Wanted: Professional playlist maker

The Internet killed the CD, brought back vinyl and led to huge layoffs in the music industry. But here’s one profession it created:

Mr. Gunn is neither a DJ nor a computer programmer. From his studio apartment in New York, the 32-year-old musician does a job that essentially didn’t exist a few years ago.

Music “curators” make mixes that serve not just as primers on broad genres or eras, but as soundtracks for increasingly narrow slices of the human experience, from romantic heartbreak to a bad day at the office.

Professional playlist makers are suddenly in demand as the post-CD music economy reshapes itself. With access to just about any song ever recorded, music fans drowning in digital tracks on Spotify and elsewhere are looking for warm-blooded guides to find the best of them.