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How to make a Fandom playlist

Updated: Apr 7, 2020

Music is life and as such, it can help put you by putting your mind in the right space for writing, drawing and general everyday bus rides. I'm addicted to playlists.

Back in my iPod days, I would create them with whatever I had available and whatever I could get from others. It was a tad limiting as I didn't have a lot of options. Most of the time, the same song would end up on multiple playlists.

Now, however, there are music streaming services.


Now we have a different problem.



Never fear, I got you covered. I have been making playlists since the early 2000's and before if you count mixed tapes. (Feeling old now...)

Here are my playlist creation tips for

Fandom, Fanfiction and Fun times!

Identify overlapping themes

When I wrote Piquancy and phantasm with my lovely co-author Ghostlyhauntings, I knew the overlapping theme would be murder and criminal infatuation. So I made a playlist called "Dark Inspiration" where I put together any song that fit in this universe. Not only did I take songs about death but I picked up songs of understanding and acceptance of one's darkness along with songs having an uneasy comfort with the fact that you were rooting for a person who you should, by all means, condemn.

I also searched for songs with a theme of hybristophilia (attraction to people with criminal tendencies) along with the killer mindset. As messed up as this sounds, this is my groundwork for my playlist

I highly recommend you think about your plot and search for common themes. Are we talking about something heartbreaking, adventurous, weird? Will there be a deep existential crisis or coming of age goodness? Think about it and write down and then think of the songs that move you to think about the theme in question.

To Ship or Not to Ship

Not all fanfiction is dark and gloomy, nor is it all erotic fiction like most of the general public believes. There is however A LOT of romance, fluff, and erotic fiction... and I do mean a lot.

By the way, I'm a sucker for a good romance. I didn't want you to think I was against it and I'm glad there is a lot of the shippy goodness out there. I do believe we need more and music does a fantastic job of setting the mood.

So, now you have to ask yourself the following questions.

  • Will your story have a relationship that spans the entirety of the story? If so what is their relationship?

  • Is this a buddy cop story? A cat and mouse? Complete platonic or are your characters romantically involved? Will there be smut or fluff?

  • Explore songs that identity that type of relationship

  • Character music preferences

What does your character listen to?

  • Think of genre. Who is their favorite artist? Do they have a favorite song?

  • Are they American? Asian? European? I can keep going….

  • Dig deep into their upbringing. What kind of music would they have listened to as a kid?

  • American culture is filled with different genres. Example: My playlist for Romy Fics has a lot of country-western music in there while my Beetlebabes list has a lot of 80’s goth rock and synth.

Character point of view?

  • How do they see the world or the events that will transpire in the story?

  • Are they angry at the world and listen to NIN and Manson? Are they overly romantic and listen to Michael Bolton? Are they overdramatic about everything around them or do they simply “let it be”

Source Material Music!

  • Soundtrack songs

  • Scores

  • Similar composure music or sound a likes

  • Songs your character may have mentioned in cannon

Cover Me!

  • Now that you have songs from above… why not look for covers of these tunes?

  • Looks up cover bands like Postmodern Jukebox or pop goes punk.

Wrangle Spotify till you find alternative versions in genres you like, I did this with Snakewater Conspiracy Theory and Hidden Citizens. (I highly recommend the second one, dude…..)

Check out other people’s playlists too!

  • Seriously follow fandom playlists on Spotify.

  • Ask your friends for their lists

You can follow these tips to make generic playlists for your pairings or detailed playlists for complex chapters.

Sometimes it’s nice to let people know that a playlist exists for fanfic. Hell, let me know! I love these things.

If you want to follow my playlists, I’m under the name Zelly on Spotify. I have several different fandoms going right now and a bunch of random tunes. It’s a lot of fun to make these lists.

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