Marketing Musicology
The marriage of commerce and culture


November 21, 2016

Dave Allan presents at the University of Stirling in Scotland

The soundtrack of yesterday has become the playlist of today, and playlists are ubiquitous. Everyone seems to have a playlist even the Pope (in Spanish and Italian) and the President of the United States (Appendix 1). We see athletes walking into stadiums wearing headphones and listing to their pre-game playlists. We see people at the gym sweating to the beat. We see people at work with their headphones on. These people are all creating their own custom soundtracks for the task at hand. Everyday use of new technologies (Bull, 2006) has made this possible. And whereas a soundtrack often plays a more passive role, a playlist, and thus the music, is more of an actant (Brownlie, 2009). North and Hargreaves said that “the value of music in people’s everyday lives depends on the uses they make of it and the degree to which they engage with it, which are in turn dependent of the contexts in which they hear it” (2004, p. 41). A playlist has the potential to be more engaging than a soundtrack especially when it is customized to different contexts. This chapter will look at playlists in everyday life in both personal and commercial contexts (home, work, play, retail, etc.). It will be structured in a similar fashion to Bruner, 1990. It will briefly review the large body of literature regarding music in everyday life as a foundation for a discussion of the small amount of literature that focuses on playlists. It will then provide both academic and practical implications and recommendations.



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