Apple Music's latest initiative provides profound insight into how the deaf develop their musical preferences. In developing Apple Music's "A Playlist Curated by Deaf People," the streaming giant engaged deaf curators to discover their favorite songs.
Electronic music producers including Mura Masa, Kaytranada, and The Chainsmokers all made the cut in this wide-ranging playlist. The popularity of record-breaking releases such as the latter's single "Closer"—even among the deaf—lends credence to the age-old adage that music is truly a universal language.
Interestingly, many curators cite the unique vibrations generated from rumbling baselines as a factor in determining which songs they enjoy. Others cite their understanding of a song's lyrics through reading the artist's lips as a determining factor. Still there are others who prefer to dance and are able to assess the danceability of a track based on their ability to feel the sound waves of the song's drums and rhythms as they travel through space.
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Jessica Flores explained how “I Got 5 on It,” by Luniz stuck with her after she developed a familiarity with how the beat feels. "I first heard this song when I was 13, but without being able to hear the words, I couldn’t figure out the title or artist," Flores recalled. "Years later, this song started playing at a house party and my eyes lit up. Even though I still couldn’t hear the words, it was pretty dope that I still remembered the feeling of the beat."
The initiative was inspired by the Sundance award-winning Apple TV+ original movie CODA, which follows the fictional story of an artist born to two deaf parents. As the only hearing member of her family, Ruby struggles to balance the needs of her family with pursuing her own artistic dreams.
You can peruse the full playlist here.