Step 3: Sequencing the album
Of all the parts of the process, Moskow is most hesitant to talk about his obsessive love of sequencing. "This is the part that usually makes people's eyes glaze over," he warns. But he swears that the right track-list order is the secret ingredient that has kept Now at the top of the compilation game for so long. He compares the song selection process to making a mixtape for someone: You want the songs to take the listener on a musical journey. This stuff matters so much to him, he says, that he's spent two days with his engineer discussing a quarter of a second between tracks.
But unlike most mixtapes, this one isn't supposed to be reflective of the creator's taste. Instead, the ideal Now record serves as a mirror to the culture that can include pop, hip-hop, country, or rock. (Moskow says if there's ever a big metal hit, he'd love to have it on Now.) That genre flexibility allows the compilation to cherry-pick the best songs from whatever trend happens to be hot in a given moment. Moskow cites Psy's "Gangnam Style" as the perfect example of a Now song: catchy, out of left field, and most important, enormously popular.