Pandora & Produsage

‘Produsage’ is a portmanteau of the words “production” and “usage”, popularised by Australian media scholar Axel Bruns (2007: pp 99). This term refers to the user-led content creation that takes place in a variety of online environments, blurring the boundaries between passive consumption, active production, consumers and producers (Bruns, 2007: pp 99). Brun’s four key characteristics of produsage are essential when observing its effect on a media technology such as Pandora Internet Radio. These include:
– Organisational shift
– Fluid movement
– Unfinished
– Permissive (Brun, 2007: pp 99)

Organisational Shift
Pandora Internet Radio was founded by three men, Will Glaser, Jon Kraft and Tim Westergren, and launched in 2000 (Pandora, 2012), however, many teams, groups and communities have since contributed to this internet radio. This is evident in the continuously repeating process of Pandora’s music analysts categorising songs and then users around the world creating their own personal stations and providing feedback on each song that is selected for them, further increasing the efficiency and precision of the Music Genome Project’s musical analysis (Pandora, 2012).

Fluid Movement
The fluid movement of content in Pandora Internet Radio is continuously changing as users pursue their attempts to ‘jailbreak’ Pandora’s security system and download its music and Pandora reply by strengthening their security. While listening, users are offered the ability to buy music at various online retailers, however, this rigid structure isn’t always enough. And so the cycle of the audience attempting to create a more fluid movement in Pandora’s content and Pandora’s attempts to strengthen its rigid structure continue on.

There are over 400 different ‘musical attributes’ that are considered by the Music Genome Project when selecting each song for each individual user, which are combined into larger groups called ‘focus traits’. There are 2,000 focus traits, including rhythm syncopation, key tonality, vocal harmonies, and displayed instrumental proficiency. The scope of songs that include each musical attribute and focus trait is continuously growing as more and more music is released (Pandora, 2012).

Pandora Internet Radio is only open to users in the USA, Australia and New Zealand (Pandora, 2012). However, with Pandora available on desktop computers, laptops, iPhones, Androids, iPods, iPads, and in the radio systems of various car models, this media technology is becoming increasingly accessible for its users (Levy, 2014. AP, 2013). The problem for this internet radio is that copyright, licensing and royalty issues are constantly haunting its attempts to increase its accessibility and revenue (Fixmer, 2012: pp 1-2).

Reference List:
* AP (2013), Pandora Quadruples In-Car Listeners,
* Bruns, Axel (2007) Produsage: Towards a broader framework for user-led content creation, in ‘Creativity and Cognition: Proceedings’, 6th edition, ACM Publishers, Washington D.C, pp 99
* Fixmer, A (2012), Pandora Is Boxed In by High Royalty Fees, Bloomberg Business Week, Bloomberg, Sydney, pp 1-2
* Levy, A (2014), iTunes Radio is Pandora Media Inc’s Biggest Threat, But It’s Not the Only One, The Motley Fool, Alexandria
* Pandora Media, Inc. (2012), About Pandora, Oakland
* Wittke, V and Hanekop, H (2011), New Forms of Collaborative Innovation and Production on the Internet, Georg-August University Press, Göttingen, pp 158

About Tom Fogarty

I'm 20 years old. I live on the South Coast. I'm currently studying a double degree in Media and Communications at UOW. I'm in a hardcore band called Pariah. Thats about it, as far as I know anyway. View all posts by Tom Fogarty

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