Who asked? Absolutely nobody. But Joseph Luke, Head of The Record, is exploiting my labour and forcing me to write an article. Although if we’re being honest, in the current climate (read: pandemic) my role as Head of Events is a little… constrained… so I’m happy to oblige. And what other personality trait do I have other than my Spotify? Since the early days of using a bootleg version of the music streaming software – Brunei doesn’t offer it, you see – to today, where my empire flourishes, curating Spotify playlists has been my number one tool for procrastination. Oh, what’s this? A 3,000 word evaluative essay on the guiding principles of mainstream IR theory? A perfect opportunity to reshuffle my study playlist. You want me to help clean the kitchen? Sure, but things would go so much quicker with a little music, so let me handle that. With the aux comes great responsibility.

Studies have probably shown that the way we order our playlists can tell a lot about our personalities [1].  Since there’s no such thing as an expert on Spotify, I’ve taken this to mean that there’s a niche to fill, so this is me, filling it. I’ve realised there are three major schools of thought when it comes to playlists: the actors, the vibers, and the monthlies. Of course, there’s so many more, so what follows is a breakdown of the various approaches. Tag yourself or something, I promise it’ll be fun.

The Actors

The Actors dedicate their playlist-making process to figuring out the perfect playlist for various events and actions. Common names for Actor-style playlists include Shower!, Driving 🚗, and Studyyyyyy.

There’s similar themes across the board. There’ll be a study playlist. A sleep playlist. A workout playlist. A party playlist. Some call it basic, I call it comforting. These playlist-makers know what they want and they’re taking absolutely no shit from anybody. Even if the themes are similar, the music will be different. My study playlist might have chill lofi beats, yours might have whale noises. What unites them all is their ease of access. There’s no need for a description, because the title says it all. You know exactly which playlist was made for the thing you’re about to do.

The Vibers

If the Actors are dependable, the Vibers are here to revel in chaos. What exactly goes into a playlist centered around the gap between the train and the platform edge? What makes the cut for playing gta vice city and driving a sabre turbo at sunset? How often do you burn your toast that the emotional response it evokes warrants an entire playlist to be made in its honour? Idk man, it’s just a vibe.

Inexplicably though, it always works. These playlist makers have a vision and by god they’re going to make it happen. Playlist descriptions are key here.

These playlists are so oddly specific that I can’t help but love them all.

The Monthlies

The Monthlies are a special kind of nostalgic. Playlisting is a form of documenting, to remind yourself of the music you discovered and listened to most each month. Will you ever listen to M A R C H  1 8, or june2020 again? Probably not. But maybe you will!

Don’t dismiss The Monthlies. Their ability to find 50+ new songs each month that they like enough to put on a playlist probably means their Spotify algorithm has got their music taste figured out to a tee. They’re winning.

Honourable Mentions

Emoji Kids

A picture says a thousand words, and a 128×128 square icon says enough. 🔥 means it’s fire. 😔 means it’s sad. I really don’t know what you want from me here… just avoid anybody who uses 🤪 unironically.


Made by artists themselves, whatever the style of playlist, you can rest easy knowing their own songs appear at least once. Speaking of which, have you listened to our Deputy Station Manager’s acclaimed Big Fat Greasy Disco playlist?

all lower case

they’re probably gay.

Spotify® Followers

These people don’t even make their own playlists. They follow the ready-made playlists that Daddy Spotify has generated. Sometimes it’s not even the personalized ones, like Discover Weekly or Daily Mix. It’s… Hot Hits UK. It’s Ultimate Party Classics.

Like birds, I’m not convinced Spotify® Followers are real. Approach with caution.

So there you have it. A completely objective and rational theory of the different kinds of playlist makers. Don’t question it, it’s science. Oh, and one last thing. Follow @surinamartin on Spotify. It’s not just an account, it’s enlightenment.

[1] dude trust me