Surpriiiiseee!! I'm going to do my year end wrap up differently than most of the ones I've seen. Mostly because I have so many to share, but mostly because I like to let the music do the talking and help you get better connected to the artists themselves. Instead of recaps of each record, I'm going to point you to my favorite tracks so if any of these are new to your ears you'll have the best starting point I can give you.
Personal Observations for 2016
This was a weird year for me in terms of listening/discovery habits. Instead of fighting against music consumption trends, I decided to play along. I dove head first into my Discover Weekly playlist. I even followed some of my friends' in order to see what I would find and set up an IFTTT recipe to archive everything recommended to me so I could go back and reference it later if I wanted. I barely touched my SKOA inbox, which probably upset a lot of publicists. Anyway, according to Last.FM's data (since Spotify never ended up sending me mine), I listened to 1,919 new artists this year, which is ABSOLUTELY INSANE. But really when you think about how much music Discover Weekly puts in front of you, it's really less than what everyone had the potential to check out (which is 1,560 if you figure we get 30 new tracks a week for a year). I am in the 98th percentile in music listening per Last.FM (meaning I listen to more music than 98% of people who still scrobble to Last.FM) and I found myself panicky and overwhelmed by the sheer volume of music that Spotify thinks I can get through on TOP of the music I already love and want to enjoy, or the random rabbit holes I end up falling into that typically bring me great new baby bands. I guess most people approach Discover Weekly differently than I do, letting artists come and go as they please, but knowing the transformative power that music possesses, I'm always wary of passing on an opportunity to be affected and share those experiences with others.
It's crazy to think that 20% of what stuck with me this year was randomly generated by The Algorithm and not delivered to me by humans. I almost said that the human delivery was through cosmic forces, but really, if music finds its way to your ears/hearts by friend or by Algorithm, both are cosmic in a way, no?
This is my struggle at present. I value the connection that happens when a humans experience music together, whether it be by recommendation or attending shows together. I worry this experience will continue to be diminished the more we silo ourselves into our algorithm-based echo chambers. I really hope I'm just out of touch and someone will point me to where this is the opposite, but I can't ignore how self-serving shows feel now every time I treat myself to a Night Out. This has been on my heart/mind too much lately to ignore it, so expect some changes to how things go down on the site (starting with making more time for this now that my new job isn't crazy busy for awhile).
What music moved you this year? Did you like some of these records but different tracks? I'd honestly love to know so please drop me a comment. Also if you want more than favorite tracks out of me for these records, feel free to bug me on Twitter I am happy to share!