Sunday, December 22, 2013

We Love Music

My dear readers,

Please forgive my absence for the most time of the year, and allow me to share some positive news with you, regarding this blog/app, Spotify, and classical music.

I started to work at Spotify since the beginning of 2013, in the Content Operations team. That was the sole reason I could no longer find any time for making and sharing playlists, which occupied most of my spare time between December 2009 and January 2013. There were times that I tried to finish a playlist (there's more than 100), but soon I realized I wouldn't have enough time to do it properly - the Mozart playlist alone took me more than 15 hours. Looking back it amazes me that more than 300 playlists, which I feel comfortable to share, were finished in the past few years.

Instead I immersed in work, with the same enthusiasm as when I was an outsider. Working with all these remarkably talented and passionate music lovers made me a even bigger Spotify fan, and everyday I feel grateful that I can contribute to one of the greatest projects in music history: to make more people listen to more music, and pay for music every time it is played. I cannot get into details at this moment, but you will probably notice the difference that I made with the team, when you look at Frank SinatraJohn Coltrane or the splendid London Symphony Orchestra pages. Most importantly, after one year of work, I can confidently say that we are now in a good position to act responsibly to the new problems that have accompanied the rise of streaming, address the root causes, and become everyman's best music service for classical and all music.

(Never thought I could appear on the same page with Ludde,
the creator of Spotiamp and tons of other great stuff)
In 2014, I will try to share some new playlists, at least more often than this year, and feature more guest posts from classical labels and music makers. If you want to share playlists, or your thoughts on how can Spotify improve for classical music, please drop me a line at SpotifyClassical at gmail dot com. I won't be able to reply to everyone in time but I will do my best.

I wish you all a merry Christmas and hope you enjoy even more great music in 2014.

Music is the best.


  1. Good luck with being an advocate for well-presented content on Spotify. I hope there are some real plans for making composers both visible and searchable in the near future.

    It's particularly frustrating to see compilations which give no clue as to the who wrote what, because the performer is the only artist listed.

  2. Great to hear from you Ulysses - and so good to hear that you're doing well! Best wishes, Jer

  3. Thank you! I have been wondering about what happened, and I am glad that Spotify hired a great force for classical music.
    One thing I kept following this year was the collective list with new music for 2013 which you opened. I wonder how that is going to continue?

  4. Excellent news for classical music fans on Spotify. Support needed to improve search capability for finding specific classical recordings. All a bit hit and miss currently!!!!

  5. Ulysses, thank you for all of your work! You don't get enough praise. What you've done already makes Spotify infinitely more accessible for classical listening. Keep up the good work, and press them to make metadata more useful for classical works!

  6. Further to previous message about searching for specific classical albums: just tried to find the new Mahler 6 - searched under Bamberg Symphony Orchestra but not there, searched under Jonathan Nott and there it was listed!!!!

  7. I think we are all advocating for a better search experience. I think the root of the problem is that classical music needs more metadata than other kind of music. We would like to be able to search for a specific conductor, orchestra, composer, or even a main instrument. For example, try looking for Bruckner's symphonies conducted by Celibidache. I just typed down "Celibidache Bruckner Symphony" and the results are pretty confusing. Then you have the track naming issues. You will find tons of tracks simply named "2.Allegro" when you are playing music, driving or whatever, the track name alone is of little help because you need a lot more context to understand what it is. Fore example a disc with two piano concerts will have two tracks called "allegro" making it really hard to find out what piano concerto you are listening to.
    The last suggestion I would make is about long track names, currently mobile spotify apps simply truncate a long track name after a certain number characters, we would need to be able to see a longer name.

    I would rename every track to include much more information. Something like:

    01- Bruckner: 1st Symph, Allegro
    04- Mozart: 21 Piano Conc, Andante

    Thank you for creating the yearly compilations, they are amazing and my daily go to playlists, I have learned a lot from listening to them!, great work

  8. Welcome back! I am afraid that i had given you up .... so much so, that it is only now that I noticed that the play lists are coming again. I think that you know the difficulties of searching in classical music better than most of us, so you don't need us to tell you what needs to be done. Good luck with the job ! I have one major complaint that I would like to raise, though. Currently the new classical releases seem to be swamped with cheap labels copying out-of-copyright material.... with very little (or no) information about the performance. OK, they puts up the track count for Spotify ... but they are duplicating recordings thatare already there (and their mis-information makes the searching even more difficult).

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