Community Powered Playlists

There are a lot of playlist services on the web these days. Muxtape got shut down, but imeem,, and 8tracks are all alive and kicking. And I am sure there a bunch of others too. All of these services let one person create a playlist. But yesterday, I wanted to do something a bit different.

It all started when I was coming back from getting bagels in the morning and listening to Animal Collective's For Reverend Green

I thought to myself that Animal Collective's lead singer Avey Tare is pretty good at the primal scream and then I started to think about other great primal screamers, like Caleb Followill of Kings Of Leon, and of course, John Lennon. So I twittered the thought:

i love lead singers who've mastered the primal scream like caleb followhill, avey tare and john lennon. any others?

And I literally got dozens of replies which you can see in this set of search results going back to yesterday morning.

So I decided to make a "primal scream" playlist on 8tracks which I did yesterday afternoon and this morning. I wish I could embed it, but I can't. If you click on this link, you'll be taken to 8tracks where you can listen to it.

During the process of building the primal scream playlist, I suggested to all the people sending me suggestions on twitter that they go to and upload additional tracks for the playlist to the soundcloud dropbox that I have on A bunch of people did that and I've included two tracks so far that I got that way.

So basically we collaborated on this playlist and are still doing so because I am still getting suggestions of tracks to add. The best ones are going to get added to the playlist.

But this collaboration required a lot of "overhead" and three different web services, twitter, 8tracks, and soundcloud.

It would be great if we could use one or more of these playlisting services in "group" mode and easily collaborate on playlists. Sharing music is one of the great uses of the internet but sharing can work two ways and I'd love to see someone enable that.

#My Music#VC & Technology#Web/Tech

Comments (Archived):

  1. shetries

    Good idea. I like

  2. Gabriel Nijmeh

    How open do you want this to be? Do you want people to post freely or do you need a moderator to manage what gets posted?Not sure how much overhead is saved, one idea if we consider using existing services… why not setup a group tumbleblog (similar to and people (who are members) can post directly. We could easily setup disqus for commenting and streampad for auto streaming.It’s not as elegant as 8tracks where you can group music into titled playlists…Another idea I’m experimenting with is bookmarking music (mp3s) right into Delicious and tagging it accordingly. Based on tags, it would be cool if music can be pulled into say tumblr using some sort script to pull by tags (via RSS perhaps?). Even better, music would be grouped by tags and embedded into one titled playlist. This is something I’m still trying to figure out…You can see what I mean here —…Like you, I love sharing music and always trying to find new ways of making the process easier. I’ve got more ideas kicking around my head that i’m trying to sort through…If you go the tumblr route, I can help manage…Thoughts?

    1. fredwilson

      This can be done in tumblr and using streampad you can do some interestingstuff, like I did with

      1. Gabriel Nijmeh

        Thanks… I’m going to play around with Streampad. Looks interesting…

  3. jakemintz

    Have you seen iLike’s social playlist? This is the closest I have seen to what I think you are asking for. I haven’t played with this much but it seems like the next step would be to have a moderation or a “wisdom of the crowd” element instead of everyone having equal editing access.

    1. fredwilson

      I¹ll have to check that outThanks for the link

    2. Gabriel Nijmeh

      It looks like you can’t upload your own music… so if you start to get into more obscure/older/indie stuff, it might not be in their database.The thing with iLike is that it feels too corporate and sanitized… some of the best new music can be found on hardcore music blogs who have their ear to the ground.

      1. jakemintz

        Good points, it would definitely be a more useful service if music could be uploaded. Hopefully the 8track people are reading this and they add social playlists w/ moderation.I need to check out iLike again, I haven’t used the site since a few months after it came out. I like (no pun intended) that they are still trying to create new ways to share and consume music. From what I can tell they are the first to come out with a social playlist creation tool. So, even though they might not have all the music I listen to (I think they are partnered with Rhapsody) they get kudos from me for doing cool stuff.

        1. Gabriel Nijmeh

          Music blogs will be the new record labels… in all my years of consuming music, I have never felt more connected to artists and their work.Check out this… a donations based record label – http://www.quoteunquotereco… . Music is a bit uneven but got to love the idea. Whether or not this is successful is besides the point… its pushing the envelope and entering new and uncharted territory. Radical ideas somehow find themselves fleshed out and turned into workable solutions.As for iLike, there are some big hitters behind them with deep pockets. My concern is that these people come from traditional media backgrounds and how well they adapt to the new digital world will be interesting to see. I would argue that they are going to be inclined to protecting the status quo as much as possible, just using different tools and technology.I’ve tried using iLike and will hit the site if I need to do a quick lookup… but I really feel like I’m getting pitched hard. You can only listen to 25 full songs max per month (as long as it’s in the Rhapsody library) otherwise you have to pay for Rhapsody. I don’t want to rent my music… never have, never will.

