Last Updated: July 16th
Spotify is filled with users (including Spotify itself) who put in the effort to curate playlists that feature the right songs for the right mood, or perhaps what’s most current so you can be an informed fan. There are thousands and thousands of playlists, though, so let us help you out: Here are some of the best playlists on Spotify that check a variety of boxes, that will keep you in the loop, and that will expose you to some great stuff you may not have discovered otherwise.
RapCaviar (Hip-Hop, by Spotify)
This playlist is so famous that it’s been called “the most influential playlist in music,” and for good reason: It always has a pulse on what the rap hits of the moment are, and what songs are poised to break out real soon. If somebody in rap is doing something that matters right now, you’ll find it on Rap Caviar.
Top Pop (Pop, by Spotify)
2020 has been a huge year for pop music, and Spotify’s official pop playlist has fans covered. Their 100-song “Top Pop” mix has everything from Lady Gaga’s recent bangers to the tunes that have made Tones And I a star to throwback-style hits from Dua Lipa and The Weeknd. Pop can be the perfect cure for a frowning face, so throw this 5-hour mix on and dance your troubles away.
KEXP’s Song Of The Day 2020 (Indie, by KEXP)
Tastemaking is a big part of indie music fandom, and Seattle radio station KEXP has long been a leader on that front. So, naturally, their Song Of The Day playlist tends to be a strong mix of modern indie hits along with some new stuff in the same realm that might not have been brought to your attention. Once you’ve played your way through this one, you can also check out their Song Of The Day playlist from last year and the years before to fall in love with some gems that you may have missed out on.
The Motherf*cking Future (Various genres, by Charli XCX)
Charli XCX keeps an ear out for the stars that might be coming up behind her. Though she’s certainly busy creating new music, Charli has still managed to find time to continually update this extraordinary playlist, playfully dubbed “the motherf*cking future,” which features mostly women who are currently on top of their game, or artists from the past who were way ahead of their time. If there’s a great new pop song building momentum, it’s probably on here. And Charli doesn’t discriminate between indie, trendy, popular, or commercially successful — if it’s good pop music that sounds like the future, it’s here.
Gold School (Hip-Hop, by Spotify)
If you’re one of the proud few who look down their nose at “SoundCloud rap” and crave the good old days of “real hip-hop,” well then, this playlist is for you. Peppered with hits from the early decades of rap right on down to the late 2000s, there’s plenty of DMX, 50 Cent, Ludacris, Outkast and more to sate your tates for the golden era days. And even if you like modern rap songs, it’s nice to have a trip down memory lane is always just a click away.
The Longest Mixtape: 1000 Songs For You (Various genres, by Caribou)
If you’re making a mixtape for somebody, it usually only has somewhere between 10-20 songs so as to not overwhelm the recipient. Caribou took a significantly opposite approach: In 2015, he shared “The Longest Mixtape,” which features over 1,000 songs. Caribou (real name Dan Smith) has called it “a musical history of my life,” and since he’s somebody who’s spent a lot of time poring over old vinyl and other musical oddities, there are surely some engaging picks among the thousand songs here.
New Music Friday (Pop/Hip-Hop/Indie, by Spotify)
Spotify’s in-house playlists are a reliable way to keep up with what’s current, and there’s no better example of that than their New Music Friday playlist. Ever week, they make sure the mix’s followers are up to date on what’s new in the music world, whether it’s new tracks from mega-stars or stuff that’s just off the beaten path.
Indie / Bedroom Pop (Indie, by BIRP!)
