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Searching Spotify's least-loved songs
January 30, 2014 9:34 AM   Subscribe

4 million songs on Spotify have never been played. Even once. Let's change that. According to the Bay Area-based founders of Forgotify, 20% of the songs listed on Spotify have never been played. Their website randomly selects unplayed songs and plays them through Spotify's interface.

Examples are by definition self-destroying, but a brief jaunt through Forgotify, which is now up again after falling over earlier today, unearths tracks by The Hanover Boys' Choir, the perennial ?? (by ?? - on the album “?????”) and Joerg Reiter's "Sunset Avenue".
posted by running order squabble fest (50 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite

 
Well, there are about 500 million chair legs that I haven't stubbed my toe on, but I'm not going looking for those either. Just sayin'.
posted by HuronBob at 9:36 AM on January 30 [33 favorites]


This looks like great fun. I use Rdio, which I believe has a friendlier UI and better social and discovery features. But I've had a few great nights just plugging random odd words into the search engine, and playing whatever obscure tracks happen to come up. There's a lot of absolute gold out there that's unmined and just waiting for someone to discover it.
posted by naju at 9:38 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]


Sort of related: The On The Media TL;DR podcast did a fascinating and hilarious piece on a guy who obsessively writes songs about any topic (knees, bus stops, pooping into a wormhole) and makes $20,000 a year through streaming.
posted by msbrauer at 9:41 AM on January 30 [9 favorites]


I got an album of accordion music call Vive Paris. Of the twelve tracks listed, song titles include:

-A Child of Paris
-On the Quays of Paris
-In Paris
-Mademoiselle De Paree
-Under The Roofs Of Paris
-Under The Bridges Of Paris
-Under Paris Skies

There seems to be some kind of theme, but I can't put my finger on it.
posted by theodolite at 9:42 AM on January 30 [7 favorites]


What no accordion version of 'Parisienne Walkways'?
posted by TwoWordReview at 9:50 AM on January 30


There seems to be some kind of theme, but I can't put my finger on it.

All of the names have at least two words. You're welcome.
posted by srboisvert at 9:50 AM on January 30


All of them contain prepositions.
posted by Iridic at 9:51 AM on January 30


There seems to be some kind of theme, but I can't put my finger on it.

They're all accordion tunes?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:51 AM on January 30 [3 favorites]


Sort of related: The On The Media TL;DR podcast did a fascinating and hilarious piece on a guy who obsessively writes songs about any topic (knees, bus stops, pooping into a wormhole) and makes $20,000 a year through streaming.

There was a great thread a couple weeks ago about it!
posted by tittergrrl at 9:52 AM on January 30 [4 favorites]


There was a great thread a couple weeks ago about it!

Thanks. I missed that.
posted by msbrauer at 9:54 AM on January 30


This comes as no surprise to me, since I've been saying for a while that there is simply too much music already and it needs to stop, at least for a breather.
posted by colie at 9:56 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


According to the Bay Area-based founders of Forgotify, 20% of the songs listed on Spotify have never been played.

I've been collecting music in downloadable format since the late 90s. Of course a lot of my music hasn't received much playback.

Let's go listen to Eiffel 65's song...you know the one that isn't 'blue'.

Yeah. I'd rather not click on it either. But it's good that we have it...for the future or something.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:59 AM on January 30 [3 favorites]


Soon: 4 million songs on Spotify have only been played once. Can't say we didn't try, though.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 10:03 AM on January 30 [6 favorites]


The first thing this introduced me to was dark britpoppy Swedish stuff from 1989 (The Tapirs - "Time Of The Beast") that I kind of love a lot, so this is already working surprisingly perfectly.
posted by naju at 10:11 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


evidenceofabsence: Soon: 4 million songs on Spotify have only been played once

Cue Rememberify, for those gems only played one to three times since being uploaded to Spotify.

running order squabble fest: a brief jaunt through Forgotify ... unearths tracks by The Hanover Boys' Choir, the perennial ?? (by ?? - on the album “?????”)

