Forgotify: Discovering undiscovered music

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The ultimate in music discovery? Forgotify is based on a startling Spotify factoid that was revealed in the service’s fifth birthday anniversary last year: 20 percent of its vast music catalog goes unheard — not even a single play. That could be more than four-million suffocating tracks.

When we learned about Spotify’s neglected long tail, we suggested a playlist of all those tracks (that would be a whopping playlist). It would dynamically adjust: any track, when played, would instantly drop off the list. Users could vie for an Explorer Award for listening to the most unheard music. We still think Spotify should do that, or something, to awaken that huge unheard catalog.

Meanwhile, Forgotify leaps into the breach with a delightful interface consisting of Play and Net buttons … and not much else. There’s no sign-in or self-identification. You do need to have Spotify running to hear the music.

We fired it up. The first (presumably random) selection was a compilation of old-world Greek musicians singing folk songs and playing primitive bagpipes. We love world-roots music, as it happens, so we let the album play. Venturing the Next button after a while, we got Armando Trovajoli’s 1971 album, queued up to “When I Hear My Mother Sing a Song.” We swiftly reached for the Next button. Up came Petra Janu’s 1978 collection of bouncy Czechoslovakian pop.

So it went as hopeless addiction settled in. Hope of finding a diamond in the rough is part of the appeal. Love of the unusual is necessary. And the explorer’s urge to plant a flag in newly discovered musical territory is part of the fun. Go try it. Highly recommended. Wake up your ears. Give some musicians a penny or two.

Brad Hill