Playlists: Music’s Unsung Hero

Chima Kelechi
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The fact, as strange as it is to accept, is that most of your favourite songs come to you because people put you on. It’s a fact. I’m sure you’re thinking of that one time someone on Twitter put out that link and you magically discovered some new artiste. But, chances are, the person found that song on a playlist.

So, if something is such a cultural influence and integral to the discovery of new music, why do people classify getting on certain playlists as “modern day slavery” or “backwater mentality”. The answer is simple, I’m not sure.

For context, Barack Obama tweeted a few of his favourite songs of 2020.

It was mostly cheer for the few artistes who made the cut. Wizkid and Tems bringing it home for Nigeria was definitely something to celebrate. Then, this tweet happened.

If the above tweet is indicative of anything, it is that a number of Nigerians feel that the music business is mostly happenstance. They fail to understand that music is a business of numbers, strategy and much more than the sounds.

At this juncture, it is important to at least illustrate why playlists and curators are so important. The reason is simple, curators have an audience. The constant inflow of new music creates a value proposition for trusted and popular curators. Thus, if your music gets into a something curated by someone with loads of listeners there is a presumption that it’s great work. All that’s left is for the work to justify its placement.

It’s a failure of logic to believe that PR or subliminal marketing doesn’t play a role in crafting the culture. The fact is that for music, the art simply isn’t the only factor. In fact, it consists less that a third of what’s necessary. The more placements your work can secure in popular placements, the higher your stake in the numbers game.

Is getting on any playlist an achievement? Yes. Is getting on the radar of the 46th president of the United States of America an achievement? Hell yeah! The problem is, the fact that you can create a playlist on your phone makes it seem like it isn’t. It’s fine but it’s your personal problem. However, this reasoning is what makes playlisting music’s unsung hero.

Chima Kelechi

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