The thematic issue for the journal Culture Unbound which we have worked on for quite some time in our research project is now published: Discovering Spotify. I have written one longer article on Spotify Radio, as well as an introductory editorial with Rasmus Fleischer. It starts like this:
With a user base now officially reaching more than 100 million, which includes 60 million paying subscribers, the music streaming platform Spotify is today widely recognized as the solution to problems caused by recent decades of digital disruption within the music and media industries. Spotify resembles Netflix, YouTube, and Apple Music as an epitome of streaming’s digital Zeitgeist that is shaping our future. Industry interviews, trade papers, academic books, and the daily press reiterate numerous versions of this “technological solutionism” (Morozov 2013) in almost as many variations.
This thematic section of Culture Unbound is broadly concerned with the music service Spotify, and novel ways to situate and do academic research around streaming media. Approached through various forms of digital methods, Spotify serves as the object of study. The four articles presented here—three full length research articles and a shorter reflection—emanates from the cross-disciplinary research project “Streaming Heritage: Following Files in Digital Music Distribution”. It was initially conceived at the National Library of Sweden (hence the heritage connection), but the project has predominantly been located at the Umeå University’s digital humanities hub, Humlab, where the research group has continuously worked with the lab’s programmers. The project involves four researchers and one PhD student and is funded by the Swedish Research Council between 2014 and 2018.