The metaphors we stream by: Making sense of music streaming

Anja Nylund Hagen, First Monday, Mar 11, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This article looks at four dominant metaphors for music streaming used by aficionados to describe their experience: streaming as tool use, streaming as entering places, music streaming as a way of being, and music streaming as lifeworld meditation. The study "demonstrated the complexity of individual online experiences" and the author notes that "this level of complexity was heightened when mobile and ubiquitous Internet characteristics were included, in turn incorporating notions of immediacy, serendipity, restlessness, fluidity, and fragmentation." For me, streaming means immediacy and presence; I like to close my eyes and let the sound surround me. As a kid, I listened to the radio using earbuds. I carefully wired them from the radio on the dresser, down the wall, under the carpet and under my pillow. I live that same experience today as I listen to 1950s radio dramas, baseball games, and yes, streaming music. It's hard to describe, which is why we need metaphors. p.s. death metal in a basement in Bergen - still one of my travel highlights.

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