Running alongside the Potomac River this past Wednesday afternoon, I had one of those thoughts that seems revelatory when high from either drugs or running, but obvious any other time: In the utopian future, we’ll make no decisions. Call it the cresting of the stream or the resolution of the paradox of the choice; the idea is that after the Internet has overwhelmed so many of us with so many options about so many things, the innovations to come will ease the burden of indecision. Here’s what you need to know, say newly trendy newsletters; here’s what you’re going to eat, say meal-delivery services. And now, here’s what you’re going to listen to while you sweat off brunch, says the new Spotify, the cause of this particular endorphin rush.
Though I try not to get too worked up about any app’s messianic marketing material, I couldn't help but be a little intrigued by the promotional video for Spotify’s new features for runners, unveiled at a press conference on Wednesday. Music, study after study has shown, can improve a person’s exercise routine by motivating, distracting, and pushing the body’s tempo. I’ve found this to be the case, but I’ve also found it tougher than expected to pick the correct music to achieve the desired effect. For me at least, it’s got to be fast-paced, be interesting and distinctive enough to occupy the brain, and maybe offer a few whooshing climaxes and motivational lyrics. I tend to overplay albums that fit the bill (it’s stressful to encounter a Disclosure song in the wild now, for example), never remember to make playlists ahead of time, and am constantly irritated by what radio stations choose to play. Spotify, save me from this first-world problem!