Date of Submission

Spring 2022

Academic Program

Music; Experimental Humanities

Project Advisor 1

Peter L'Official

Project Advisor 2

Sarah Hennies

Abstract/Artist's Statement

The rise of music streaming platforms such as Spotify, and the concurrent emergence of what is broadly known as "the attention economy" have radically shifted the aesthetics of the music industry, as well as the artistic subjectivities of artists that operate within this paradigm. Through a formal analysis of Spotify's recommendation algorithm, I argue that algorithmic curation systems such as Spotify's create a new cultural paradigm that has replaced Adorno's conception "culture industry." What has replaced it is a dispersed meritocracy where success is determined by how well individual cultural actors conform to the preferred aesthetics of algorithmic platforms. Using the emerging genre of "hyperpop," the rise of Lil Nas X as facilitated by social media and analyzing how fans use the music of Mitski on TikTok as case-studies, I explore how these dynamics play out across platforms and genres. I argue that social media platforms such as Twitter and TikTok help to intensify the preferred aesthetics of streaming platforms such as Spotify, working to severely limit the creative possibilities of musical artists.

Open Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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