Featured Playlist Development

Edits / Notes

  • Proposal allow users to enter - votes for the user would delegating them to picking the playlist
  • Note that an educated electorate needs to be able to peruse the existing playlists, currently available here
  • Note that the length of the process can be shorter if marketing is built in to the process
  • Question on how often the content recurs
  • Question on what happens to late entries (nothing, or get rolled into the subsequent contest?)


For my pre-meeting update, here’s my proposal for the playlist selection process (other alternate names are welcome if we don’t like the word “Competition”) :

What are the goals of this Featured Playlist Competition

  • to fuel the “human touch” of the decisions on the platform.
  • to encourage the user community to come up with alternative algorithms for presenting tracks (ex/ “random” is biased towards those artists with more tracks)
  • Make membership meaningful users have a clear path towards influencing:
    • what IS on the front page of the player by becoming a trusted member and gaining the voting privilege
    • what is NOT on the front page of the player by becoming a trusted member and gaining the voting privilege

Where we’ll run it and how folks can participate

  • The contest will be run monthly on the forum
  • Any forum member will be able to submit for consideration by replying to a poll-specific thread in the forum:
    • a public playlist with greater than 3 tracks
  • The following items will be automatically submitted for consideration:
    • The current playlist featured on the player landing page (unless no longer public)
    • The option to select a “first 35-tracks” playlist generated from the existing “algorithms” on the existing versions of the player at the time of the poll. For example, in Sept 2021, these algorithms include:
      • Most favorited tracks (from player v1)
      • Recently added tracks (from beta player)
      • Oldest tracks (from beta player)
      • Random tracks
  • Submission period for month after next: 1 month
  • Voting period for next month: 1 month
  • Who can vote?
    • Members
  • What if there’s a tie? (??)
    • The month period will be divided into portions equal to the number of tied playlists with equal time given to each.
    • If there’s a tie between human sponsored playlists and algorithmically generated playlists, the human playlists will win


This is an interesting idea, however thinking out loud here, one thing I like about the user-generated playlists is we can put a “human face” (not literally; but their avatar) on the homepage of the player. I feel this humanising of the platform is important here (as you identify in your goals). Do we want to include auto-generated playlists in this competition?

Not saying I’m necessarily against it, but this did make me pause.

I suggest the way we run it is:

  1. Call for submissions in a topic, with a closing date.
  2. On the closing date, make a poll in Discourse that links to all posts with submissions in the submission topic.
  3. Close the poll a week after it opens. I think the whole month might be a bit long for the vote.

So in the month cycle would look like:

  • 3 weeks of submissions
  • 1 week voting

You need a clean distinction between submissions and voting, otherwise a submission might come in after you’ve already voted.

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Perhaps this is some paralysis by analysis, but who chooses the topic? I agree a topic could help playlist creators get some focus. I’m also pro-theme but got stuck on who decides the theme.


I did the extra-long submission and voting period assuming the same level of activity on the forum as now, and 0 email marketing of the event. If there’s some sort of notification to people not on the forum, I’m all for the shorter schedule.

Ah, in my mind any late submissions would not be late, but rather rolled into the next vote.


My thought process for the autogenerated playlists as an option was something like this - Let’s say the theme is “Jazz Around the World”. This is possible to do algorithmically - query the db for the most played/favorited tracks from #jazz albums grouped by country - but can we challenge our human members to make a better (whatever that means) playlist? It will give the people that are strongly pro-human something to vote against.

Also, if the options are “algorithms present on the platform”, it might encourage people to suggest some algorithms they feel are more equitable than the ones on there now (latest, random, oldest).

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Humanising: How about promoting ‘playlist-makers’ rather than playlists?

Imagine a candidate pool of playlist-makers with their playlists and profiles.

The community could vote periodically (monthly to weekly determined by volume?) to nominate a playlist-maker (or top cluster, 3-5, again determined by volume of nominees) to place one of their lists, or links to their lists at a prominent location. Selected ‘makers’ would cycle out of the voting pool for a period to keep options fresh.

