“The perfect guide in a crowded musical landscape:” Online music platforms and curatorship

Emilia Barna


Curatorship or curation has become a widely used term in music industry and popular music discourse recently, used not only in a museum or exhibition context, but also in connection with music festivals, and increasingly, playlists and other functions related to online music platforms. Through a case study of 22tracks, an online, playlist-based music discovery service currently based in four European cities, I look at the role and position of the music curator, and provide a critical analysis of the dominant discourses around music curation. I place the discourse of music curation into a context of dominant narratives accompanying music as well as digital and online technology, including that of the “long tail” and the “tyranny of choice.” I then proceed to explore the relationship of curation to place, scenes and genres, and conceptualise curatorship as an increasingly professionalised tastemaking and promoting function.


curation; popular music; music industry; streaming services; genre; music and place

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v22i4.6914

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