Oh, I love Question Mark? - or maybe you're referring to ? THA RIDD~A~LAH ? -- but I was really hoping to browse Discogs.com by artist, but it seems that feature has been removed and replaced by a less functional (for this purpose) option to "explore" the site. [Grar grar Discogs has gone to shit since they did away with mandatory moderation, sez an old-time Discogs moderator who was voted into that elite little circle of music pedants]
posted by filthy light thief at 10:17 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]


Love streaming, but some obsessive downloading during the Napster/Limewire years has left me with an iTunes playlist that probably also has a 20% "never played" ratio.

Not to mention some nasty open sores on my hard drive that I can't get rid of.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:35 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]


Examples are by definition self-destroying.

Feels very ... profound.
posted by RedOrGreen at 10:39 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]


Why stop at music? Can we have a website read all the books ever as well?
posted by Brocktoon at 10:41 AM on January 30


Man, this Tapirs band is so damn good. Now I want to shout their name at every music blog in the world. Try out "Sister Sun." And "La La La."
posted by naju at 10:46 AM on January 30


There are still vinyl records that have never been played! Some of them with artistic sleeves!
posted by sneebler at 10:56 AM on January 30


I have to hand it to them for the rhyming name. It's perfect!
posted by aka burlap at 11:00 AM on January 30


Why stop at music? Can we have a website read all the books ever as well?


We've got to get on top of all this stuff. There must be 4 million jokes out there that have never been laughed at.
posted by colie at 11:07 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


I have a couple warehouses full of monkeys who say they're tired of typing all day and want to try their hands at music.
posted by ardgedee at 11:14 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]


Oh, cool - I got "Extract from a Glagolithic Mass", from "Music from the Island of Krk, Yugoslavia". Listed artist for the track is "Wedding attendants, priest", and as far as I can tell someone just turned on a mic. Lots of background conversation, and there's something faint that I can't tell if it's a second kinda polyrhythmic melody or remnants of a previous recording.
posted by heyforfour at 11:27 AM on January 30 [9 favorites]


and there's something faint that I can't tell if it's a second kinda polyrhythmic melody or remnants of a previous recording.

When tape recorders started to become common items in the home, there was a spate of claims that you could record the sounds of ghosts/pick up electromagnetic messages from other worlds etc (ghost hunting tends to keep up with technological change). Perhaps we are headed for mysterious recordings that nobody claims to have uploaded - Spotify hauntings.
posted by colie at 11:31 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


msbrauer: "Sort of related: The On The Media TL;DR podcast did a fascinating and hilarious piece on a guy who obsessively writes songs about any topic (knees, bus stops, pooping into a wormhole) and makes $20,000 a year through streaming."

"Poopin' Thru a Wormhole" (ft. Rihanna) - Extended Club Edit
posted by Chrysostom at 11:37 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


I got a recording of an orchestra practicing, interrupted frequently by a very British conductor cracking jokes and telling them to play better.

Also: a ton of Bollywood soundtracks, a cheesy sci-fi soundtrack album from a composer who later worked on Star Trek: Voyager, and some pretty decent 60's pop in a language I couldn't identify.

THIS IS GREAT!
posted by sixohsix at 11:38 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


Whoaaa, forgettable late 70's Canadian hard rock!
posted by sixohsix at 11:46 AM on January 30


Right out of the gate, this is ten times better at off-the-wall music discovery than Beats Music could ever be.
posted by naju at 11:52 AM on January 30


My followers are about to get very confused.
posted by hanoixan at 11:54 AM on January 30 [1 favorite]


I have a couple warehouses full of monkeys who say they're tired of typing all day and want to try their hands at music.

"Look, boss, the guys and I were talking and, well, we just don't think that randomly typing out books is the best use of our time. I mean, don't get me wrong or nothin', sir, I mean, A Tale of Two Cities is a great book and all, but really, our tiny hands are made for flinging feces and masturbating, so, we thought that we're just better suited for the music industry."
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:56 AM on January 30 [2 favorites]


Before trying it, I have to say I worry that this will really suck. I base this mostly on the apparently endless proliferation on Spotify of songs "by X (originally made famous by Y)." Also there seem to be a number of karaoke albums. But as is probably obvious, I love trawling the backwaters of Spotify, so I look forward to this.
posted by koeselitz at 11:58 AM on January 30


