6 Ways to Make Your Spotify Playlists in the New Year

It's the beginning of 2020, so now is the time to freshen up those playlists. Here are some ideas on how to organize them.
January 14, 2020
6 mins read

It’s the new year. Tired of listening to the same old playlists on repeat? The advent of 2020 is the perfect motivation to add fresh bops, remove tired records or simply rearrange the contents of our playlists. According to my Spotify Wrapped for 2019, I spent over 30,000 minutes, or over 20 days, listening to music, including a mere 40 hours to my guilty pleasure, Shawn Mendes. While I have well over 1000 different tunes among my many playlists, a year is long enough to wear out the best songs. Here are six different ways to make your Spotify playlists.

1. Simply add songs that you like.

There doesn’t need to be a well-planned formula for making playlists. Listening to music is about enjoying what you hear. However, I must admit from personal experience that it can be daunting to find new music. Where do you even start? If you listen to the radio in the car and a fresh beat catches your ear, make the effort to Shazam or identify that song and add it to your Spotify. If you’re driving, ask a friend to do it for you.

The same thing applies if you’re at the club or a party and have a few seconds. Another easy way to discover new music is to reach out to friends, family or even strangers and see what populates their playlists. Music is so universal, but our tastes are as varied as the unique humans that we are. A recommendation from another person can potentially branch into the discovery of a whole new genre of music. If nothing else, sharing artists and songs is a positive bonding experience. Finally, Spotify curates several Daily Mixes for the sole purpose of helping you discover new music based on what you already listen to. If Daily Mixes aren’t your vibe, try out the myriad other already-curated playlists that Spotify offers.

2. Organize by genre.

If you are music savvy enough to have several different genres that you listen to, this method of organizing playlists may be perfect for you. Rock, pop, indie — turn on the playlist that fits what your ear is craving. If you don’t actively identify your music by genre, this might be the perfect opportunity to sort your music by genre and see if there is a trend. Perhaps you’re a big hip-hop fan and you didn’t even know it. Or maybe you really enjoy R&B songs when they come on, but your playlists don’t reflect that. Organizing your playlists by genre can help you identify your go-to music tastes as well as new sound palettes that you might like to try.

3. A playlist for each of your moods.

This was my 2019 method of organizing my playlists: fresh, fav, chill, angst, yeah!, vibes, uplift, nostalgia and down. Depending on my mood and the type of music that I’m wanting to hear in the moment, I’ll switch between playlists. When I’m feeling sad, I like to lose myself in my “down” playlist for a couple of hours and acknowledge my low spirits. When I’m in a good mood, I like to pump myself up even more, perhaps with the mainstream bops in my “yeah!” playlist or some mood boosters from my “uplift” playlist. The “vibes” and “fresh” playlists are good for any time, any place. If you like to listen to music for an emotional reaction, organizing your playlists by mood might be perfect for you.

4. Different activity, different playlist.

There are certain occasions that beg for music, so make a playlist for each of those scenarios. What kind of music helps you focus and get your work done? Add those songs to a “study” playlist. Need a boost of motivation to get you through a workout? Those high energy beats can go into a “gym” playlist. Finally, those hits that make you want to get up and dance? Everyone should be prepared with a “party” playlist for when the DJ responsibility is yours. Whether it be falling asleep, starting a new day or cooking, every activity calls for particular songs to get into the mood.

5. Organize by time period.

Listening to “Cake by The Ocean,” “Cold Water” and “Can’t Stop the Feeling” immediately takes me back to the summer of 2016. Every year brings new hits that define that era of your life. Another great way to make playlists is to group songs by their time period. I always get a nice wave of nostalgia when I hear certain songs that I’ve come to associate with memories from that time. If there was a defining setlist of tunes from a noteworthy memory such as a wedding, school dance or vacation, turning those songs into a playlist can be incredibly meaningful. Organizing by time period allows music to do what it does best — take you on a trip down memory lane.

 6. Have an inspiration in mind.

Last but not least, music has the powerful ability to remind us of people and places. Make a playlist that makes you think of particular people in your life. When a significant person such as a friend or family member is associated with the music, the connection makes the listening experience all the more meaningful as the playlist invokes those feelings and memories that come with your relationship to the inspiration. It’s a similar psychological mechanism at work when you make a playlist that reminds you of home or another important place. If you like to listen to music because of the meaning behind it, then making a playlist with an inspiration in mind is the method for you.

Making Spotify playlists can seem like an intimidating task, but in reality, there isn’t a wrong way to go about it as long as you are enjoying the music. However, as music becomes increasingly part of our lives, playlists can get old very quickly. Use these six ideas to freshen up your playlists. A simple re-organization can make all the difference.

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