It’s happening. Someone has created Spotify, but for fictional artists from film and TV
Whether you’re a Penny Lane to Almost Famous’ Stillwater or head over heels for bands who bought you such hits as Baby on Board, we have the site for you.
- Liz Gorny
- 8 April 2022
The Blues Brothers, Spinal Tap, Hannah Montana; the silver screen is full of musicians whose brief back catalogue remains lodged in our brain long after the credits roll. Until now, the music within cinema has mainly stuck to the confines of the film – partly out of shame of permitting songs from Wayne’s World to end up in our regular rotation – but Alex Cassidy is hoping to change all that with Spotifictional.
A newly launched site, Spotifictional attempts to bring together some of the hundreds of fictional bands, artists and songs “‘nested’ in television and film”, Alex says, “allowing you to listen and discover these meta-gems in one place”. On what sparked the fantastic idea, Alex explains: “I’ve always liked the meta-ness of nesting fictional creations within shows, whether that’s sports teams like the Miami Sharks in Any Given Sunday or books like An Imperial Affliction in Fault in our Stars. When I saw Nestflix last summer, I was immediately impressed with how clever an approach it was showing them through a pretend version of a streaming service.” After dusting off a rewatch of Community, “which has the fictional band Natalie is Freezing as a plot point”, Alex discovered there were databases like Rocklopedia Fakebandica gathering info on music in films, but no one had created a fake platform to discover them all in one place – Nestflix-style – just yet.
So, naturally, Alex stepped in. Spotifictional is satisfyingly similar to Spotify and easy to navigate, allowing users to actually play music by linking each imaginary artist out to a real YouTube or Spotify page. It also features a form for readers to submit bands that the site is currently missing, a research process Alex says has already begun on Reddit. At first, Alex created a site that leaned closer to a database, with less “overt Spotify design elements”, but after landing poorly on Reddit, the site needed a change of direction.
“The appeal in both Nestflix and Spotifictional is that it gives you the impression of being a real service, with the in-joke of knowing it’s a ‘fake’ band,” Alex explains. “Once I settled on doing less detail and more design, the most important part was ensuring the bands had artwork that resembled a real album or single, that element makes it feel like you’re scrolling through a streaming service rather than looking at a dispassionate list of fictional bands.”
The process of gathering a range of fictional music also made Alex realise how “expertly realised” a lot of fake album covers are, deceiving viewers (this author included) into thinking made-up bands are real. One such example being Inside Llewyn Davis’ album covers. “They pay such attention to detail that you would have no idea they didn’t exist, and as a result, it gives the impression that there’s an entire world of music to discover in that universe that you’ll never hear. But the music you do hear in that is pretty great too.” We can’t wait to revisit some of the hits with Spotifictional, with one request as it gets off the ground: please add The School of Rock back catalogue immediately.
Alex Cassidy: Spotifictional. Black Mirror, Ashley O (Copyright © Endemol Shine UK, 2011)
About the Author
Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. After graduating in Film from The University of Bristol, she worked freelance, writing for independent publications such as Little White Lies, INDIE magazine and design studio Evermade.