Why do we make playlists?

From my creative writing blog. It deals with how fans interact with media, so I’ll post it here as well.

Under Shelter of Magnolias

I’ve been thinking a lot about my fiction-writing process. the more I thought, the more I realized how important music playlists are to my projects. Starting with “Magnolia,” the first short story of my college senior project, I’ve had a playlist (or two, or three) for every major work I’ve written.

I don’t think it’s just me, but I do think it’s exploded with my generation. Check the playlist tag on Tumblr (which skews toward the 18-24 demographic), and you’ll see probably almost a hundred updates a day, with people posting playlists or the songs in them, often with song titles superimposed over an artsy photographic background. There’s usually a link at the bottom to a site like 8tracks that allows people to save playlists to listen to later, but sometimes there are links to the individual songs on YouTube. Of course, the playlist is a newer form of a…

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