The algorithmic imaginary of cultural producers. Towards platform-optimized music?


The prominent role played by algorithmic platforms in people’s everyday lives has in recent years triggered a growing interest towards algorithmic imaginaries, intended as worlds of experience users make of the algorithmic media, thereby building up their own awareness of the platform and in turn moulding the algorithm itself through their performativity. Today, part of the construction of individual cultures takes place on streaming platforms, media environments where subjects access cultural materials and cultural exchanges occur. Platforms, such as Netflix or Spotify, have become privileged sites for studying the platformization of cultural production and the construction of algorithmic imaginaries by users and developers. Despite this, to date little has been discussed about cultural creators’ algorithmic imaginaries. This paper intends to discuss how to include algorithmic imaginaries in research regarding platforms and cultural production, by focusing on the case of music platforms. Specifically, the main goal of this contribution is to address the following issues in the light of existing literature: i) The role of algorithms as cultural gatekeepers and how they may affect the creative disposition of music producers, as well as their strategies to relate with the broader environment of cultural production and consumption. ii) The optimization of culture, i.e., how cultural producers may attempt to create platform-optimized products adapting their creative efforts to platforms’ affordances, thus fostering processes of product homogenization. Finally, suggestions will be made for future investigations regarding how all the actors in the music industry relate to streaming platforms

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22840753n19p293

Keywords: algorithms; imaginary; cultural production; platformization; music

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