Advantages: Human-centered. Promotes social relation with playlist-makers. Promotes playlist-making as personal labor, craft and adventure. Complicates the Popular=Valuable singularity model that intuition tells me is a key factor for what brings listeners to Resonate.*

Is there room for multiple playlists/playlist-makers? Perhaps at least two playlists from the pool could be featured with each iteration: One selected by (Quadratic?) community poll and one selected by earliest submission to the pool (or by random lot). This means every playlist-maker would eventually have a chance to shine whether voted or not.


*Perhaps this is a subject for further polling. How significant is eclecticism and discovery off-the-beaten-path to Resonate’s Active Listeners?

How significant is Resonate’s co-op governance model to the listening experience?

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I also liked this concept of voting for a person/people to be the playlist-selector(s) for a page (in this case, the front page but other pages too).

The only hesitation I have for the first time around doing this is that if the winner doesn’t have a decision playlist ready to go, then it might drag on for a bit and peter out.

Something I was discussing w/ @Hakanto before was to ask the members of a particular Country (example, Canada) page what they’d like to see on their shared page. This seems like an example where we can have humans pick out the featured playlist for their Country page and have lots of room for experimentation since there are so many countries.

Edit: The downsides to picking people is that it’ll become a personality contest amongst people with good English skills. Someone with little interaction with the forum who doesn’t like talking to people (in English or in general) will be at a distinct disadvantage, even though they might be a good playlist maker.

Another option is to have potential pickers raise their hands that they’re interested in contributing in this way and pick from them at random or in a round robin.

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I can not emphasize how much I agree with this. While I understand the desire behind it, I’m extremely scared of the idea of picking person/people instead of just their playlists, as it seems to reinforce the common trope of having people who are good at creating a story around themselves be the winners and let’s be honest… these people are already the winners everywhere else I look in the culture landscape.

As far as I’m concerned, if the playlists are good, the “person” can be an avatar with a random nickname I just don’t care at all. I don’t want to know more about that person unless s.he feels like it because this is how so many voices are already silenced.

We need to remember people from fragile/tense background don’t have a life that’s as sexy/glamorous as others. Some might just don’t feel like they have much to say, and others might just feel like it’s nobody’s business to know more about their reality. And these people might be deep into listening to music as an essential part of their life but if they feel like they have to sell themselves with it they’ll just get frightened because it will bring back a lot of stuff music is actually suppose to free them from.

One thing I’m not a fan of on the internet and especially in the culture industry is typically popularity contest. It’s everywhere now, you can see it on Twitch or Youtube, I’m actually witnessing more and more artists who I’ve seen struggling for more than a decade becoming successful because they started leveraging their communities and litterally became full time Twitchers, and their newfound fame has nothing to do with the fact they write better music or design better art, just with the fact that their community feels like “they know them”, like “they’re so cool” and they “like him/her”. This can seem like a fairy tail if we conveniently forget about all the people who either don’t feel inclined or straight DON’T WANT to engage in those types of activities because it just makes them feel bad or they don’t even like that particular form of expression.

Well the thing is as usual those people get left behind because we’ve transfered the inherent value that’s being monetized/put forward not to the work done (regardless of who’s done it), but to the attractivity and seductive power of the person who did it.

While at Resonate we’re not single handedly going to destroy the unhealthy market-driven artist-worship culture that’s based on deceat and seduction, I think we should at least interogate it whenever we have an opportunity and I think here’s one.

If by “selecting the playlist maker” all we mean is that there’s a list of playlists sorted by name and you vote for the name without further informations that’s fine by me (it’s just assimilating “the playlist makers” to “the playlists made by that person” so it’s fine in a way), if it implies building a story telling or needing more personnal informations about who makes the playlist, then I know a lot of people will be thrown out of the boat in a heartbeat.

Edit : As an aside, I’m not in any way here to dismiss ideas, if that’s what we decide we want to do, I’ll roll with it and try to figure out how we can make the best of it, but I felt it was necessary to voice out those concerns because they’re of the utmost importance to me.


Before going completely off-topic, there is room for experimentation with all of these perspectives on the platform. Perhaps some issues we think are going to be big problems actually aren’t, and some solutions we think are going to be great turn out otherwise.