          1. fredwilson

            There’s a lot of meat in this comment and the rent vs buy is almost a religious debate. But on this point, I totally agree;’I have never felt more connected to artists and their work’I’ve been tweeting with ben kweller a lot lately and as a result he invited my son and me to see him do a song for letterman todayThat just didn’t happen when the labels and the radio stations were in between the artists and their fans

          2. kidmercury

            “music blogs will be the new record labels”damn straight. and thus, musicians with blogs/online communities will be the new record labels.

          3. jakemintz

            I agree that the labels are losing their importance as a way of building awareness of and distributing new music. Music blogs have done a lot to make more music accessible. Companies like TopSpin will shake up the label/distributor legacies even more.But, there are still some pieces missing from how I would like to consume music in the digital age. Although I can learn about and purchase music online, that is where it ends. I don’t think music is as enjoyable as a solo experience. I like to share music and see shows with friends. To be perfectly honest I am new to the ways that the internet enables sharing music between people (and I mean knowledge not free files), but I am experimenting with new tools like Tumblr. For the most part, this is still learning about music from strangers and I miss the days of music discovery being between friends. My favorite way to learn about new music is still the mix CD, at school there is a group of us that make mix CDs in bulk to share with the group. It has been a great way to learn about new music, enjoy new music with friends and occasionally go to a show together. Tumblr and these other tools are great, but unless all my friends get on board (and I doubt they will), it won’t facilitate the full music experience for me. Making new music friends online is great, but that has not resulted in seeing any new shows (which is my favorite way to enjoy music).In my opinion, what the digital age lacks is the element of interaction and the element of sharing with friends. In a post-Napster world digital rights are so tightly controlled that we cannot consume music the same ways that we used to. This is starting to change with creative licensing by companies like lala and 8tracks. Hopefully things will keep moving in this direction. I can’t buy music that I haven’t heard about (or go to a show which is a substantial part of artist’s revenue), and I won’t hear about music that is under lockdown.What I like about this conversation (thanks Fred) is that we are discussing ways of interacting with and sharing music. As long as people keep innovating along these lines, everything about music (at least from a fan perspective) will get better and better.

  4. Chipotle

    I really like the idea collaborating on playlists. My guess is, “group” playlists will have more value if the system of aggregating music has a moderator to filter content. I would also want the ability to comment during the process.If I could listen to the playlists on my entertainment system (via Boxee of course) we’d really be on to something.

  5. kidmercury

    what a bunch of youngsters. a conversation about primal screams and not one mention of axl rose. shameful, people. you youngsters need to go put on appetite for destruction and school yourself in screamology.did see someone drop “immigrant song” by led zep. led zep steals all their songs from other people without crediting them or giving royalties, so they are inherently lame, but plant’s scream on immigrant song is the tops.

    1. fredwilson

      I don¹t get guns n¹ rosesBut this is a community powered playlist so post a track to my soundclouddropbox and I¹ll consider it!

      1. kidmercury

        on the surface boss it seems like you have everything: financial freedom, supportive family, a popular blog….but to hear that you suffer from an inability to appreciate GNR, well, i feel sorry for you boss.i uploaded welcome to the jungle to soundcloud, the archetypal scream song by the scream master. hope it helps you overcome your illness boss.

        1. fredwilson

          I don’t even have to listen to it. when I get a chance, it will be addedYou’ve got that kind of credibility with me (except on the 9/11 truth stuff, when the pope agrees with you I get really suspect)fred

