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Samuel COAVOUX (SENSE/Orange Labs) – “Recommendation, taste, and context. The diversity of music consumption on a streaming platform ”

May 26, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Sociology : Job Talk

Time: 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Date: 26 th of May 2021
Place: Visio
Samuel COAVOUX (SENSE/Orange Labs) – “Recommendation, taste, and context. The diversity of music consumption on a streaming platform ”
Abstract : Cultural inequalities influence outcomes such as educational attainment, social mobility, and the size of composition of social networks. Previous research known as omnivore theory has shown that a cultural consumption diverse along legitimacy levels, including popular as well as highbrow genres, has become the dominant cultural attitude. Moreover, in the past two decades, cultural consumption has experienced a digital turn, music being the most affected. Internet platforms promise to increase diversity through the offer of larger catalogs than offline providers and through personalized recommendations. In this paper, I use observational data obtained from a music streaming service to investigate diversity in online music consumption. It records every music consumption done on the platform by a random sample of 4000 users for 5 months. I introduce three measures of diversity at the artist, genre, and legitimacy level. Using a random intercept multilevel model, I show that personalized recommendations increase artist diversity, and genre diversity to a lesser extent, but not legitimacy diversity: there is no evidence of an effect of platforms on cultural inequalities. This result challenges the promises of cultural platforms. It also has theoretical implications. The omnivore attitude has been conceptualized as a shift towards a taste for diversity among elite cultural consumers, led by transformation in cultural industries, in social structures, and in political ideologies. I introduce a fourth explanation, the rise in the diversity of contexts of music consumption, linked with technological innovation and the growing place of music in everyday life. Finally, the paper makes a methodological contribution to the study of the diversity of cultural consumption, advocating for the use of observational data and of diversity metrics drawn from information theory.

Organizers :
Jeanne GANAULT, Etienne OLLION, Felix TROPF (Pôle de Sociologie du CREST)
Sponsors :