🎵 My Music Workflow

26 November 2022 🎵

I’m an album guy for the most part. While I like to make little mixtapes that create a mood or echo back to a time, when I listen to music, I’m listening to an album from start to finish. And given my commitment to making a top ten list every year (despite the fact no one else could possibly care less), it means I need a way to find, collect, and track albums coming out in a given year.

This means I have three apps dedicated to music:

  1. Apple Music - pretty self-explanatory. I used to go back and fourth between Spotify and Apple Music because I feel like Spotify has better curation, but with Apple’s bundle and family plan, it just doesn’t make sense to switch anymore.
  2. MusicBox - think Instapaper for music. This is where I collect all the albums I’ve yet to listen to.
  3. Albums - essentially, just a skin for Apple Music, but built around listening to music as albums.

So every Friday, I fire up Apple Music, skip the main page and go straight to various genre pages. Usually Alternative and Indie cover it for me, but on the rare occasion I’ll check out Rock and Hip-Hop as well. I’ll occasionally use some of their curated playlists to get an idea of what’s in the zeitgeist, such as Alt-Ctrl, Superbloom, Antidote, Untitled, and The Sound.

From there, I scan through the albums, clicking through to anything that pops out. Most likely I’m looking for bands I know or have heard of, or just go off of the band/album name and cover art, choosing whatever pops out. I’ll give a couple tracks quick ear glances to see if anything resembles a sound I might actually like before moving on to the next.

Once an album has been deemed worth giving a chance, I’ll hit the share sheet and send it on to MusicBox. Now I have a collection of albums queued up and ready to listen to when I feel like something new.

In MusicBox, you can tell it what app to open music in. So I have mine set to Albums. And while MusicBox has a play button, hitting that doesn’t give me the desired result with Albums, so I have to hit view and then once in Albums I can play it. (One extra button press, no big deal). Another benefit of Albums is it will scrobble everything you listen to to Last.fm.

Once in Albums I’ll listen to the album all the way through and decide if it’s worth adding to my Apple Music library. When I’ve made my decision, I fire up a shortcut that prompts me with a quick 👍 or 👎.

A 👎 results in the album getting tagged in MusicBox with nope” and nothing else. Never need to hear from the album again.

A 👍 results in many steps. It adds the album to my Apple Music library, tags it in MusicBox with library”, adds an entry to my Jams journal on Futureland, adds a link to the album to my Kinopio journal and Kinopio music space for the given year, and then finally fires off a post to my hosted micro.blog with an Apple Music embed, which automatically gets tagged with music” thanks to micro.blog’s filters.

This might seem like a lot (and it is), but now I have a way to track albums I liked and didn’t like for a given year, plus it gets added quickly to places I like to use to reflect or share with others. Easy peasy.

Smart Playlists in MusicBox (and Collections in Albums) allow me to see everything with a nope” tag or all the albums tagged with library” that came out in a given year. And in Kinopio, I can look across all the albums I liked in a given year (complete with album artwork through the URL preview) and sort through them as I order and re-order them according to my preference as I work towards a top ten.

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