For example, in order to privately make decisions on whose playlists a user would like to keep an eye on in order to vote for them later (for example), there’s an argument to adding “Playlist Maker” to the menu on the left here, and for ENABLING the “Playlist” option on the dropdown on the right.

We can currently explore the playlists via this link, but it’s not obvious to the casual explorer.

But back to the topic of the playlist poll, there’s nothing really stopping us from allowing the entries to be users as well as actual playlists. I proposed allowing algorithms to enter, after all.


I think having playlist maker in the dropdown is, on the other hand, a very good feature to add (I can tell because… I’d probably use it a lot !)

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It feels confusing to have a browse Playlists button hidden as a “Type” option on the Releases page. I certainly don’t see them as “releases”. Sure they are “trackgroups” according to our system, but users won’t see them that way.

I say give Playlists their own button on the Browse submenu (replacing Tracks) and then move browsing by track as a Type option on the browse releases page. Have em switch places.

Give “Playlists” a dedicated page under browse.

Alternatively, it could be a page for browsing Playlist-makers aka Listeners.


I embrace the cautions about a popularity contest for ‘selectors/makers’.

In my vision for the listening ecosystem the role of the ‘selector/maker’ is critical. They are a primary conduit in the architecture of discovery.

To me this is an amplification of the natural way I have most often found music, by observing the path of a friend or mentor through the forest of all available music.

A critical link is attaching authorship to playlists so that those author-references can establish reputations in the community over time.

I want to have a network of selector sources I follow and observe how others follow others.

I imagine this could be the primary navigation tool for most discovery. The semantic universe established by flows of social relations through voluntary follows/unfollows would arguably be more useful and resilient than the fixed-judgement nature of genre tagging.

The challenge is introducing new users to the selector community so they can start to find their affinities, guides and pathways.

I envision the co-op helping with the provisioning of resources to connect listeners with the work of selectors. (This discussion is a concrete example of such provisioning.)


:100: Super important.

Perhaps another articulation of all this is that it could be a goal of ours to create an environment where a piece of work (album/playlist) should be able to stand and be appreciated in its own right without the artist or curator having to become an “influencer”.

There are plenty of amazing artists out there who prefer not to have to advertise themselves constantly and become a brand. Same with a listener who builds a playlist. It should be able to be appreciated without the curator being sucked into tastemakerdom. People aren’t the product.

But I do see the beauty in this being a “human-centered” space as well. Subtle distinctions at play.


:100: Would like Resonate to be an ‘oasis of listening’ where the work itself has the chance to speak and be heard.

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I think @angus was using the Discourse term ‘topic’ to mean ‘thread in Discourse’. Perhaps a thread in our Music Category?

That’s fine. As long as there is an author reference that allows that – perhaps fictional – identity to build a line of reputation.

I think the selector should have the power of discretion to present themselves with a ‘real name’ and identity, or use as many disguises as they wish, or claim anonymity. Would be interesting to see how people use these tools.

@angus @Hakanto Are our APIs being built to support this degree of authorial freedom ie multiple simultaneous nicknames for Listener/selectors/forum accts?

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@community Fyi we’re going to get a notice about the playlist comp in the newsletter going out Friday


@Hakanto Have we got a good write up of how to make a playlist somewhere? Can you add it to the topic @boopboop made for the comp?

@community Also, if you can try to find time to post your own playlist in the next few days we can lead by example :slight_smile: I’m going to be listening all day today to make mine I reckon.

Not yet; good idea. I’ll write a brief guide and add it to the Handbook :guitar:


Good morning,

I apologise for entering this conversation so late, and therefore dumping a massive thought chain here!

I can see that there are 3 main areas here that have been discussed - my thoughts that I would like to share below.

  1. how to present playlists on resonate - this needs to be established as a working discussion group with artists, curators, coop members, tech, marketing and story. we have the chance to do something wonderful and think big, but part of that is looking at how playlists are used, what they represent, what can they offer for discovery, community, collectives etc. Ultimately this may lead into the discussion around bringing both podcasts and audio books into resonate next year. As well as things like stems, demos etc. Is there already a public group for this?