BIRP!’s goal is simple and noble: Every month, the site compiles a playlist that features over a hundred songs, mostly indie rock and indie pop, and although there are some familiar anchors, I can virtually guarantee that you haven’t heard most of what’s going on in these seven-or-so hours. It’s a wonderful opportunity for discovery, and one that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Dreampop/Shoegaze/Lo-Fi Buffet (Indie, by Chris Chan)
Some playlists are meant to be carefully curated experiences that have a narrative or aesthetic flow… and then there’s this behemoth. This 600-plus-song, 42-hour playlist was created in 2011, and although it was last updated in 2017, there’s still more than enough meat here to sink your teeth into, especially for fans of dreamy indie music like Beach House and that sort of thing. As Chan notes in his description, this playlist is best experienced on shuffle mode, so consider it a stocked pond where you can throw your line anywhere and come up with a big ol’ fish.
lofi hip hop beats – music to study/relax to (Lo-fi, by Chillhop Music)
You know those YouTube live streams that play chilled out, instrumental hip-hop around the clock, the ones that usually have screenshots of an anime character studying as the thumbnail? This is basically one of those in Spotify playlist form. It’s updated pretty regularly, so feel free to rely on this if you’re trying to concentrate on something, or even if you’re just trying to bob your head to some beats and don’t want lyrics getting in the way.
Soundtracks For Studying (Instrumental, by Katie O’Brien)
This is another studying playlist, although it’s much different than the previous one: It’s not updated as often (although it does seem to get some attention every few months), but it doesn’t need to be, considering it already has over 50 hours of film scores for you to throw on shuffle and let blur everything that’s going on in the background while you zero in on the task at hand. Sometimes songs with a beat can be too much, and in those cases, welcome home.
Indigo (Country, by Spotify)
Country, like all genres, is multifaceted, so while there’s the mainstream radio pop country, there are also artists pushing the genre in a different direction, downplaying and emphasizing different parts of the organic sound to create something different. Spotify keeps a solid mix of these adventurers up to date, so give it a whirl when your country craving is feeling a bit left of pop.
If It Wasn’t For Gucci (Hip-Hop, by Spotify)
Credit where credit is due — Gucci Mane’s imprint on modern hip-hop is unf*ckwithable. This playlists spotlights some of the Atlanta icon’s best collaborations and most important contributions to the trap-rap canon. It’s also a perfect party playlist if you happen to be with a group of like-minded hip-hop lovers.
Sad Indie (Indie, by Spotify)
Let’s be real, half the time when people are looking for “indie” music, they’re looking for a vibe. And, my friend, half the time, that vibe is sad. The chilled out, blue bliss of soft vocals, sweeping strings, towering drums, and tear-stained lyrics. And if that’s what you’re after, you’ve come to the right place by simply typing “sad indie” into your own personal Spotify account. Let the wallowing begin.
[Emoji-filled title] (Electronic, by Four Tet)
Four Tet’s primary Spotify playlist (the name of which is an unpronounceable string of emojis and other non-letter characters) is famous for sometimes debuting new Four Tet songs, but it’s much more than that: He adds to it all the time, and since he’s one of the most interesting thinkers in music, his ever-expanding mix (which is currently has more than 1,400 songs and is over 120 hours long) is a fascinating and entertaining insight into his curious brain.
Played by Jamie xx (Electronic/Dance, by Jamie xx)
This playlist used to be a lot larger, but Jamie xx has rebooted it for 2020 and started over from scratch. It used to consist of songs that he’d played during DJ gigs or on the radio. Given the ongoing pandemic, though, the mix now features “some of what I’ve been playing out and at home, new and old.” Since he’s established himself as a fine curator and remixer, this should be considered a hand-picked gift from one of today’s best electronic producers.
Walk In Like You Own The Place (Hip-Hop, by Spotify)
If there’s one thing we know about playlists it’s that they’re all about mood. This playlist is one that the kids affectionately call a “BIG” mood, because yes, “walk in like you own the place” is its own aesthetic. Especially in hip-hop. And sometimes you need it in your life, like right before that big job interview or say, a particularly nerve-wracking date or work presentation. Throw on Kanye, Kendrick, Rick Ross, and Drake to get in the appropriate head space. Then, take over the world.
Viva Latino (Latin, by Spotify)
Latin music has found its place in the hearts of listeners worldwide more and more in recent years. Artists like Ozuna, J Balvin, Bad Bunny, and others are a pivotal part of the many styles that make up pop music today, which makes keeping tabs on what these international artists are up to a must.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.