Forgotify: choosing the tunes no one has heard

By Toby Manhire In Music, The Internaut

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18th February, 2014 Leave a Comment

“Four million songs on Spotify have never been played. Not even once. Let’s change that.”

So read the introductory screen to Forgotify, a new service that plucks from obscurity tracks on the digital music service Spotify at random for your listening pleasure. Or displeasure, as the case may be.

And it really is obscurity: it will only serve up tracks that have never been played. Once you click play, it will never pop up for another user. There’s a reasonable chance it may never be played again.

Founder Lane Jordan explains the genesis to Billboard:

We were shocked that there were four million unheard songs and we were curious about what those songs were… and if they were worth listening to

And it’s all random, one after the other, a giant jukebox of the neglected.

A lot of people asked if we wanted to [narrow song choice] by genre, or by year. But, to give them that opportunity denies the discovery part of it. We want to allow people to listen to genres that they wouldn’t typically.

There is something strange and wonderful about it, a little like putting on a record bought for the hell of it from a church fair – an antidote to the tendency of the internet to diminish serendipity.

 

In an hour listening, I enjoyed everything from a simmering if overlong ditty from Vietnam’s Manh Hon Hoang, from the album 7Nhaca (fab cover), “Balencia”, a jolly number from the Esso Steel Band of Bermuda album Bermuda Honeymoon, and “She’s Just An Old Friend” by Rink Hardin from the album Lost Masters of Country Classics. “She left yesterday but I still tell myself she didn’t go,” goes the chorus. Not difficult to understand how that got lost.

Best of all, however, was “The CIA Song”, a 1976 folky ragtime protest song by Gary Green, from the album Gary Green, Vol. 1: These Six Strings Neutralize the Tools of Oppression. Sample lyric: “The CIA put a microphone in my underwear.”

 

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