I got a 1956 Folkways album entitled Sounds of Spoken English: English Speech Instruction. It's exactly what it sounds like. Very cool.
posted by schoolgirl report at 12:05 PM on January 30 [3 favorites]


Ha! Okay, this is fantastic. I have no idea what this is, but it seems to include interludes with spoken exchanges, bird noises, and creative sound-effect vocalizations apparently indicating an airplane flight to Singapore - there's a boarding announcement in English (or Singlish maybe) at one point. And it is completely awesome.
posted by koeselitz at 12:10 PM on January 30 [2 favorites]


just got some sort of gregorian chant with a lounge music beat

whoa
posted by dontjumplarry at 12:32 PM on January 30


Genre is finally dead.
posted by spitbull at 12:45 PM on January 30


Are many of these songs computer-generated?

Software to generate pop music would probably be easy to write.

Between that, Philip M. Parker's books, women's clothes stores where the clothes seem from start to finish to have been designed, produced, and modeled by robots, and automated Facebook posting, have the impression that if the human race was to die out suddenly, the world consumer engine would go on cranking out product and content all by itself for a while. Technological undeath.
posted by bad grammar at 1:46 PM on January 30


Sorry, the clothes and other items in that link are just produced by robots, but in stores I often have the impression "who came up with this?" and reply "probably nobody." Of course, I spend most of my shopping time in off-pricers and thrift stores.
posted by bad grammar at 1:48 PM on January 30


I just got an amazing punk/funk band called Superbilk. I have no idea what language they are singing in but I like it.
posted by spicynuts at 1:54 PM on January 30 [2 favorites]


They'll whittle this down to a dozen or so songs that have never been played. Those will be mine. :(
posted by mazola at 2:01 PM on January 30


I just got an amazing punk/funk band called Superbilk. I have no idea what language they are singing in but I like it.

Listening now. This is outstanding.
posted by naju at 2:11 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]


Do I have to listen to the whole thing for the unloved song to finally feel loved and listened to? Because I feel really bad for it but there's a reason "Will ein lustig Liedlin bringen" by Blankenlocher Pfinzspatzen is lonely.
posted by pineappleheart at 3:16 PM on January 30 [2 favorites]


It gave me "Three Songs to Poems by Carl Sandburg." Just this morning I was saying to Mr Corpse how much I hate dissonant music. This isn't changing my opinion, but it's interesting reading about the singer, Ruth Crawford Seeger. Thanks, Forgotify!
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:33 PM on January 30 [1 favorite]


You might think that "Don't Let Them Take Your Mind" by Jo Banks and the Soul Train would be good. Yup, you might think that.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:39 PM on January 30


This is really next level disturbing and mysterious stuff, from the cover art, to the mind-boggling length (49 tracks, 9 hours), to the names of the tracks, to the copyright which says this was recorded in 1969, to the music itself. What on earth?
posted by naju at 4:12 PM on January 30 [3 favorites]


(Huh, it appears to be an Argentinian guy named Juan Mutant who has hundreds of self-released bizarre albums stretching back to the late 80's. Guess I'm falling down weird noise rabbitholes now. Thanks Forgotify!)

Edit: Echo Nest wrote about this guy in an article on music scammers. Fascinating!
posted by naju at 4:28 PM on January 30 [3 favorites]


This is better than pawing through the $1 bin at the used CD store, but it scratches the same itch. Wade through enough crap (Stompin' Tom at the Gumboot Clogeroo, 1977!) and you're bound to find something you would never have heard about otherwise, but really like.
posted by usonian at 6:52 PM on January 30 [2 favorites]


Damn all you people living in countries where Spotify is available!! This thread and that thread from a few weeks ago with the pooping in a wormhole song are like torture for us Spotify deprived folks!
posted by Bugbread at 4:27 AM on January 31


Thanks to all who recommended Superbilk. They're awesome; this cover of Diana Ross' "Upside Down" is great fun, for example.
posted by koeselitz at 6:45 PM on February 1


Just got this mock revival hymn, Yes Sir, from what looks like the soundtrack to a spaghetti western called Vivi o Preferablimente Morti. It may replace this as my current earworm.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:58 AM on February 2


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