The Longer Tails of iTunes, Pandora, and YouTube
by Andrew Penrose on Jul 09, 2012
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While the limited bandwidth of FM radio facilitated widespread adoption of mainstream music preferences and spending habits, new digital music technologies recommend and feature music based on ...
While the limited bandwidth of FM radio facilitated widespread adoption of mainstream music preferences and spending habits, new digital music technologies recommend and feature music based on personalized user profile data. Whether this includes tracking purchase history, song “likes”, users’ emotions, or otherwise, the shift from majority-based music recommendation to individual-based is a recent and relatively unexplored development in the music industry. The purpose of this study is two-fold: to determine the most influential factors shaping users’ choice of music technology, and the extent to which these new technologies affect music preferences, spending and engagement. Focusing on iTunes, Pandora, and YouTube, purpose-built surveys examine the reasons users choose each service and how they perceive the technologies have affected their music consumption. Additional survey questions seek patterns and correlations between demographics, musical experience, music preferences, and music listening environment. 125 college students voluntarily completed the survey, revealing strong correlations between variables currently ignored by music recommendation technology. By enhancing our understanding of how new music technologies impact individual users, this study may guide how music applications can improve user profiling, personalization, and the user’s music-listening experience as a whole.
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