(S)Keep Track

By Simone Cerea

My infopoetry consists of a 33 rpm vinyl record’s cover, that metaphorically represents a session of me listening to music from the Spotify app in the auto-play mode, starting with a song chosen by me. The cover is a collage of individual song covers (or album covers, when the song has no specific artwork). The individual artworks are arranged on the cover and physically connected to the next ones by an aux cable (one of the most common cables for transporting audio information), which indicates the sequencing of the songs suggested by the algorithm. Each time I skipped a song, the cable undergoes a cut at the corresponding artwork, indicating the interruption of the path predetermined by the algorithm. The cable then metaphorically represents the listening stream. The back cover consists of a list showing titles and authors of the songs listened to (with their duration and total listened to), along the lines of normal album tracklists. Blank spaces on the front cover are used to provide the user with some more indication of the project.

Featured image of the project (S)Keep Track Complementary image of the project (S)Keep Track Complementary image of the project (S)Keep Track

Metaphor used:

I decided to play with the digital nature of the sphere of reference, giving it a physicality, an analogical character. So the sequence of suggested songs becomes a 33 rpm, whose cover will be a collage of the covers of the single songs it contains. To link the individual artworks, there will be an aux cable, which will start from the song with which the user began the listening session and end with the last piece suggested by the algorithm. The cable will be cut at the tracks skipped by the user, indicating the interruption of the predetermined path (glitch), and will resume from the next track. The cable will therefore be a metaphor for the listening path that the algorithm has created for me and the cuts represent the deviations I made. Similarly, and to reiterate the same concept, the covers of the "skipped" songs will be ripped leaving a quantity of artwork proportional to the listening time of the song.

Intended Meaning:

My infopoetry concerns Spotify's song suggestion system when listening to music in auto-play mode. The point of view with which the problem is approached is that of the algorithm trying to figure out what might be the best suggestion for the user at any given time to create the best possible listening path. The intent is to point out, both how accurate this is, and how, however, it is an extremely difficult task and never quite feasible, since it is impossible to predict what a person wants to listen to at a precise moment, even knowing very well his/her tastes and listening habits. In fact, this choice depends on a huge number of factors, such as time of day, mood, listening context, previously listened to songs, etc.


Extended streaming history of my Spotify Premium profile