          1. kidmercury

            lol, no way boss, you can fool the others but i didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday. you have common sense and are too honest with yourself to believe the guy in the cave story when presented with facts, and given my annoying and persisting presence in your crib and the growing popularity of 9/11 truth, we know you got the facts. i know you gotta pretend you believe the government’s theory, it’s probably a lot harder for you than for me because the peeps you roll with definitely cannot handle the truth, and so you have even more peer pressure. it is easier for me as i am further from the federal reserve system and am still under 30 years old (less time on earth = more malleable mind), so i sympathize a bit with the situation you and your peeps are in. or at least as much as i can.the key way to measure to what extent a person is a kook though is by their investment portfolio. after all talk is talk, but where you put your money speaks volumes about real beliefs. and when people really realize the conspiracy is true is when they feel it financially, and when they realize the truth is the only way out.first signs of the current doom were in 2006, but they were very easily ignored. louder rumblings in 2007, but still not affecting serious money; manageable inflation hurts the poor the most. 2008 was the big whopper of financial asset destruction, and so the media had to give it attention. slowly but surely, the truth is getting harder to ignore.anyway i hope you have turned the kook knob up a little bit in money matters. check gold’s recent jump. Then check the yearly chart for 2008. Then the weekly chart going back to 2006, then the monthly chart going back to 2002…..once you go gold, you go kook. wish i had a chart showing the percentage of gold bugs that are kooks. very highly correlated.i just wrote an article on my blog talking about the pound paving the way for the dollar. i hope you and your peeps have at least considered “the dollar is doomed” argument, as i think you guys have the most to lose in such a scenario. i don’t see any VCs really talking about it which suggests the problem is only going to get bigger as the fundamentals are getting worse and the market is not pricing this in (so a bigger correction is coming).i’m going to be blogging more about how the demise of the dollar paves the way for the world beyond the nation-state. too radical, i know. i agree we need to see more evidence. though i personally have seen enough evidence of gold as safe haven, and once folks start pricing their assets in terms of gold and/or baskets of currencies, and then developing standards for doing so, we’ll see the need for a whole new set of standards and governing bodies to emerge. problem is we can’t get there until we can talk about it.anyway i see it as an opportunity. if you ever want to talk about dollar doom feel free to contact me through my blog or though my “normal” business site (which is linked to from my blog) where i pretend like 9/11 was pulled off by a guy in a cave and go by my real name and everything. or post on your blog and crowdsource the dollar doom problem (is the dollar really doomed and if so how to deal with it). you know i’ll chime in the conversations while keeping the place safe!

          2. fredwilson

            I agree about the coming end of the nation/state. It¹s the natural end gameof globalization and the internet. But when its going to happen is a trickyproblem in forecasting.Do you think deflation and the dollar crash can happen together?And finally, why is a bad dollar particularly bad for VCs?I¹m a kook at heart too, but not in gold yet

          3. kidmercury

            regarding deflation and dollar crash, if you mean falling stock market, rising unemployment, and rising cost of living, yes, that is what i think will happen. what i wonder is how bad it is going to be, at this point i think it is going to be very bad, permanently world changing bad (but because it is permanently world changing it will be good in a way too….lots of crap getting cleared out of the way). i expect things to get so bad that some type of world government, or a greater role of world govt agencies like the UN, will be proposed as the solution to the financial crisis. this is the conventional conspiratorial view.well, it seems like bad dollar might be bad for you and your peeps if there is no way to liquidate (i.e. m&a opportunities weaken, IPO opptys not existent) and if you are stuck holding dollars and illiquid ownership in companies that do business in dollars and have not hedged themselves against dollar devaluation. whoever is stuck holding dollars is going to foot the bill for this govt spending binge. if you guys are holding lots of dollars, that means you :)of course if you can diversify against dollar risk than of course you are good to go, or at least as much as one can be when the world around them is crap. in fact i think this depression will be inflationary in terms of dollars but deflationary when priced in gold — meaning gold owners will be the big winners and will actually gain wealth.not in gold!??!?! this is the worst news i’ve heard, worse than your not getting GNR. i previously said my song “proud to be a conspiracy theorist” was the most important message i delivered to the VC community, although now i have to take it back, getting into gold takes the cake (although my song is an important message, let’s not forget that 🙂 ). even deflationists like gold.problem with gold is that it requires admitting things are bad. it is like taking out a life insurance policy or writing a will, perhaps a good thing to do but makes you think about terrible things. a friend of mine who is a trader but a permanent “good news only” person has trouble getting into gold for this reason (i persuaded him to get into silver, which should be pretty effective too in preserving wealth).

  6. BmoreWire

    Nice Baltimore band shout out.

  7. Jamie Wu

    love the use of the lala player / widget 🙂 social playlists is something we’ve talked about and implemented at one time, but fell to the way side. its an advanced feature that i think definitely has its demand at times, agreed it would be a good step.

