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You should be playing Music League

Music used to be social. Then, the streamers took over. But this app brings your friends together to make music social again.

Published by Web Desk



Writing about the decline of Pitchfork made me sad about the music industry — and also about the state of music discovery. Besides the fact that TikTok doesn’t prioritize music as anything other than background noise, it means that artists have to win the viral lottery in order to make a hit. And that’s entirely out of their control.

But about two weeks ago, a friend of mine introduced me to Music League, a game where everyone in the league submits a song to a playlist, and a group of us started playing. About a day after the first one formed, I made two more: one for another friend group and one for family.

Music League makes music social in a way that social media algorithms, ironically, do not

I’ve enjoyed hearing new songs. The family league introduced me to psychedelic rockers Dead Meadow’s “Binah,” which led me to their album Force Form Free, and a friends game was the first time I heard The Exploding Hearts’ “Rumours in Town,” which got me to the sublime power pop album Guitar Romantic. I would not have encountered the songs — and certainly not the excellent albums — on my own.

Music League makes music social in a way that social media algorithms, ironically, do not. Every league I am in has a group chat that erupts when a new playlist drops, and again when the votes are in. The comments on the songs are often very funny and might be my favorite part of the game.

When I was younger, the monoculture meant that we were all listening to — more or less —the same things. (It also made “hipsters” possible, in that they could define themselves against that culture by promoting smaller, independent artists.) That sort of dissolved as streaming services came to dominate music dissemination.

Spotify’s algorithmic discovery just keeps shoveling you more of what you already like. Did you listen to Nine Inch Nails? Great, here’s some more Nine Inch Nails. Oh, you added Whitney Houston to a playlist? All the other suggested tracks for the playlist are from the same album. The personalized playlists just play back whatever you’ve been listening to most often. The effect is getting trapped in a bubble all by yourself.

It’s been a joy to hear the stories behind the picks

It’s been cathartic to burst that bubble, and not just because I’m learning about music I wouldn’t have encountered otherwise.

The app works like this: people sign up from their Spotify accounts, joining a public or private league. The league has rounds, and each round generates a playlist. The administrator of the group picks how many songs each person may submit for the round, how many points people can use to vote for the songs in the round, how many rounds there are, the themes for the rounds, and the due dates for submissions and votes.

I don’t really care about the votes. For me, it’s been a joy to hear the stories behind the picks. Sometimes my friends are trolling each other — choosing a song that strongly suggests another player selected it, for instance — and that’s pretty fun, too. Music is supposed to be shared. That’s what makes live shows electric.

Also, picking themes is extremely fun! Here are some from the leagues I am in:

Former Disney starsSpiritually important guitar solosSpaceDivorceKnifecrime IslandAOL Instant Messenger away message contentHorse crime

There have been some pretty inspired picks for these playlists! (The “Former Disney stars” category had the obvious: Ryan Gosling, Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, and Olivia Rodrigo. But also, someone submitted hair metal goofballs Cinderella.) And thinking about the themes and the audience has a kind of lovely nostalgia for me — like when I used to make mixtapes for driving to high school.

Of course, Music League isn’t a replacement for the broad cultural resonance music had when there were healthy cultural institutions that buoyed new artists. Once upon a time, there were independent radio stations, MTV played music videos, and even as late as the early 2010s, Pitchfork could still send albums up the charts. But I’ll take any reprieve I can from algorithmic sludge.

Sure, you can get competitive about the points if you want. But for me — to borrow a phrase from the absolute legend Lemmy — the pleasure is to play. And if you, too, want a break from the algorithm, I can’t recommend Music League enough.

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How to tame notifications on your Android phone

Android phones include plenty of tools to help you tune out distracting notifications. It takes a little legwork to set it all up, but you’ll be glad you did in the end.

Published by Web Desk



Notifications are the soundtrack to modern digital life. When they’re out of control, they make it hard to hear anything else going on. But if you manage them well, you can turn them into a subtle background noise. App developers want you to opt in to every notification possible, but thankfully, Android provides a lot of tools to help you tune in to the helpful stuff and tune out the distractions. It takes a little work upfront, but the payoff is worth it.

I used a Google Pixel 8 Pro running Android 14 and a Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 running One UI 6.1 to write the following guide — steps may be slightly different on other Android phones.

