Freelancer's Friend
A Spotify Playlist

For me, the biggest advantage of working for myself is the freedom to soundtrack my workday as I see fit. Music has always been a major part of my work life. In fact, some of my earliest (and arguably most enjoyable) jobs were in Birmingham's best record stores. I was slinging vinyl at Carbon Music, Massive Records and HMV throughout my early twenties and thought I was the coolest nerd around during the mid 2000s. Couple those naive days with my more cynical years spent as an also-ran-DJ and sort-of producer, and nowadays if the room isn't rumbling whilst I'm working then I'm unable to hit my stride as comfortably as I usually would backed by some beats.

Anybody that has visited the Panama Design Co. studio can't fail to notice how important music is to my creative process. The shelves of vinyl behind my desk are a decent clue, as are the 1210s set up just within reach to keep music playing throughout the day. I love vinyl, but more recently I've been allowing myself to move over to streaming more and more. I'm by no means a vinyl purist, but I'd always held platforms like Spotify in fairly low regard, citing their rubbish payments to artists as some kind of high-horsed solidarity reason to avoid giving them any cash. Whilst there may be some truth to this (I'm not going to get into it here), there's a lot to be said for music discovery via streaming platforms, and Spotify does an especially good job of this if you're willing to put in the work.

And let me tell you... I have been putting in the work! I joined Spotify Premium a few months ago and so far I'm shocked. Not only by the amount of music I listen to on any given day, but also by the amount of new music that it has helped me to discover. I always thought of myself as quite the crate digger. And that's where the idea for a Freelancer's Friend playlist came from. After all, things are better when you share them, right?

So what's the plan with this?

In short I don't really have one. At the moment the playlist is made up of pretty much every track I've found and liked. It's not in any particular running order and I've found it's a lot more fun if you just hit shuffle and let it go. Admittedly some of it is hard work and I doubt very much you'll make it more than a few tracks before mashing the skip button, but I'd encourage you not to if you can help it. There's some real hidden gems in there that just need to bed in a little bit. It's eclectic too. One minute you'll be vibing to some MF DOOM and the next you'll be skanking to some chopped up Amen breaks. I don't really do run of the mill so don't expect any Arianna Swift or Coldpl... sorry I dozed off for a moment.

Hit the play button on the embedded player up there or go to Spotify and give it a like so you can listen to it on the go. The embedded player only allows 100 tracks max and I've added almost five times that at the time of writing and I'll keep on adding at a similar rate going forward. You should be able to scan the image below as well and find me in the app if you're feeling extra lazy.

There's more comin'

As I said above, at the moment the playlist is made up of everything I've liked and discovered based on what Spotify has sent my way to date. I've not really dug in and hunted out every classic I can think of or tried to find the digital equivalent of every record that I own. But that's not to say I won't do that. At some point, work permitting, I will attempt to curate this larger list into some more genre-specific, smaller ones. And I'll also put together one that captures all of my vinyl too - although that will be a job for the dark winter nights as there's, well... a lot. Until then though, you will have to make do with just the 40 hours of 'expertly crafted' music. You too can have a Panama Party in your place of workship. Enjoy!

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About the Author

Aaron is a graphic designer based in the UK. He works out of a small self-built studio in the Worcestershire countryside and specialises in brand, print, and digital design.

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