INSP Vendor Playlist: Street paper vendors on their favourite songs and what they mean to them

Vendors across the street paper network face common problems: homelessness, poverty, discrimination, vulnerability, and countless more. Christmas is an especially tough time for people on the streets but, more often than not, we reduce vendors to the issues they face, rather than seeing them for the fully-rounded, individual human beings – with desires, memories, hopes, loves, hates, tastes, pains, talents and interests – that they actually are.

As is tradition, INSP has put together a feature for the festive period centred on #ourvendors, and this year we decided to do something a little different.

In the UK, BBC Radio 4 has a long running feature called Desert Island Discs. The premise is, each week, guests on the show select a batch of songs that they would have accompany them if they were to become castaways stranded on a desert island. Perhaps homelessness can feel like a desert island sometimes – hopeless and lonely. But vendors have been given a chance to get off the island through the opportunity selling street papers provides. And when they’re out there, at their pitch, they have the support of street paper staff, customers, and any friends and family they hold dear. With all that in mind…

We are proud to introduce the INSP Vendor Playlist!

We asked street paper vendors: if they could give a song as a present this Christmas, which track would they choose, and why? The resulting listenable, shareable playlist includes contributions from almost 100 vendors, from 38 street papers, across 22 countries. Like our network, the songs that have been chosen are vast in number, eclectic, and diverse. Some vendors have intriguing tales behind their selections; others just like to dance. Music is universal, and ties us together, much like the street paper network ties vendors together from all over the world.

As well as making the playlist available to share and listen to (on both Spotify and YouTube), each day over the festive period, INSP will be bringing you the stories of the vendors behind each song choice and the reasons for their selection.

Listen on Spotify

OR simply scan the INSP Vendor Playlist Spotify code using the camera feature in the Spotify app on your smartphone:

[An All-Year-Round Version – the playlist minus the Christmas song choices – is available here.]

Listen on YouTube


Remember to follow and share the playlist as much as possible. Happy listening!

Check back in every day over the festive period to learn more about the vendors who contributed to the playlist!

Special thanks to those who translated contributions for the INSP Vendor Playlist: Patricia Pereira, Melanie Vogt, Kathryn Ness, Louise Thomas, Cedric Horbach, Jessica Michaels, Hollie Davies, Jessica Gert, Sean Morris, Ute Kahle.