there are two meanings of playlist, I believe, and one of these is often occluded in the cotext of online sharing a la Lala etc. 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.