Picture this: you’re drinking at a house party (pre-pandemic, of course) and some random boy comes up to you and starts a conversation about the music playing and he asks you what kind of music you like. You tell him and he responds with the fact that he’s really into some underground music. In fact, he doesn’t think you’ve heard any of his favorite songs before. He pulls out his phone, shows you his Spotify and the song he presents you with is “Retro” by Childish Gambino.
“Do you know Childish Gambino? He’s pretty underground,” he says. Childish Gambino has 14 million monthly listeners and “Retro” has been played 67 million times.
Oh and by the way, can he add you on Spotify? Maybe he can switch up your Spotify algorithm, you look like you listen to a lot of Doja Cat and Taylor Swift.
That is what it’s like to listen to the Sound of Gonzaga University Spotify playlist.
Created by the Sounds of Spotify Schools, an account developed by Every Noise, a web project by The Echo Nest principals engineer Glenn McDonald, that compiles the most listened to songs of university students based on geography, listening patterns and math.
Defined as a “music intelligence platform,” the playlists are created in response to structured inquires based on location and used through a computer.
“The calculation and machinations with which we build these genres involve layers upon layers of data-collection and synthesis, and a carefully considered amount of editorial guidance,” according to the Every Noise website.
The website has calculated algorithms for universities and colleges across five continents, 41 countries and 2,124 universities and colleges, including our very own GU.
Created on Aug. 14, 2020, the Sound of Gonzaga University playlist is a compilation of 3.5 hours worth of “I’m not like other guys” music.
According to the site, the playlist is made up of pop, alternative R&B, modern rock, electro-pop and indie-pop.
“Underground” songs like “Another Day in Paradise” by Quinn XCII and “XX” by Marc E. Bassy grace this playlist, with “Yiken (Certified)” by Priceless Da Roc thrown in there to spice things up.
None of these songs have less than 21 million listens.
What does that say about the GU community? That the GU individuality complex really does exist? That GU creates the ideal environment to romanticize your life and be the Bella in your own Twilight story (FYI Spokane is no where near as cool as Forks, WA.)
After listening to this playlist, it’s easy to dream of a cloudy drive down the Oregon Coast (with a quick twerk break in between for B.O.B’s “HeadBand” feat. 2 Chainz).
On the bright side, the school that GU has the least in common with is Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Whose top genres, according to Every Noise, is EDM and Christian a-cappella. I guess Zags do help Zags.
What does this mean going forward for the GU community? It means it’s time to let go of the superiority complex to the indie songs that everyone knows about.
Come to terms with the fact that Maggie Rogers and Hippo Campus aren’t underground.
So no, the GU playlist isn’t some special little indie hub, but of course it wouldn’t be, all these songs are based on GU student’s listening patterns.
And that’s ok.