This event has been cancelled.
How do music streaming services such as Spotify work? What is their product? What is involved in their recommendation engines? How can they be studied? Join us for a talk with Patrick Vonderau (Martin Luther University in Halle). Spotify Teardown: Inside the Black Box of Streaming Music – Patrick Vonderau The talk introduces a 4-year collaborative research project (2014-2018) investigating Spotify, the Swedish music streaming service. Borrowing the notion of teardown from reverse engineering processes, the project aimed to disassemble the way Spotify’s product is commonly conceptualized. While long seen as pioneering solutions to issues of concern to the music industry, Spotify recently has prompted such critical scrutiny. What is the substance of the service that the company claims to offer? What distinguishes Spotify and other platforms from traditional media companies? In taking up these and other questions, the project performed “teardowns“ in an imaginative rather than purely technical sense: publicly, through interventions and experimental methods. The talk presents the project’s general background and approach, some of the research and its methods, as well as reflections about the ethics of doing this line of critical research on digital media companies. Bio: Patrick Vonderau is Professor at the Department for Media and Communication Studies at Martin Luther University in Halle, Germany. Recent book publications include the co-authored Spotify Teardown: Inside the Black Box of Streaming Music (MIT Press, 2019) and Advertising and the Transformation of Screen Cultures (Amsterdam University Press, 2019). Patrick currently holds a three-year grant for the project Shadow Economies of the Internet (Swedish Research Council, together with Johan Lindquist, Stockholm University). He is a co-founder of NECS-European Network of Cinema and Media Studies (necs.org). This event is part of an ongoing seminar series on “critical inquiry with and about the digital” hosted by the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London. If you tweet about the event you can use the #kingsdhhashtag or mention @kingsdh. If you’d like to get notifications of future events you can sign up to this mailing list.




Date and time

Wed 10th April 2019
16:00-17:30 BST


Bush House, Lecture Theatre 1 BH(S)1.01
Bush House South Wing,
King’s College London
London WC2R 1ES    



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