The Playlist Survey

Paul Lamere at Music Machinery is trying to work out if a computer can ever match the expert DJ:

Playlists have long been a big part of the music experience.  But making a good playlist is not always easy.  We can spend lots of time crafting the perfect mix, but more often than not, in this iPod age, we are likely to toss on a pre-made playlist (such as an album),  have the computer generate a playlist (with something like iTunes Genius) or (more likely) we’ll just hit the shuffle button and listen to songs at random.   I pine for the old days when Radio DJs would play well-crafted sets - mixes of old favorites and the newest, undiscovered tracks - connected in interesting ways.  These professionally created playlists magnified the listening experience.   The whole was indeed greater than the sum of its parts.

A good DJ is hard to find, that’s for sure. But they are still out there. My favourites, with links to streaming:

  • Stephen Ferris on FBi (mornings Wed-Fri 9-12) is probably the best - he knows his music, doesn’t waffle, and thinks about how it all fits together.
  • Richard Kingsmill on triple j (Sunday night 6-9) is similar, though he’s limited by the format of his show which highlights new music each week. But again, knows his music.
  • Stuart Matchett and Arnold Frolows, triple j alumni who put together the ABC Dig Music, ABC Country, and ABC Jazz services. A lot of curating goes into the playlists, despite their automated playout.