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How to Make a Good Playlist If You're Not Good at Making a Playlist

Updated on August 3, 2020

Playlist like anything else in life can be a challenge to create. They take time and effort that could and often should be placed elsewhere. The devotion comes more from “what should I name this group of songs” and “what songs should I place in the playlist?” There are so many ways to form a playlist but it still ends up bad. Well, today’s mission while you are on break is to form a good playlist. There are four easy steps that take a lot less thinking than you might imagine. However, tread carefully because otherwise, you may be criticized for having a bad one.

Step 1: Give it a Catchy Name

Every great playlist has a good name to get the attention of someone who needs a good pair of songs to start their day off right. Names need to be simple though. Despite the title of this step being “give it a catchy name” try to keep it simple. For example, I have a gym playlist, work playlist, and a homework playlist. Each contains different genres of music and has a catchy name, for instance, my playlist for the gym is “Rap that isn’t crap.” In my opinion it's actually one of my less creative playlists, however, it does the job that it requires. A portion of this step that is often not taken is to give it a name that indicates your personality. If you are funny then name it something that you find humorous. If not, then find something else that you can relate to. For instance, there are people that I have known to have playlist for every single one of their emotions. This sounds frightening if you do not know these people but it is approved because it defines someone’s personality. If you cannot come up with a good name here is a website that you can use. However, use it in the sense that you need to be creative, don’t simply take the first name that pops up. Be creative, is the goal here. Without creativity there is no point in even starting this step.

Step 2: Find a Vibe

Most often when people use playlists they use them as tools for a party starter and get togethers. Parties need a vibe, if it's an 80s party, obviously you are going to only use 80s music. However, with decades it can be tricky, there are dance tracks and soft tracks. Vibes are the most important part of creating the playlist. Vibes are what a playlist is all about. Everyone starts a playlist differently. Personally, I am more of a hit shuffle person and whatever comes on comes on. Some people are not like that and construct a playlist to play in a certain order. It should be noted though that sometimes, you will be listening to a playlist all by yourself. You may be cooking, freaking out on the undefined dance floor that you refer to as your living room or jogging at the gym. Vibes are important to this because the wrong type of music might send off the wrong idea. An example would be, placing a popular song that you always sing-along to and it turns on at the gym. You act awkward because you cannot sing in public. That is an example of a bad vibe. A good vibe is while you are at a seafood boil and you play something like “Sweet Caroline.” Music is a small part of a party but it establishes a vibe. Vibes provide importance to everything and if bad vibes are sent off it will run you.

Step 3: Stick to a Genre

A playlist should not often use more than one genre. Instead, it should be a straight through genre list. Including Hip Hop/Rap with a switch to country music in the same playlist turns a listener off. Now, if you have a playlist that only you allow yourself to listen to and no one else than you have free reign over this step. However, what has turned me off of a lot of playlist, especially at parties is that people often play too many genres in a single playlist. This kind of goes along with finding a vibe because in finding a vibe you need to stick to it. Genres are the vibe setting tool. A college party often plays lots of Top 40 and Rap to get the crowd to go insane. For a wine tasting event there is a majority of classical or smooth jazz. Genres often should not be mixed as people who create playlists are not DJ professionals. Sticking to one is better than placing two together. In building a playlist, sticking to one genre shows consistency. If it helps consult with someone to assist you in creating the genre fluidity. In creating the playlist name it should reflect the genre as well. Sticking to one genre is the best way to get a good succinct playlist formulation. Moving forward, not backwards is the goal of this entire article and this is another important area of creating a playlist.

Step 4: Don't have too much of ONE Artist

In conjunction with the previous step, proceed with caution. One genre is important but also having various artists is as well. Too much of one artist is a destructive step that many listeners (including myself) have taken. I enjoy the Rolling Stones as much as anyone but have never been so in love where I have created an entire playlist dedicated to just them. However, in some cases there is a need to mix it up. For a classic rock playlist have a variety of artists like Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, and The Who, but do not stick to simply one for a majority of the playlist. Too much of one artists can lead to a passenger in your car wanting to become the holder of the auxiliary cord. Don’t be afraid to mix it up. Everyone has a favorite artist that they have way too much of in their music tracks which is okay to like one particular artist but you will need a variety to build a great playlist. You need to use a little creativity to find an artist that had a similar vibe to another on the playlists. This can also go into the decades dilemma that I mentioned earlier. A decade playlist can be harmful because it can be too general, but creating a specific genre playlist with a variety of artists is what makes it better. I cannot give an exact number of how many of each artist someone should put into their playlist but it should be enough to where they can still place another artist in the mix and not seem overwhelming.


These steps should all be taken in order for you to have a good playlist but make it great. At the end of the day these are some steps that I took to get my playlists followed on Spotify and Apple Music. I even went as far as to play some of my playlists at small events in order to study the reactions of people at the event. I am in no way a professional but feel that these steps helped me realize that other people enjoyed my vibes. There are plenty of ways to create a playlist but these are simply a few ways that you COULD do it, not that you SHOULD because it is your playlist.


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