Notifications in the settings menu

On either a Pixel or Galaxy phone, a good place to start is by going to Settings > Notifications > App notifications. From here, you can toggle all of that app’s notifications completely on or off.

That might work for some apps, but in other cases, you might want to leave certain notifications on and others off. From this screen, tap on an app in this view to find options to turn off individual notification types, or channels. Going through each app’s options like this is tedious, but it’s one of the best ways to make sure you’re filtering out stuff you don’t want.

Starting with One UI 6.1, Samsung hid these options by default. If you’re on a Galaxy phone, you might need to take a couple of extra steps. Go to Settings > Notifications > Advanced settings > Manage notification categories for each app. Then, when you tap on an app from the App notifications menu, you’ll see an option to access Notification categories.

Screen grab on a Pixel phone showing app notifications menu screen.Screen grab on a Pixel phone showing app notifications menu screen.
You can turn off all notifications here or tap an app to drill down into specific notification channels.
Screen grab showing Threads app notification channel options.Screen grab showing Threads app notification channel options.
By tapping an app, you’ll be able to turn specification kinds of notifications off.

It’s up to app developers to decide how to classify their notification channels. That’s why you might see things you don’t want (promotional notifications) bundled together with useful stuff, like order updates — thanks, Starbucks app.

You can also make the job of sifting through notification options a little easier by filtering the view on the main app notifications screen — select the drop-down menu just under the App notifications title. You can filter it to show only the apps that have sent a notification recently, for example, or the apps that notify you most frequently to help weed out the worst offenders.

Silent notifications are golden

Here’s another helpful tool in your arsenal: silent notifications. Notifications that are set as “silent” won’t alert you when they arrive — they’re just delivered to a separate section of your notifications panel below the important stuff. You’ll still see it but on your own time.

Pixel phones will let you enable this right from the lock screen — long-press the notification, and you’ll see options to keep the app’s notification on its default alert settings or to have it delivered silently. On Galaxy phones, you can only set notifications to silent in the settings menu, but there’s a shortcut from the lock screen: long-press a notification, tap Settings to jump to that app’s notification settings, and then toggle alerts to Silent.

Take a snooze

Getting too much of a particular kind of notification and looking for a little time out? Just snooze it. On a Pixel phone, you’ll go to Settings > Notifications and tap Allow notification snoozing. On a Samsung Galaxy phone, it’s Settings > Notifications > Advanced settings > Show snooze button. This will let you snooze an individual notification channel (not the whole app) for a preset length of time. To do this, tap on the arrow down icon in the upper right to expand an individual notification. You’ll see an alarm clock icon in the lower right of the Pixel or a bell icon in the lower right of the Samsung — tap it to snooze.

And if you literally need to take a snooze, Bedtime mode will be helpful. You can set up Focus Mode, too, for when you need a quick way to tune out the noise.

With these tools at the ready, you’ll be on your way to living with your phone in sweet, sweet harmony.

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Chairman FBR holds E-Kachehri

E-Kachehri by Chairman FBR provides an opportunity to taxpayers to directly communicate with the Chairman for redressal of their grievances and also helps keep a check on the performance of the Field Formations.

Published by Hussnain Bhutta



Islamabad: Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Malik Amjed Zubair Tiwana held E-Kachehri at FBR Headquarters on Monday to listen to the issues of taxpayers and provide prompt assistance.

The E-Kachehri provides a platform to taxpayers to appraise their concerns directly to Chairman FBR and also give their suggestions regarding tax-related issues and matters, said a statement issued on Monday.

During the Kachehri, the chairman directly received telephone calls from taxpayers and listened to their grievances and recommendation. Chairman FBR gave on-spot directions to relevant offices to promptly resolve issues of the taxpayers.

He also appreciated the suggestions given by some taxpayers and assured them that their valued input would be duly considered.

He reiterated that FBR was taking all possible measures to facilitate the taxpayers by ensuring timely provision of services and promote tax culture and compliance across the country.

E-Kachehri by Chairman FBR provides an opportunity to taxpayers to directly communicate with the Chairman for redressal of their grievances and also helps keep a check on the performance of the Field Formations.

Chairman FBR has already directed all Field Formations to timely resolve the taxpayers’ concerns through improved service delivery.

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