10 of The Best Artist-Curated Playlists on Spotify
Tons of artists have hidden curated playlists on Spotify—you just have to know where to lookPhoto by Mia Mala McDonald Music Lists Spotify
If you use Spotify for a music discovery vehicle, the platform can feel quite overwhelming. The interface isn’t always logical, and, if you’re not searching for a specific album or artist, navigating the mobile app can feel akin to rummaging through the lost-and-found box at your gym. This is all to say the streaming platform is a mysterious place. There are plenty of hidden gems, from playlists and compilations to live albums and demos, tucked away in unexpected places. You may not know that artist accounts are able to make playlists, too, and many musicians take full advantage of this ability. If you’ve ever been curious as to what your favorite artist is listening to, try checking their Spotify artist page and scrolling to the very bottom, where you may find a section called “Artist Playlists.” Oftentimes, this space is occupied by nothing more than an artist’s discography in playlist format, but, if you’re lucky, you may find a playlist curated by the actual artist featuring their own favorite songs and artists. Try checking this out for yourself, and don’t forget to actually buy merchandise and music from the artists you love in addition to supporting them on social media and streaming platforms, because that’s where it really counts. Meanwhile, check out a few of our favorite artist-curated mixtapes on Spotify below.
1. Courtney Barnett
Courtney Barnett fans are in for a real treat should they decide to pay her artist page a visit. The Aussie indie rocker updates her “tell me what you’re listening to” playlist (linked below) regularly, and it’s usually filled to the brim with a wide range of genres and styles. As of this writing, the most recent addition landed on the playlist only a week ago, while last month Barnett added cuts by everyone from Amy Winehouse to Thundercat.
2. Faye Webster
Everyone’s favorite Atlantan indie rocker Faye Webster has created a delightful playlist called “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.” It includes some of her peers (like Becca Mancari and Sam Evian) as well as some of her forefathers and mothers like Kurt Vile, Blake Mills and Courtney Barnett. All in all, it’s a solid indie rock playlist.
3. Fleet Foxes
If you follow Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold on social media (or if you’re just a fan of the band in general), you know he’s a man of varied and eclectic tastes. His wide-ranging interests shine through on two of Fleet Foxes’ artist-curated playlists, one of which lists the songs and artists that inspired the band’s most recent album Crack-Up (linked below). There you’ll find everything from Radiohead to Judee Sill. Their “Fleet Foxes Selects” playlist from 2017 also features a treasure trove of artists, like Nina Simone and Sonic Youth.
4. Future Islands
Future Islands, who have a new album out next month, have a nearly eight-hours-long playlist on Spotify reserved for road trips. It’s called “Songs To Drive To,” and it features an incredible variation of artists and genres. One minute you’re listening to an old Deerhunter cut and the next you’re bumping to ABBA’s “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!”
5. Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
Jason Isbell and his band members in the 400 Unit curated a short but affecting playlist earlier this year featuring both classic legacy artists and new favorites. There you’ll find picks by Black Sabbath and James Brown as well as their Nashville neighbor Aaron Lee Tasjan and even a Supergrass song.
6. Phoebe Bridgers
Indie-folk figurehead Phoebe Bridgers also keeps her artist picks playlist updated regularly. She last added a song (Arlo Parks’ “Hurt) to her playlist “catch me inside” (created at the start of the pandemic) 10 days ago. Elsewhere on the indoor voices mixtape you’ll hear songs by her Dead Oceans labelmate Fenne Lilly, emo-folk stalwarts Pinegrove and plenty of her peers like Soccer Mommy, Hop Along and Waxahatchee. But there’s no shortage of classics, either: John Prine, Bob Dylan and Yo La Tengo are all in attendance, too.
7. Valerie June
Americana/soul singer/songwriter Valerie June has one of the most detailed playlists I could find while scouring Spotify. Her mixtape, titled “Young, Gifted, and Black,” was released amid the June protests following George Floyd’s death. It features a host of budding Black artists and established names alike, including Paste favorites Brittany Howard and The War And Treaty. If you’re looking to add some new faces to your regular rotation, this playlist is the perfect place to start, as it also features tons of up-and-comers like Sunny War and Kaia Kater.
Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield may have the most robust collection of curated playlists among those listed here. Her “springtime cowgirl” playlist from this year features country queens like The Chicks and Kacey Musgraves, while her “good morning” assemblage features a group of energizing tunes like Caroline Polachek’s “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings” and HAIM’s “The Steps.”
Whitney’s Max Kakacek and Julien Ehrlich have inspiration playlists listed on their page for both their 2019 LP Forever Turned Around and this year’s covers album Candid. Peek inside their brains with songs by Dolly Parton, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Nina Simone and more (talk about a variation!).
Wilco’s “Wilco Recommends” playlist is updated semi-regularly and always includes a nice mix of music. The most recent haul includes Fiona Apple, Bob Dylan, Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Faye Webster (who’s also on this list!) and plenty more.