The quantified listener
reshaping providers and audiences with calculated measurements
Various relationships between providers, audiences and other participants of cultural production are changing today. In the case of platforms that offer their users recommendations for pieces of music, formerly unknown artists are providing a fan base detached from the traditional mainstream of the music industry. While these artists were previously only able to establish a niche as an alternative to mainstream distribution, today they are being culturally re-evaluated. We argue that this is due to changing practices when calculating user activities of online services, which we understand as an important, but quite often overlooked, aspect of the complex meta-process of mediatization (Krotz, 2001; 2009). Similarly to the traditional mass-media approach of constructing a dependable audience through statistical measurements, online services rely on complex computer-assisted techniques and methods to construct their specific audiences. But today every single activity on the net is also a quantifiable and measurable piece of data: whoever uses the net inevitably leaves traces, a huge and harvestable amount of data. When services use this, it is really in only the rarest cases for profiling single and individual users. Mostly they form comparisons by looking for similarities and differences between user collectives. These new forms of quantifying the listener do not try to establish an average taste to recommend a compatible range of average mass culture.
Passoth, J. , Sutter, T. (2014)., The quantified listener: reshaping providers and audiences with calculated measurements, in A. Hepp & F. Krotz (eds.), Mediatized worlds, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 271-287.
This document is unfortunately not available for download at the moment.