Broadcasting, Programming

Creating Road Trip Playlists

Road trips and music go hand in hand, as music provides the soundtrack to an experience that a majority of people take part in at some point in their lives. Whether it's a road trip through and through, a drive to get to a vacation destination, or a short and simple trip, music is likely a key element. With this in mind as a broadcaster, you might consider catering some of your programming towards road trips. After all, road trips are a year-round thing, so creating a station dedicated to road trips or adding in some special programming every once in awhile makes sense.

It's likely that many of us can recall at least one moment when we've been in the car and especially enjoyed a specific song or collection of songs. There's just a certain euphoria that can come with it. So, what makes for a perfect road trip playlist? And, what music is ideal? Using Spotify’s API, LeaseFetcher collected information about more than 1.1 million tracks from "road trip" playlists on Spotify to find out what really makes great road trip music.

After pulling the most playlisted tracks and ranking them in the top 200 list, they found that most road trip songs:

  • Tend to be in the pop genre
  • Are danceable, and have high energy & tempo
  • Last 3-5 minutes
  • Are from the 2010s

That's not to say that there aren't some classics in the most playlisted tracks though. In fact, the top 4 were all made in the 1970s and 80s:

  1. "Hotel California" - Eagles (1976)
  2. "Sweet Home Alabama" - Lynyrd Skynyrd (1974)
  3. "Africa" - TOTO (1982)
  4. "Highway to Hell" - AC/DC (1979)

Aside from the classics, some other songs that topped the list are: Foster The People's "Pumped Up Kicks," The Chainsmokers' "Closer (feat. Halsey)," Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Californication," Billie Eilish's "bad guy," and Panic! At The Disco's "High Hopes." You can check out the entire list here.

With such research out there, it's pretty clear what generally makes for an excellent road trip playlist. And as a broadcaster, you can make use of this research when programming your own station. You might find the characteristics of good road trip music helpful in discovering new tracks for a fantastic playlist, and/or you might find the top 200 list useful for selecting staple songs. Whatever the case may be, you can count on creating some top-notch programming to accompany your listeners on their road trips around the world.

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Article Image: mihtiander via DepositPhotos.

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About Michelle Ruoff

  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania