Breaking Out: Centers and peripheries in the global music streaming markets

Publikation: KonferencebidragKonferenceabstrakt til konferenceForskningpeer review


This paper focuses on the evolution of streaming services into providers of automated musical experiences through editorial and machine-based music curation. The paper analyzes how Spotify’s so-called curatorial turn (Eriksson et al. 2019) influence access to and visibility in global music markets.

The paper argues that the curatorial work of streaming services expands on logics of distribution that have been examined in the music industry literature and its political economy (e.g. Ryan 1992; Hesmondhalgh 2019). Based on the groundwork of scholars such as Morris (2015; 2015), Smith and Telang (2016), Prey (2017; 2016), Hagen (2015), and Eriksson et al (2019) on the datafication and individuation of listening, the paper will discuss how Spotify’s approach to music curation effectively controls market access and visibility for individual artists and music companies. Through combinations of algorithmic and editorial approaches to music recommendation, Spotify seeks to provide users with relevant musical experiences. However, my interviews show that artist managers and music company executives argue that Spotify’s control of music recommendation often makes it hard to break out from the domestic markets in the peripheries and into the global music market, which has a share of Anglo- and Latin-American artists.

The main argument of the paper is, that although music streaming services like Spotify provide unprecedented access to global music markets, and therefore provide opportunities for individual artist and music companies for building international fan bases, the streaming services and their increasing control of music recommendation also create barriers of entry in ways that potentially reproduce and reinforce existing inequalities between the center and peripheries of the global music market.
Publikationsdato20 aug. 2021
StatusUdgivet - 20 aug. 2021
BegivenhedNordmedia 2021: Crisis and Resilience: Nordic Media Research on the Frontline - University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Island
Varighed: 18 aug. 202120 aug. 2021


KonferenceNordmedia 2021
LokationUniversity of Iceland

Citer dette