Article | Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research | Tracking Gendered Streams

Title:
Tracking Gendered Streams
Author:
Maria Eriksson: Media and Communication Studies, Humlab, Umeå University, Sweden Anna Johansson: Ethnology, HUMlab, Umeå University, Sweden
DOI:
10.3384/cu.2000.1525.1792163
Read article:
Full article (pdf)
Year:
2017
Volume:
9
Issue:
2
Pages:
163-183
No. of pages:
21
Publication type:
Article
Published:
2017-10-31


One of the most prominent features of digital music services is the provision of personalized music recommendations that come about through the profiling of users and audiences. Based on a range of “bot experiments,” this article investigates if, and how, gendered patterns in music recommendations are provided by the streaming service Spotify. While our experiments did not give any strong indications that Spotify assigns different taste profiles to male and female users, the study showed that male artists were highly overrepresented in Spotify’s music recommendations; an issue which we argue prompts users to cite hegemonic masculine norms within the music industries. Although the results should be approached as historically and contextually contingent, we argue that they point to how gender and gendered tastes may be constituted through the interplay between users and algorithmic knowledge-making processes, and how digital content delivery may maintain and challenge gender relations and gendered power differentials within the music industries. Seen through the lens of critical research on software, music and gender performativity, the experiments thus provide insights into how gender is shaped and attributed meaning as it materializes in contemporary music streams.

Keywords: Gender; music; algorithms; streaming; digital methods

Volume 9, Issue: 2, Article 12, 2017

Author:
Maria Eriksson, Anna Johansson
Title:
Tracking Gendered Streams:
DOI:
10.3384/cu.2000.1525.1792163
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Volume 9, Issue: 2, Article 12, 2017

Author:
Maria Eriksson, Anna Johansson
Title:
Tracking Gendered Streams:
DOI:
10.3384/cu.2000.1525.1792163
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