umu.sePublications
Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
More of the Same – On Spotify Radio
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of culture and media studies. Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Humlab.
2017 (English)In: Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research, ISSN 2000-1525, E-ISSN 2000-1525, Vol. 9, no 2, p. 184-211Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Spotify Radio allows users to find new music within Spotify’s vast back-catalogue, offering a potential infinite avenue of discovery. Nevertheless, the radio service has also been disliked and accused of playing the same artists over and over. We decided to set up an experiment with the purpose to explore the possible limitations found within "infinite archives" of music streaming services. Our hypothesis was that Spotify Radio appears to consist of an infinite series of songs. It claims to be personalised and never-ending, yet music seems to be delivered in limited loop patterns. What would such loop patterns look like? Are Spotify Radio’s music loops finite or infinite? How many tracks (or steps) does a normal loop consist of? To answer these research questions, at Umeå University’s digital humanities hub, Humlab, we set up an intervention using 160 bot listeners. Our bots were all Spotify Free users. They literally had no track record and were programmed to listen to different Swedish music from the 1970s. All bots were to document all subsequent tracks played in the radio loop and (inter)act within the Spotify Web client as an obedient bot listener, a liker, a disliker, and a skipper. The article describes different research strategies when dealing with proprietary data. Foremost, however, it empirically recounts the radio looping interventions set up at Humlab. Essentially, the article suggests a set of methodologies for performing humanist inquiry on big data and black-boxed media services that increasingly provide key delivery mechanisms for cultural materials. Spotify serves as a case in point, yet principally any other platform or service could be studied in similar ways. Using bots as research informants can be deployed within a range of different digital scholarship, so this article appeals not only to media or software studies scholars, but also to digitally inclined cultural studies such as the digital humanities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 9, no 2, p. 184-211
Keywords [en]
Spotify Radio, digital methods, music looping, bot intervention, reverse engineering
National Category
Media Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-141380DOI: 10.3384/cu.2000.1525.1792OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-141380DiVA, id: diva2:1153904
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2013-1139Available from: 2017-10-31 Created: 2017-10-31 Last updated: 2019-03-21Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

fulltext(923 kB)201 downloads
File information
File name FULLTEXT02.pdfFile size 923 kBChecksum SHA-512
ff12fc084e03644af091fce164f1e06f8605f019b484a4369bc36ba423543376ae327cb3a0cec08c4af780b1ef6668ec9a5c5458cf78dc1fc20a77fdd8726576
Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

Other links

Publisher's full text

Authority records BETA

Snickars, Pelle

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Snickars, Pelle
By organisation
Department of culture and media studiesHumlab
In the same journal
Culture Unbound. Journal of Current Cultural Research
Media Studies

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
Total: 486 downloads
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

doi
urn-nbn

Altmetric score

doi
urn-nbn
Total: 1072 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf