Music to my Peers

Music is much more than listening to sound and loving or hating what one hears, the music people choose to listen to is a reflection of their experiences and feelings.

Not only is music a personal reflection, but it is developed through social interactions, and provides a sense of belonging amongst peers. Before music went digital, people would share mix-tapes and CD’s with friends. Now, music-streaming services like Spotify and Tidal have fully integrated Facebook and Twitter to promote music sharing. Linking Facebook and Twitter to these two services adds an aspect of shareability. Listeners can then access friends’ or folowers’ music through the application, and view friends music activity via a feed.

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‘Friend activity’ Feed on Spotify

People will often share music, regardless of the strength of social ties. Sharing with friends depends primarily on homophily, the tendency to prefer bonds with those whom we regard as similar to us, rather than different. We may choose to follow a playlist of a friend of a friend simply because we like their taste of music.

Ties however, may influence the amount we share. Some find music too personal to share with the public and may disable the music sharing features on Spotify and Tidal. Some people share selectively. These types of people tend to view music sharing as a gift, and will share music specifically with their friends. They may go about this by posting it on their wall through the app. Others who freely share with all followers tend to be highly confident in their music choice and consider themselves music missionaries.

When Apple Music launched in 2015, AppleConnect played a major role in the music streaming service. It provided an interface for artists to provide content directly to Apple Music users, and in turn the user is able to make comments and like the artists content. To Apple’s surprise, most people did not take advantage of these features. If someone is interested in an artist, chances are they are already following them through a social platform

In iOS 10, this interface was demoted to become apart of the ‘For You’ feature which provides users with recommendations. Apple stills lacks the feature of making playlists searchable and social. Users may share 30 second clips of songs onto their social media platforms, but users lack the ability to connect with others through the application. Music is interwoven in our social interactions, so music applications must recognize this importance when developing software.

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