Your Top Songs 2018: An Imaginary of co-creating Music Histories

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOther


This paper seeks to engage in a speculative discussion of the relationship between body and technology in the digital consumption of music today. By deploying the notion of User coined by Benjamin Bratton in his all-encompassing theory of The Stack (Bratton 2015) the paper outlines the inner workings in the usage of a digital music archive as a unity both politically and ontologically fertile. Specifically, the construction of the “best of” playlist Your Top Songs 2018 distributed by Spotify to all of its users in the beginning of December 2018 is scrutinized. It is asserted that one has the possibility to continuously co-create music histories in and with the system behind the playlist by following Bratton’s User construction, which furthermore questions the contemporary state of music historiography as a discipline – should the discipline think with the digital consumption of music (and the digital music archives) and again and again dig into a genealogical examination of what it means to write music history here and now? These questions let the paper meander into connections with musical mediation and media archaeology, both of which are also being read as hinting at the genealogical method. Finally, the paper reflects on whether it is fruitful to set out an ethnography for the Internet, as described by Christine Hine (Hine 2015), in order to do a digital fieldwork backing up the assumptions about the co-creation of music histories – how do people in a User construction actually perceive the notion of music history and what role does the relationship between body and technology play for this perception?
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2018 Dec 14
EventMusic, Digitalisation and Democracy - Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland
Duration: 2018 Dec 132018 Dec 14


ConferenceMusic, Digitalisation and Democracy
Internet address

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Musicology


  • musicology
  • Big Data
  • digital cultures
  • Historiography
  • Music History


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