Do the shuffle: Exploring reasons for music listening through shuffled play
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Sanfilippo KRM, Spiro N, Molina-Solana M, Lamont A (2020) Do the shuffle: Exploring reasons for music listening through shuffled play. PLoS ONE 15(2): e0228457. [https://doi.org/ 10.1371/journal.pone.0228457]
SponsorshipThis work is funded by the EU H2020 programme (ga No. 743623). NS has been supported by HEartS, a project funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council to investigate the health, economic and social impact of the arts (grant ref. AH/P005888/1) to MMS. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Adults listen to music for an average of 18 hours a week (with some people reaching more than double that). With rapidly changing technology, music collections have become overwhelmingly digital ushering in changes in listening habits, especially when it comes to listening on personal devices. By using interactive visualizations, descriptive analysis and thematic analysis, this project aims to explore why people download and listen to music and which aspects of the music listening experience are prioritized when people talk about tracks on their device. Using a newly developed data collection method, Shuffled Play, 397 participants answered open-ended and closed research questions through a short online questionnaire after shuffling their music library and playing two pieces as prompts for reflections. The findings of this study highlight that when talking about tracks on their personal devices, people prioritise characterizing them using sound and musical features and associating them with the informational context around them (artist, album, and genre) over their emotional responses to them. The results also highlight that people listen to and download music because they like it–a straightforward but important observation that is sometimes glossed over in previous research. These findings have implications for future work in understanding music, its uses and its functions in peoples’ everyday lives.