The duality of on-demand music listening

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The duality of on-demand music listening

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Publication 1-year master student thesis
Title The duality of on-demand music listening
Author Nordström, Jennifer
Date 2018
English abstract
The aim of this thesis is to examine how Spotify subscribers are able to practice self-determined music listening. It is explored how autonomous decision-making is afforded by the platform’s structures and how user agency is enacted during the navigation process. It is examined how subscribers perceive their choice-making on Spotify in terms of abilities and constraints. Qualitative data was collect by conducting in-depth interviews with Spotify subscribers and it is drawn on Anthony Giddens Structuration Theory to interpret and discuss the interrelation and mutual interdependency between agency and structure. Spotify’s features are identified as spaces, where agency is enacted by the user, in interaction with the rules and resources provided by the platform. Spotify subscribers are able to practice self-determined music listening when they are actively involved. An unexpected finding was the users’ awareness of algorithms and that recommendations were not seen as negative. User agency is understood as a constant negotiation of power, where the individual choice-making process interacts with the algorithm. Rules and resources are identified as potential constraints and interpreted as dominant acts imposed on the subscribers. That refers to the platform’s algorithm and music content. Constraining structures that are recursively reproduced over time and space, produce a system beneficial to Spotify. For the user, the activity level and choice of feature are enabling dynamics. As long as there is individual agency enacted, it is difficult to reproduce the same structures that maintain one system. Corporate social media companies are driving forward the process of people’s personalised media use. In the long term, it can be questioned if Spotify subscribers might develop into a homogeneous group with the same music taste. Reason being Spotify’s curated playlists, shaping listeners’ music practices.
Publisher Malmö universitet/Kultur och samhälle
Language eng (iso)
Subject Spotify
Structuration Theory
Structure and Agency
Music streaming
Individual music consumption
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/25780 Permalink to this page
Link to publication in DiVA Find this research publication in DiVA.
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