Genre map explorer for Spotify

Hey folks!

I’d like to present Genre map explorer for Spotify / Max Bo / Observable after reaching a stage of reasonable feature completeness.

A couple of years ago I pondered what a ‘non-linear’ music application would be like. Rather than playlists being linear lists of tracks, they could branch and fork - a rock playlist could fork into indie rock and post-rock, etc. Listening to a playlist would be akin to a Choose Your Own Adventure - still a guided experience, but with some personal decision making sprinkled in.

I didn’t end up building this. Instead I attempted to find a way to synthesise these forking journeys from collections of existing linear playlists.

After building some of the basic visualisations, the explorer further diverged from its original vision and evolved into a playlist ‘gardening’ tool that I used for splitting, merging, and pruning a range of my existing genre-homogenous playlists.

The feature I find the most useful is the “Playlist smoother” - it minimises the total “genre distance” between artists in a playlist. Artists that are the most similar to each other will often be neighbours in the playlist order.

I’m hoping that some people will find this useful for some of their own music ‘gardening’ tasks!

I’m going to continue working on some of the UX issues - right now the authorisation flow is crap, performance is not amazing and the mobile UX is borderline unusable. Looking forward to overcoming these challenges!



This is really excellent, thanks for sharing! Really impressed with how thorough it is.

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