    1. fredwilson

      This is my first lala embed and I’ve wanted the ability to embed a track in a blog for basically ever since I started blogging. I never loved the idea of uploading a mp3 for a ton of reasons. This is way better.

  8. Paolo

    The collaborative playlist is one of my favorite Spotify’s features, but yes, I know you cannot use it in the States yet… The lucky europeans can contribute to my 2009 cooltunes edition here 😉

    1. fredwilson

      Do you have to be a spotify user to play the mixes?

      1. Paolo

        Yes, exactly. I’ve recorded a screencast to give you an idea on how it works…

    2. haynes_dave

      I think Spotify will be one of the nicest solutions got building collaborative playlists. It’s quick easy and legal. Though of course not yet available in the US.

  9. Dave

    Have you checked out Lucas Gonze’s PlayTwitter? The Twitter community could build your playlist on the fly by tweeting MP3 urls with a hashtag like #primalscream. Then use Twitter Search and Lucas’ playTwitter Firefox plugin to play it all back. This would work even better if we could filter Twitter by clicking hot hashtags.

    1. fredwilson

      I have to check it outThanks for the reminder

      1. Dave

        Also, after adding the playtwitter bookmarklet, follow @playtweets to get a sense for how it could work. Pretty cool.

    2. fredwilson

      Finally got around to looking at thisIts nice to see that this was built on dan kantor¹s delicious playtaggercodeIt would be great if this got into the powertwitter extensionThe bookmarklet is not ideal

  10. fredwilson

    What we all want to recreate is those magical moments in high school and college when we’d spend hours with friends and the turntable playing records and talking about them. But we want to do it at scale across the web with friends, new and old. I’m with you. That’s what we need to do.

  11. dperry1ma

    If you’re looking for podcasts, creates automated playlists from groups of feeds in any directory, subdirectory or personal collection. Our “freshest feeds” are an automated playlist of podcasts within a group sequenced by publish date.Users can create their own playlists (with any sequencing) in RSS and publish them, but the group feed out of any grouping they want to create is automatic.Like this;…Duncan PerryCEOPodcast.comTreedia Labs

  12. Doug Redding

    Wanted to send you an @reply on twitter but realized you have to be following me for that to work. Wanted to suggest you add “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by the Who to your Primal Scream playlist. I tried to drop it for you but it’s an iTunes .m4p file. Bummer.

    1. fredwilson

      That is the single most suggested trackI guess I¹ll have to add itI don¹t think the scream is primal though

  13. davidporter

    Hi Fred – I do think this is a great idea, as mentioned on my tweet the other day. A few more thoughts here.We could allow a DJ to either (1) invite X friends to collaborate on a mix (so any one member of that group could add to or edit the mix) or (2) simply turn the controls fully “public” so that anyone could go in and collaborate. To prevent abuse and ensure we follow copyright precedent, I think #1 is the right approach. I’ve added this to our product schedule.It might also be useful for us to offer an 8tracks DropBox (like that of SoundCloud) so a DJ’s fans/followers could make a song “request” by uploading to our servers. I don’t think we’d want to integrate Twitter into 8tracks beyond what we’ve done already, but I would love to hear your or others’ ideas on this (and in general)!

    1. fredwilson

      Why don¹t you start with (1) and a dropbox and see where that goes?

      1. davidporter

        I’ve added both to our product schedule (Pivotal Tracker, which rocks).

      2. davidporter

        Btw, why weren’t you able to embed the Flash player for your mix?

        1. fredwilson

          I didn¹t know it existedI put it up on yesterday when I discovered it

          1. davidporter

            Excellent! Thanks Fred

  14. J Herskowitz

    Fred, I’ve been playing around with a mashup of a users playdata (from, iLike, Hype, Imeem, Lala, Pandora, etc) that goes and finds free-range MP3s for all it can find, then publishes those links to Twitter as a users’ passively programmed “station”. As Dave mentions in the comments, I think there could be something interesting where a user could retweet these with a hashtag that would enable collaborative playlists. Would love to know what you think. More thoughts here: http://globallistic.blogspo

    1. J Herskowitz

      Some more thoughts on how to use hashtags to empower collaborative playlists…. http://globallistic.blogspo

  15. Mike Butorin

    Great idea. Made me think of using hashtags + twitter search + playTwitter + my service, or just incorporate Twitter search into as it already allows for hashtags. Thanks Fred!@butorin