MC1 – Music & Big Data

Today we explored the complexities and implications of the globalisation of media. Paying particular attention to the music industry, we began by retracing the historical evolution of the music industry, documenting its changes and developments, exploring how advances in technology and automation had substantial implications on our consumption of music.
Technology altered various trajectories of music production, distribution and consumption, over the last 50 years we have witnessed dramatic developments such as the transition from analogue to digital forms of media. alx_vida-digital-spotify-logo_originalDiscussing both the positive and negative implications of technology, with the explosive spread and increase in accessibility and near constant internet connectivity; music piracy and pier to pier networking has had dramatic consequences on the music industry.
Due to this, it could be argued that this connectivity has shifted the control and agency of music, instead of the music consumers and distributors themselves being in power, it appears that now individuals with access to personal computers have gained greater control over w
hen and how then consume and access music; whether that be through legal means or illicit ones. Meaning that increasingly, the music industry is struggling to sustain the costs of production and sustenance. The increasing development of automation means that the music industry is in desperate need to redevelop and update business models.

As our worlds and lives become increasingly digitised, our internet usage and consumption requires multiple transactions between consumer and creator. Now, we pay through money and our attention.  Unlike before, streaming models place particular emphasis on ‘tailored’ musical ‘experiences’ rather than the consumption of music as a product. Services such as Spotify, Apple music and Deezer offer and target particular individuals through  aspects such as interface, control and identity. Streaming arguably is gradually decreasing the amount of music that is pirated and illegally acquired.

illegal_downloading-665x325A 2015 post by Jon Fingas stated that “A European Commission study claims that there’s “clear evidence” of Spotify reducing illegal downloads, with every 47 streams leading to one fewer bootlegged track.”  and that “While labels want to discourage free streaming and get more people paying for subscriptions, it’s that no-charge access that’s preventing some users from simply pirating whatever tracks they want“. (Fingas, J. 2015). However, the implications of streaming not completely beneficial, a news article titled “… Spotify Kills Piracy AND Paid Downloads, European Study Finds” by Paul Resnikoff. The article explores the implications of streaming services such as ‘Spotify’ stating that it “[Spotfiy]…is also dramatically reducing paid downloads from iTunes and Amazon, with the New effect on music industry revenues balancing to zero.”. When regarding the effects and implications of technology within our consumption of music, it is important to not overlook the both the positives and negatives. The news article cites findings that were discovered within the European Commission Study… “Given the current industry’s revenue from track sales ($0.82 per track sale) and the average payment received per stream ($0.007 per stream), our sales displacement estimates show that the losses from displaced sales are roughly outweighed by the gains in streaming revenue.” (Resnikoff, P. 2016).

Increasingly, Corporate companies and businesses are monitoring and capturing information regarding our patterns of consumption. Spotify’s terms of use under article 4 state that they use your personal information “…to provide, personalise, and improve your experience with the Service and products”,  “..analyse your use of the Service, including your interaction with applications, advertising, products, and services that are made available, linked to, or offered through the Service”. It is also interesting to mention that under article 3.3 it is mentioned that “We will not access your microphone without first getting your explicit permission. You will always have the ability to disable microphone access.” It is interesting that Spotify has mentioned that they can access your microphone if ‘explicit’ permisson is acquired’ Ultimately, is this an issue? Are music industries going too far and bordering on the intrusion of privacy?

fullsizeoutput_1297.jpegAnother example I looked at was featured on apple’s app store titled ‘Music Cloud – MP3 and FLAC Music Player’ (BPMobile). This app was described as… “Musicloud was created to give you a seamless listening, managing and syncfullsizeoutput_1291ing music experience. Access your favourite music across all your devices: iPhone, iPad, iPod library, Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive and your PC/Mac. Listen to your music within advanced and powerful media player.” The application also claimed to be free and compatible to the Apple Watch. It is clear that increasingly, music is marketed as an experience rather than a product, in doing so extracting and analysing our listening and consumption data (Big Data). I would like to mention that on this occasion it proved impossible to access any form of information regarding customer privacy and permissions policy so it is incredibly
ambiguous to understand if and how this product extracts or accesses our private ‘data’. I feel it is also relevant to mention that there is no access to a company website, the only for of producer/consumer dialogue is that of a query form, Despite this, BPMusic is protected by copyright. This week our

This week our assessment is based on…

  • This week’s blog will be based on an analysis of your own musical consumption practices. You should explore the chain of activities and platforms (search engines, music apps, payment systems, social media etc) used in the discovery, acquisition and consumption of a piece of digital music. Drawing on our recent discussions on data analytics, the attention economy and the ‘value’ of music, you should analyse the promotional, legal and social elements that surround music buying and consumption.
  • Your blog should be 500 words long and be submitted on your blog site by midnight on Sunday November 13th. Your reference list must be properly formatted. Once you have completed and submitted your blog you must email your blog tutor so that they know you have completed your task and can give you some feedback on your work.
  • Any blogs submitted after this date will not receive feedback from your tutor and will not count towards the overall 10% mark given for weekly blogging.

 

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