4 Great Road Trip Playlists Data-Crunched from the Crowd

Road Trip Playlists

We counted 111,690 Spotify playlists earlier this month with the words “road trip” or “roadtrip” in their titles — oodles of great music that Spotify users have chosen with long-distance driving specifically in mind.

To channel that sea of music into four playlists you can listen to, we first identified the 500 most popular songs in Spotify road trip playlists. As interesting as it is to know that folks enjoy driving to these songs, this playlist is all over the place, musically speaking. To make sense of those 33 hours of tunes, Ajay Kalia, Product Owner of Taste Profiles at Spotify, first normalized them for popularity, to filter out the ones that were probably included in road trip playlists just because they’re popular, not because they’re particularly great road trip songs.

That gave us a better playlist of 200 essential road trip songs — still over 12 hours of music, from a hodgepodge of styles, so we clustered all of that music using 1255 music genres.

“Starting with the full list, we used artist-similarity ‘clusters’ to create playlists capturing a general style of music, like classic rock, indie folk and pop music,” explains Ajay.

The upshot of all of this human curation, big data music intelligence, and Ajay’s number crunching: four great road trip playlists ready for you to take on your next trip:

Mellow Gold Road Trip reflects the fact that that lots of people like to drive to popular rock from the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, plus other music that sounds like that:


Pop Road Trip is where you’ll find popular, familiar music, mostly from the charts, and most of it having been released after the year 2000:


Acoustic Rock Road Trip features singer-songwriter music and rock songs, especially acoustic-influenced songs from harder bands (e.g. Incubus’ “Drive”, Foo Fighters “Everlong” acoustic), which lots of people like to hear on road trips:


Power Trip has the road trip songs from genres that tend to over-index among our power users:


For more road trip fun, be sure to try Road Trip Mixtape, from the legendary Paul Lamere, Director of Developer Platform for The Echo Nest, part of the Spotify family. This amazing web app lets you enter any two cities, and it outputs a list of music by artists from the places you’ll be driving through on your trip.


(Image courtesy of Flickr/worak)