Man wearing santa claus outfit and headphones

Streaming Providers Need a Holiday Music Toggle

Whether you prefer Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, or otherwise, the frequency in which you listen to songs and the actions you take to identify what you like drive what these services recommend for you in the future. When it comes to selecting genres of music, particular styles, or artists, this can come in real handy though algorithmic recommendations. No longer must you rely on the programming director of your local terrestrial radio station. Now, your music is curated to match your tastes and preferences.

While it’s great to have a computer suggest, or automatically play next, there is one type of music that can really throw you off your groove: out-of-season holiday music.

If you’ve ever been jamming along to Empire of the Sun in mid-January, only to be bombarded by Mannheim Steamroller, you know what I mean. Immediately, you feel regret for every “liking” that song, or even placing it on your “Holiday Playlist.” This morning, I learned that a friend refuses to play holiday music from his personal account to prevent this very scenario from unfolding.

Like other music, though, we do have preferences. Brian Setzer’s Christmas Spectacular may not be for everyone, and others may not be into Wrapping Paper by the Waitresses. We have preferences for our music during the holidays, just as we do during other times of the year. So, these algorithms for suggested programming should be helpful then, too. But what about in the off-season, the other 10 months of the year?

To solve this, I propose that all digital music contain a binary filter in its meta data: “Holiday Music.” This will allow listeners to toggle between “Holiday Only, No Holiday, and Some Holiday” as the wish, confident that Lizzo won’t interrupt their Christmas cocktail party, and Nat King Cole won’t crash their beech vibe the following spring.

What do you think? Does holiday music ever invade your music queue at the wrong time of the year? How do you cope? Leave a comment below.

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