Representation and Consumption: Playlists, Performance and Politics

Gustavo Santos

“The Definition of Playlist”: Reflecting on How Music Consumption is Shaped

This presentation focuses on the centrality of the playlist as media to music distribution, primarily through building radio programming and streaming services offerings of musical discovery. The goal is to reflect about the definition of playlist as a concept, based on a literary review from information, culture and media research about music and playlist consumption.

This review was conducted by inputting a search query for the keyword “playlist” on CAPES (Brazil) Journals Database. The results were filtered to reflect only those who presented a clear definition for the term. Then, they were categorized in three types that dealt with a definition of playlist: direct definitions for the concept, analysis based on listeners and reflections on production processes.

I privilege here, the ones that evaluate, experiment or survey listeners, making some kind of value judgment and/or definitions on the concept, as I’m interested in thinking about the ways the practice of music listening is imagined and constructed as consumption in these definitions. The playlist is a way of shaping tastes and audiences, even as cultural practices also shape the way in which playlists are conceptualized. Approaches from radio programming or algorithmic recommendation, evidence different ways this idea can be understood.

Gustavo Santos is a Graduate Research Trainee at McGill University and a PhD student in Communication at Rio de Janeiro State University (UERJ). He holds a Master’s in Communication from Federal University of Paraná (UFPR) and a Bachelor degree in Social Communication – Advertising from Midwest State University (UNICENTRO). He is a member of the Research Radio Mediations and Interactions, at UERJ, and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music and Technology (CIRMMT), at McGill. He is a Lecturer and Researcher on Cultural Studies, Music Industries, Radio and Technology.

 

Lois Klassen

Performance – Key-ART-words

Words do not lie –they are evidence. This is what the photojournalist, Julián Cardona, and I surmised earlier this year in Ciudad Juarez. So starts Key—ART—words, a theatrical monologue about the way art and economics intersect in the lives and practices of artists in Vancouver and beyond. Growing from Cultural Studies course work (CUST 800, 2015), and applying that content to experiences from the 1990s to the present, this performance puts theory into practice. Picked up for their regularity in recent years –as theoretically-coded tag words, or socially recurring tropes—the words chosen in this specific lexicon speak about a profound loss of meaning and agency accompanying art’s increasing regulation into spaces of fixed value and limited currency. They range from words used to signify the agency of artists in society, to terms that recuperate and contain any socially transformative project imagined by artists. None of these words appear in Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society (1976), but that is not to say that Raymond Williams would not have considered some of these concepts, especially if he had had encountered current art scenes and their operations in the realms of “democracy and industry”.

Lois Klassen is an artist and writer whose practice has taken up the nature of social, political and economic processes in art. Her artworks have been hosted by VIVO Media Arts Centre, YACTAC, Anvil Centre, Santa Fe Art Institute, Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art, Western Front, and more. Her writing has appeared Fillip Magazine, Word Hoard, Border Crossings, Public Journal, and more. She is currently completing doctoral research in the Cultural Studies Program at Queen’s University on the topic of ethics
and art about human migration. Her current art project Reading the Migration Library has involved working with emerging writers to make and circulate chapbooks on the subject of migration. For this and other projects, she runs Light Factory Publications, an itinerant artist book production service that focuses on small-scale print runs of artistic works which are urgent in their need to meet a public.