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Digital life: How being a music anorak is a click away

With hundreds of hours of new tunes released each week, how can you ensure you don't miss out on the choicest cuts? Spotify has released two new tools to help you do just that. Katie Wright tunes in and turns on the sounds

You know those irritatingly smug people who claim to have been listening to the biggest bands since Day One? Who had the t-shirt, the EP and the mixtape before the band even signed a deal? Well, soon you can be one of them.

Spotify's latest launch, known as the Sorting Hat, is described by creator Glenn McDonald as an "experimental attempt at an algorithmic organisation of the week's new releases". They call it a tool, but it's actually surprisingly low-tech; essentially a bunch of lists on a long, no-frills web page that's updated every Friday (

For instance, during one week in September, there were 6,359 releases split into 250 "clusters" from indie rock and folk pop, to lesser-known genres like brostep and hurban (Hispanic urban, obviously).

All you have to do is scroll through the list (or use CTRL+F to search for keywords) and you'll find links to all the songs, EPs and albums on Spotify for your listening pleasure.

This is where it got a bit buggy - I ended up searching for songs in the site's webplayer because the links didn't always work.

It takes a bit more effort than, for example, having the top 50 playlist on blog aggregation site Hype Machine ( play in the background while you work, but it certainly makes it easier to navigate the week's latest releases.

This isn't the only feature the streaming service has just unleashed for music geeks.

Found Them First, a much slicker project, uses your listening history to determine which mega-selling musicians you streamed before they were famous. To make the cut, artists must have achieved a growth rate of at least 2,000% since 2013 - breakthrough songstresses Lorde and FKA twigs are pictured on the site.

Spotify says less than 15% of listeners are considered early-adopters, but clearly I'm not one of them. A big blue message flashes up telling me I definitely "haven't discovered any new artists".

Not to worry, Spotify has created a lovely little playlist of people who might just make it big one day for me anyway.

After all, righteous smugness is just a few clicks away.

Belfast Telegraph


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