Ever scrolled through Instagram or Twitter and given a few unliked posts some love, just to brighten their owner's day? Or do you often find yourself wanting to stray from Spotify's well-beaten paths to hear something that nobody – not even one person – has ever played?
If you always root for the underdog (and who doesn't?) and you believe popularity is usually the hallmark of mediocrity, Forgotify is for you.
According to data Spotify released in October 2019, well over 4 million songs in its catalog have never been listened to – no, not even once. Think of the myriad obscure artists out there (possibly even from decades gone by) that you might just fall in love with if only you randomly happened upon them!
After all, how many young listeners had never heard Kate Bush's incredible vocal gymnastics until Stranger Things: Season 4 gave her the fresh platform she so emphatically deserved?
Forgotify has actually been gaining traction since 2014 (which is before Apple Music was even a thing, just FYI), when Lane Jordan heard the striking fact that around 20 percent of tracks on Spotify have precisely zero plays. Along with his friends J Hausmann and Nate Gagnon, they built Forgotify, a discovery engine for Spotify's unplayed tracks.
The trio created the database to trawl Spotify's API for tracks with a play count of zero – the equivalent of nil points if you're a Eurovision Song Contest nerd – and then bring them to you.
And the best bit? Once a song has been played by you, its play count goes up to one and thus, it disappears from Forgotify's site (although of course, it'll still be on Spotify) which means two things: first, you have given that artist or act a very small $0.003 - $0.005 streaming fee; and second, unless that track suddenly takes off in a big way, you may be the only person in history ever to stream it.
Opinion: one for obscure music fans – and I love it
The catalog of unplayed songs is, as you might expect, somewhat bizarre, but my favorites are the decades-old albums hiding away on here; the ones you can imagine as vinyl records just sat gathering dust in Spotify's endless virtual stock room.
Unlike Spotify, Tidal, and most of the best music streaming services out there, Forgotify's algorithm does not take into account what you currently listen to, although it does try to mix up eras and genres so you're not getting three 1940s doo-wop songs or several '90s grunge tracks on the bounce – remember, it's all about the music that no one has ever heard on Spotify.
Over the past two hours, Forgotify's random picks for me have included Marseille Dans Le Brouillard by Sylvain Yardin, the title track on the 2010 album (you might think at least the title track might get a play, but no… although of course it has now); the soft-rock Where Were You by Skapegoat, from the 2007 album Dawn Of A New Death; and Down-Hearted Blues by Mildred Bailey & Her Alley Cats on the album The Rockin' Chair Lady recorded from 1931-1950, which was undoubtedly my winner – like Doris Day, but bluesier and even more soulful and cheeky.
I actually became a little outraged that Mildred Bailey isn't a household name, but a deeper dive into Spotify's wider catalog reveals that a few of her other offerings have garnered several thousand plays, and of course, many more thousands of music-lovers may be spinning that record at home unbeknown to me… so I feel slightly better.
I've enjoyed German house, big-band swing, classical concertos, ska, hip-hop, bhangra… yes, there were a few misses in there, but sometimes it's nice to be liberated of the burden of choice. Whatever Forgotify has given me, I have played, and it's been fun.
Also, I discovered Mildred, and I'm not losing her now…