Liquid Streaming : The Spotify Way To Music

Sammanfattning: This thesis accounts for the liquid affordances of musicking via streamed music from the perspective of the end-user. The study is particularly analysing the case of Spotify, which has gained an extraordinary prominent position within the Swedish market. The point of departure is that music streaming has emerged in a time where there seems to be an increased space and need for a musical presence in everyday human life. This circumstance is then related to the phenomenon that music has an exceptional position for human beings.Music may affect the human body, empower physical activity as well as regulate moods and feelings. Whatever the musical experience might be, it is affected by previous musical socialisation including formal as well as informal music learning situations. These experiences per se found the base of future musical awareness and advancement. Moreover, as musical involvement, to such a large extent currently are given via streaming, it is most crucial to understand what kind of affordances streaming brings to a lifelong learning and its more or less organized arenas, of music. To investigate music streaming from the user’s point of view, Norman’s concept of affordance has been applied to numerous public sources that in different ways houses the Spotify way to music. Here, the concept of affordance reveals the idea of the user as the user is inscribed in the design. The Spotify software program, materials from Spotify employees, newspaper articles, statistics and reports concerning music streaming have been analysed according to actor-network theory (ANT) situated in, what Bauman regards contemporary society as, an interregnum of liquid time. The thesis initially accounts for the constitution of music streaming as a feature, revealing an intrinsic network of a company with its core of employees, its agile management and playful culture, but also necessary networked actors such as Internet Service Providers, manufactures of digital devices, software algorithms and music formats to mention a few. Economic Maecenas and legislators also constitute the streaming service intertwined with the main players of users and music. This multifaceted picture shows that to comprehend a music streaming actor, its whole network needs to be accounted for as its constitutes the actor. Also, as condition changes, actor changes, why also music streaming, as a feature, changes. Consequently, any music educator at various levels within the society, e.g. public radio, artists, teachers, peers, the user herself, or even the Spotify company need to consider the liquid situation as it has become fundamental for musical experiences and learning through this kind of media. The affordances of musicking are further analysed on the level of the service’s interface, e.g. the visual display of the music service by addressing a multimodal analysis of the social semiotics used to network users to music. This cross-section also shows to be liquid as the service both continuously updates as well as being customised which means that one view is not alike the other. This protean state and the liquid affordances it brings with it needs to be related and responded to by music educators. Finally, the thesis covers the affordance of musicking on behalf of the one who streams. Based on the fact that music is available in a plethora, the central feature of streaming services is to aid and guide users to music. In this realm, intelligent algorithms have started to be employed as cicerone. Algorithmic cicerone based on usergenerated data blend humans and machines into a hybrid lifeform when musicking. User-generated data is currently being refined via an increased human embodiment by the Internet of Things starting to close up on the one who streams. Technological embodiment of the human is starting to increase to also embrace a sensuous embodiment of the musicking human. A detected human heartbeat can consequently co-constitute musical recommendation for the streamer, a recommendation that in turn can affect the heartbeat. This evolution calls for a turn toward a renewed coalition between music and human. Music streaming has the affordances to constitute an advent of something newborn - a musical cyborg.