Digital curation has become an inclusive umbrella concept (Yakel, 2007) for collecting, curating, managing and preserving digital assets for personal or institutional use. Following the emergence and expansion of digital music aggregators such as Spotify, personal music streaming playlists constitute a platform of curatorial performance as a remediation (Bolter & Grusin, 1998) of physical music collections. The declining popularity of tangible music containers and the at first unlicenced, then legal growth of the digital audio followed by the contemporary dominance of streaming, manifests an environment where ownership as a key prerequisites of personal collections and curatorial practices is replaced with the concept of access (Mulligan, 2011) or transformed in a way that what is owned is now not the physical or digital object, but the experience of interaction (Burkart, 2008) (Hagen, 2015) (Sinclair & Tinson, 2017). This is mainly due to music “reverting to its age-old transience” (Pareles, 1998) after a century or so of celebrated physicality. The remediation of the practice is inevitably influenced by the remediation of the object from mechanically, magnetically or digitally stored data in a physical container that can be collected and interacted within the affordances of the container, to address information for the object that is stored digitally elsewhere, collected as bookmarks (Sesigür, 2019) and interacted with within the affordances of the aggregator platform. Thus, a streaming collection is defined not directly by the objects that are collected and curated, but by the act of collecting and curating. Furthermore, alongside the ownership aspect of this shift, remediation of music collections as streaming playlists relies heavily on the environment of these practices, digital services providers (DSPs), where vast catalogues are readily available. On one hand, this eliminates the physical acquisition process to create a personal information collection (Bruce et al., 2011) amongst which a curation can be made and maintained. On the other hand, in the era of infoglut (Andrejevic, 2013) the sheer amount of information provided is difficult to manage. To deal with this problem, curation can be utilised as a “constructive model and metaphor offering a solution to the issue of information overload online” (Liu, 2010, p.3). Following Liu’s proposition, personal playlists on streaming platforms can be understood as digital curation tools, highlighting the concept of capta, as the selection amongst a mass (Checkland & Holwell, 1999) to “transform data to information, [by] addition of context, and hence meaning” (Bawden, 2001, p. 95). Through this framework, this paper suggests digital curation as a key concept for a remediated understanding of collecting music in the streaming age. Transformed nature of the object, the collection and the collector in a data and information environment will be made sense of by utilising approaches of personal information management (PIM) as well as traditional collection studies, placing digital curation at their intersection to conceptualize the remediation of the music collection to the playlist in the streaming music era.
Andrejevic, M., (2013). Infoglut: how too much information is changing the way we think and know. Routledge, New York.
Bawden, D. (2001). The shifting terminologies of information. Aslib Proceedings,53(3), 93-98. doi:10.1108/eum0000000007043
Bolter, J. D., & Grusin, R. (1998). Remediation: Understanding the new media. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Bruce, H. W., Wenning, A., Jones, E., Vinson, J., & Jones, W. (2011). Seeking an ideal solution to the management of personal information collections. Information Research, 16(1). Retrieved April 16, 2018, from http://www.informationr.net/ir/16-1/paper462.html
Burkart, P. (2008). Trends in Digital Music Archiving. The Information Society, 24(4), 246-250. doi:10.1080/01972240802191621
Checkland, P.B. and Holwell, S.E. (1999), Data, capta, information and knowledge, in Hinton, M. (Ed.), Introducing Information Management: The Business Approach, Elsevier, London,
Hagen, A. N. (2015). The Playlist Experience: Personal Playlists in Music Streaming Services. Popular Music and Society, 38(5), 625-645. doi:10.1080/03007766.2015.1021174
Mulligan, M. (2011, December 9). Why The Access Versus Ownership Debate Isn’t Going to Resolve Itself Anytime Soon. Retrieved February 3, 2020, from https://musicindustryblog.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/why-the-access-versus-ownership-debate-isnt-going-to-resolve-itself-anytime-soon/
Pareles, J. (1998, November 15). MUSIC; With A Click, A New Era of Music Dawns. Retrieved April 5, 2018, from https://www.nytimes.com/1998/11/15/arts/music-with-a-click-a-new-era-of-music-dawns.html
Sesigür, O. (2019). A Study Of Personal Streaming Playlists Through Digital Curation (Doctoral Thesis). Available from the Turkish Council of Higher Education Thesis Center database. (Thesis No: 580181)
Pflieger, J. C. (2009). Adolescents’ parent and peer relations and romantic outcomes in young adulthood (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global database. (UMI No. 3371229)
Sinclair, G., & Tinson, J. (2017). Psychological ownership and music streaming consumption. Journal of Business Research, 71, 1–9. doi: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2016.10.002
Yakel, E. (2007). Digital curation. OCLC Systems & Services: International Digital Library Perspectives, 23(4), 335-340. doi:10.1108/10650750710831466