Nordic Research in Music Education (Nov 2020)

Spotify as a case of musical Bildung

  • Cecilia Ferm Almqvist

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 2, no. 1
pp. 89 – 113


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This article explores the meaning and function of streaming media as a potential facilitator of musical Bildung. Taking the affordances of streaming media technologies as a starting point, the article thus focuses on the formative and cultivating dimensions a music streaming service such as Spotify might offer. The specific aim of this article is to describe and analyse how musical Bildung may evolve within a Spotify context from a user perspective. To address the aim from the point of view of music education, Spotify users’ activities and experiences of streaming media interactions were accessed, inspired by internet-related ethnography. Stimulated recall interviews, focusing on the participants’ experiences as well as their actual use of Spotify’s streaming service, were conducted, recorded, and transcribed. The generated material was subjected to co-operative hermeneutic content analysis. The results illuminate how Bildung evolves in users’ encounters with the service and with art mediated via Spotify. Relevant topics occurring in the human-art-technology relationship of Bildung from a Heideggerian perspective were Being-possible, the ability-to-be, and Spotify as the Other. In sum, it can be stated that Bildung evolves when Spotify exceeds the thingness of the Other, becoming a work of art in itself, throwing the user into Being.