Playlists as Radio Stations

Before my laptop had its unfortunate accident in December, I had several playlists in WinAmp, most of which went unplayed. Once we finally straightened everything out, I downloaded WinAmp and put my music back in. My intention at that point was to rebuild all of my playlists immediately, but as of right now I only have three: one for the Nutcracker (which strikes me as odd since I started building playlists in late January/early February, and I typically only play the Nutcracker in its entirety between September and December), one for my Disney music (which I’ve just noticed only houses the collections and none of the soundtracks. I need to fix that.), and one for all of my rock music (Sorry, but I’m sometimes not in the mood to have WinAmp jump from Bach to Linkin Park to Macross Plus. It can jar me right out of my workflow.)

Interestingly enough, the two playlists that exist to help me get through my work are conspicuously missing from my playlists. Perhaps I should investigate that, too.

Anyway…about a month ago, I finally decided to join last.fm, more because I just wanted to see if it was worth anything than to be able to access my music from anywhere. It turns out I like the scrobbling feature and its tracking of what music I listen to far more than I like WinAmp’s “most played” feature. (It’s not unusual for me to shuffle my entire collection, and then just forward on from songs I don’t feel like hearing. WinAmp counts anything that runs for 5 seconds, regardless. last.fm only counts the ones I finish.)

One of last.fm’s features is the ability to stream your music out as a radio station, useful if you jump between computers (which I very rarely do). While I may not use that feature ever, it actually made me start thinking about playlists in a different light.

My current playlists don’t really reflect this, but I tend to listen to whatever music suits my mood. I’m the same way in my car. I have six different stations set on my preset buttons so if one station isn’t working for me, I can switch to another, and I have casettes and CDs with me in case the radio just can’t tap into my more elusive moods. My old playlist collection was the same way. I had two set up to help move me through my work (the two that I can’t believe I haven’t rebuilt). I had one for rock (which I’ve built), one for classical music, and one for New Age music. I had some built for favorite artists (I had ones for Eric Stuart, Tara MacLean, Jim Brickman, and David Arkenstone.) I had one that was exclusively female artists (mostly of the rock variety). I had all my soundtracks dumped into one, and then Disney and the anime soundtracks each had their own playlists. I think Macross Plus and Descendants of Darkness both had their own playlists as well. Like with my car radio, I changed the playlist to suit my mood.

Somewhere between channel-hopping in my car and having fun watching my music being charted on last.fm, it occurred to me that playlists are really personal radio stations you set up. You decide the theme to hold the list together. You build the “program”.

With that in mind, I think I want to reattempt building my “stations”. I wonder if last.fm can syndicate out one of the playlist-stations instead of just syndicating out my entire listening experience.

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