There must be a deeper conversation about how we can creatively do better than other DSPs and music communities - this is a conversation that involves both tech, community, marketing/comms/story - how will the playlists be highlighted and presented long term, what can they become for the community - how are they used by other communities like currents/bandcamp/soundcloud, how are they used (and abused) by DSPs/advertisers/major labels, what does collective patronage look like and how can we achieve this within resonate and the music ecosystem, how can we level the playing field for all, how can we elevate the unheard or ignored, how do we encourage discovery and participation in new scenes, right up to the core issue of what is the value of music and art. etc.

It’s the most exciting and vital problem to solve - where we can take the best of tech and the best of human discovery. We can already see examples of this being done well - at bandcamp for instance highlighting supporters/showing purchases etc (where they also do it “badly” in the editorial form of bandcamp daily, but still better than all the other DSPs where it becomes personality driven and payola), and from these starting points we can probably do even better as we are intentionally building to be ethical, fair, inclusive, just etc…

  1. playlists as a competition - this is the main reason I am here.
    angus asked me to publicise the new playlist competition on the newsletter - which is how I became aware of this discussion.

here is my answer to @angus - edited

I am wary of including the featured playlist competition in the newsletter.
I discussed this with @richjensen last night and I’m going to try to share some of my concerns with you now…

A competition is setting a precedent, we haven’t communicated via newsletter in years and as a community based on cooperation, inclusivity, diversity etc. it feels completely off to be promoting a competition. What does that say about who we are? That we are actively forging a path with “winners” and therefore “losers” in music.

In general, the idea of competitions to highlight music is ethically wrong - art is not a competition - and what I understood to be the complete antithesis of what we want to build as both a platform and community. It’s written in our manifesto that has already been agreed by the board.

From a marketing and communication viewpoint… It also feels too basic - while I appreciate it has been decided and will go ahead as a first trial, to highlight it in the newsletter or our socials is something I am strongly against. I would hope that this quickly evolves into something thoughtfully and consciously in keeping with our coop ideals.

I saw from the thread that one of the reasons that was decided to do a competition is to “reward” members - but they are already being rewarded by being a part of the coop! Transparency, participation, ownership, governance are the rewards.

If we want to incentivise people to engage and share, it has to be more complicated, deeper and meaningful than a competition or picking favourites. And to highlight a single playlist is, again, against our own manifesto. (I believe that a playlist landing page that draws highlighted playlists from multiple sources - genre, geographic, artists, curators, most listened, not listened, new, random should be our urgent Q1 '22 goal)

I can suggest a quick fix - rather than it being a competition for any playlist, it could be made into a discovery playlist. A discovery playlist would be made entirely of music the curator has discovered on resonate, no friends or relatives, sounds outside their comfort zone or regular listening habits that they want to share with the community. Something like this would slightly better fit our ideals. It would be created with deliberate care and intention to push discovery and exploration - therefore in keeping with our values.

I don’t expect that to be done now, and honestly we can probably do even better with enough heads - but criticism delivered without proposed solutions or steps forward is obviously unhelpful!

  1. personalities rather than playlists - as suggested by @richjensen
    my experience of this way of doing things is that the nature of marketing and music industry churn would quickly lead this in a direction that was not our intention… even as a rolling post or personality, it’s gatekeeping, and in 2021 we must be able to do better.

Finally, highlighting of the playlists will have to be done, probably very soon, but personally I don’t believe we will need a competition to get people to use or spread the playlists. That’s why the embedding of playlists/releases is so essential to our renewal - to enable organic spread and usage outside of our platform. Part of the communication strategy is to get media, artists, curators, labels, radio shows, charities/NGOs etc to take up the use of our playlisting function and spread it. And once this isn’t hidden on the site and we have new catalogue, and people see this being used, they will take it up themselves - IMO.

I hope that this is helpful,


Right now the playlist labeled Featured Playlist on the homepage of the new (and old) player is a discovery playlist (this one), are you saying to continue do the staff picks flow? So, basically, no change?

Realistically, without advertising the playlist competition / collaborative decision-making process, the pool of people that would submit playlists and the pool that would be voting on it will overlap so much that the very small number of people interested in voting but not creating would essentially make the decision, assuming each playlist creator votes for their own playlist.

So practically speaking, should I cancel the other topic about the playlist non-competiton to reduce confusion?