Earlier this year, before the demise of Google Play Music, I moved to YouTube Music to see if had improved from the first time I tried it. It hadn’t, and I was disappointed. Fast-forward to today, and I’ve still been using YTM—albeit begrudgingly. But as much as I’ve trashed it as a pathetic streaming music service over the last half-year, it recently got a killer feature that I love: Mixes.
What Are Mixes on YouTube Music?
Back at the end of 2019, YouTube Music got curated Discovery Mix, New Release Mix, and Your Mix playlists. The idea was to offer personalized playlists geared toward music discovery. The “Mixed for You” playlists are an expansion of the Your Mix playlist, expanding it from just one huge playlist to multiple more defined playlists. The Your Mix playlist is still available, too, but is now called “My Supermix.”
If you load up YTM and scroll down the main page a bit, you’ll see the “Mixed for You” section. There are seven mix variations here, alongside the Supermix. In short, these are revolving stations/playlists that are specifically curated by your listening history.
Mine are broken up mostly by genre, though the overlap on some Mixes is the best part. I listen mostly to rock, hard rock, metal, bluegrass, and rap (I’m eclectic, y’all) for pleasure, but I often throw ambient, electronic, and binaural beats into the mix while I’m working if I’m having a hard time focusing. Each Mix plays off of my listening history, with each one either taking on a new genre or flowing between similar genres.
So, for example, My Mix 1 consists of artists like Ghost (rock), TOOL (rock), The Dead South (bluegrass), and Gojira (metal). It’s an excellent mix that’s perfect when I don’t know what I want to listen to. My Mix 2 is similar, but gets heavier with bands like The Devil Wears Prada (metal), Make Them Suffer (metal), Oh Sleeper (metal), and…well, you get the idea. That Mix is as heavy as a tank and I love it.
From there, my Mixes ebb and flow through the different genres I listen to most often, with each playlist offering a slightly different vibe from the last. Mixes are great when you can’t decide what to listen to, but the Supermix is perfect for when you can’t even decide between Mixes—it’s basically a mix of all your Mixes in one. If your listening tastes are anything like mine, some of the transitions from song to song will really throw the brain for a loop. I dig it so hard.
Okay, But Are They Actually Good?
This sort of automatic playlist curation isn’t new, of course—if you’ve used other music streaming services (like Spotify), then you’ve almost certainly encountered something similar. And while I can’t speak to how well YouTube Music’s implementation compares to any other service, I can tell you that it’s really good.
Mix after Mix, YouTube Music just seems to nail my taste. Each one is a…mix…of both artists and songs I’m familiar with along with plenty that I’m not. I’ve found all sorts of new tracks thanks to YTM’s brilliant algorithms. And it’s not just me, either—I’ve talked with several people on Twitter who told me the same thing.
Also, these playlists are dynamic (which is why I generally think of them as “stations” instead of direct playlists). By that, I mean they’re more like daily mixes—each Mix rarely plays the same tracks day after day. This keeps things fresh and constantly introduces new artists and songs, so there’s always something different.
I’ve been quick to snap at YouTube Music for being a lesser-than service compared to other music apps—and even the one it replaced (Google Play Music)—so I’m happy to finally have a truly killer feature here. After months of using YouTube Music and wishing it was just better, this is a step in the right direction.
Mixed for You is available on both the web and mobile app—check it out for yourself by hitting the box below.