There’s a popular saying that states “you can tell a lot about a person by what’s on their playlist.” Same can be said for Cal Poly and their Sounds of Spotify Schools playlist.
The Sounds of Spotify Schools is an account on Spotify that creates playlists for universities revolving around the top songs their students are listening to. They have made playlists for over 200 schools – Cal Poly being one of them.
Cal Poly’s playlist is currently five hours and 38 minutes long, with 100 songs. The songs in the playlist are constantly changing based on what the students are listening to. However, the particular themes of the current song selections definitely highlight the indie music taste of the university’s students.
A variety of genres were featured in the playlist; however, alternative makes up the majority of the songs. This was not surprising since the indie aesthetic has been on the rise in youth culture.
Additionally, alternative music plays well with the culture of the university. Cal Poly is in the center of a beach town where alternative songs in the playlist, like “Tired Eyes” by Besphrenz and “Butter Cups” by Hippo Campus, go perfectly with car rides to the beach and study dates on the lawn.
Despite most of the music leaning towards the alternative side, there were a few outliers. Electronic, pop, hip-hop, rock, and folk were amongst some of the other genres listed top songs.
The outlier songs in the playlist would be the party anthems. “Yiken” by Priceless Da Roc, “Panoramic” by Dmac and “Big Tymin” by Nef the Pharaoh all stand awkwardly amongst the rest of alternative, chill song choices of students.
Beside those particular party anthems and a few well-known artists, such as Mac Miller and Tame Impala, a lot of the songs come from underground artists that are not mainstream or commercial. Music artists like Vincent Mango, Golden Suns and Wilby all have less than 50,000 streamers on Spotify, yet their songs are some of the top music listened to by students.
There are significant similarities and differences between the playlist made for Cal Poly and other California schools. For example, the school just an hour and a half drive down from SLO, UC Santa Barbara, has a playlist that is less alternative heavy. Still, “Going Gets Tough” by The Growlers and “Peach” by Kevin Abstract were some of the songs both schools had in common between them.
However, the top songs playlists of universities up north, such as San Jose State and Chico State, visualize a much different music taste. The top music genre in their playlists is hip-hop, with little to no alternative song selection.
Journalism freshman Sophia Cossette is from up north, in Oakland, California, and finds the playlist does not particularly cater to her music taste. However, she believes the playlist is accurate to the overall music taste at Cal Poly.
“The only songs I had downloaded, were what I’m assuming are the party songs of the playlist.” Cossette said. “The music taste definitely differs from where I’m from, or at least at my high school. People listened to a lot more rap and r&b.”
The comparison shows how The Sounds of Spotify Schools visualizes the variety of music tastes in college students across the world. Even if the songs in the playlist do not come from one’s favorite genre, they will get a glimpse of what others around them are listening to and discover new music. In this pandemic, with the atypical college experience, giving a listen to this playlist can connect them to their fellow students through music.