La concorrenza nelle piattaforme di streaming musicale

Le piattaforme di streaming musicale sono il modo in cui centinaia di milioni di persone accedono alla musica oggi. Analizzarne gli aspetti che rendono competitivo questo mercato diventa interessante per inferire su come altri mercati basati su piattaforme digitali evolvono nel tempo e sugli effetti relativi alla concorrenza. Neanche a dirlo, i dati sul comportamento dell’utente sono fondamentali ai fini della fidelizzazione del cliente.

Un articolo accademico, scoperto grazie a The Syllabus, spiega bene come tutto giri intorno alla cura di contenuti, alla personalizzazione basata sul comportamento dell’utente e sull’uso delle variabili spazio tempo, per offrire all’utente una navigazione su misura dell’immenso catalogo pensata per quel momento.

this paper argues that music streaming platforms are leveraging the quality of their user experience to secure competitive advantage. In particular, it outlines three interrelated strategic practices (1) the mobilisation of different forms of curation underpinned by the exploitation of digital data, (2) the manipulation of the spatial and temporal dynamics of the user experience, and (3) the imposition of technical constraints on user interactions, to engineer compelling experiences that seek to attract and engage consumers over time. In so doing, the paper argues that music streaming platforms have moved beyond differentiation on the basis of what they provide to how they make people feel.

La playlist personalizzata, su scala industriale, è una delle chiavi di volta per fidelizzare l’utente:

According to Eriksson (2020 Eriksson, M. , 2020. The editorial playlist as container technology: On Spotify and the logistical role of digital music packages. Journal of Cultural Economy 13 (4), 415–427. [Taylor & Francis Online], [Web of Science ®][Google Scholar]), playlists are ‘logistical devices’ that arrange people and specific pieces of music in space and time by imposing rules about what and how music can be accessed and used. For example, much like physical ‘pop-up’ shops, which are temporary events where shoppers have limited time to purchase goods before being replaced by a new store (Joosse and Hracs 2015 Joosse, S. and Hracs, B. J. , 2015. Curating the quest for ‘good food’: The practices, spatial dynamics and influence of food-related curation in Sweden. Geoforum; Journal of Physical, Human, and Regional Geosciences , 64, 205–216. [Crossref], [Web of Science ®][Google Scholar]), Spotify’s ‘Discover Weekly’ playlist is only made available for one week before being erased and replaced with a new compilation of songs. Temporal windowing is used by Spotify to encourage users to maximise their engagement with specific content before it is replaced. Whilst music streaming platforms ‘play up’ (Pike 2015 Pike, A. , 2015. Origination: The geographies of brands and branding . Chicester, UK : Wiley Blackwell. [Google Scholar]) the virtues of unrestricted access and the unprecedented possibility of choice regarding what to listen to, this example demonstrates that they are also re-introducing forms of scarcity (Drott 2018a Drott, E. , 2018a. Why the next song matters: streaming, recommendation, scarcity. Twentieth-Century Music , 15 (3), 325–357. [Crossref], [Web of Science ®][Google Scholar]). In so doing, music streaming platforms seek to habituate consumer behaviour and create what one key informant described as ‘appointments to listen’ (Digital Manager, Music Distributor).

Se sono diventato un fan di Spotify è esattamente per i motivi raccolti nell’articolo. Col problema che poi la piattaforma ti impedisce di passare alla concorrenza, pena la perdita dell’esperienza personalizzata. I dati generati dall’utente rimangono proprietari della piattaforma e l’utente non li può portare con se quando cambia piattaforma, con il risultato che l’utente non ha alcun incentivo a cambiare e impiegare mesi per ricreare i dati e tornare alla sua offerta su misura:

The ways in which music streaming platforms engineer compelling user experiences through curation contribute to the competitiveness of platforms by cultivating loyalty, user lock-in(s), and first-mover advantages. The Spotify users we interviewed expressed an affinity for the platform because it has learnt their music tastes over time and they trust the recommendations they receive. As Ruckenstein and Granroth (2020 Ruckenstein, M. and Granroth, J. , 2020. Algorithms, advertising and the intimacy of surveillance. Journal of Cultural Economy , 13 (1), 12–24. [Taylor & Francis Online], [Web of Science ®][Google Scholar], p. 20) discuss in relation to targeted advertisements, when personalisation is successful it can trigger a ‘pleasurable feeling of recognition.’ During interviews it was this feeling and the fear of resetting this relationship that encouraged participants to stay with Spotify and this finding is crucial for understanding the nature of platform competition. Hamilton (2019 Hamilton, C. , 2019. Popular music, digital technologies and data analysis: new methods and questions. Convergence , 25 (2), 225–240. [Crossref][Google Scholar]) similarly identifies how music streaming users are often aware that the platform is ‘listening’ and recognise that their consumption in the present will shape what they experience in the future, which we found to further cement the pleasurable feeling of recognition because engagement is rewarded.

Conoscere questi meccanismi è indispensabile per essere un cittadino digitale consapevole e comprendere l’evoluzione dei mercati digitali:

Studying platform competition has the potential to become a vital lens through which we understand how platforms are extending their control of markets and shaping our everyday lives.

In sottofondo Endings di Trevor Oswalt

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