Spotify as a Case of Musical Bildung

  • Cecilia Ferm Almqvist Södertörn University, Sweden
  • Susanna Leijonhufvud Luleå University of Technology, Sweden
  • Niclas Ekberg Luleå University of Technology, Sweden


This article explores the meaning and function of streaming media as a potential facilitator of musical
Bildung. Taking the affordances of streaming media technologies as a starting point, the article thus
focuses on the formative and cultivating dimensions a music streaming service such as Spotify
might offer. The specific aim of this article is to describe and analyse how musical Bildung may evolve
within a Spotify context from a user perspective. To address the aim from the point of view of music
education, Spotify users’ activities and experiences of streaming media interactions were accessed,
inspired by internet-related ethnography. Stimulated recall interviews, focusing on the participants’
experiences as well as their actual use of Spotify’s streaming service, were conducted, recorded, and
transcribed. The generated material was subjected to co-operative hermeneutic content analysis.
The results illuminate how Bildung evolves in users’ encounters with the service and with art mediated
via Spotify. Relevant topics occurring in the human-art-technology relationship of Bildung from a
Heideggerian perspective were Being-possible, the ability-to-be, and Spotify as the Other. In sum, it
can be stated that Bildung evolves when Spotify exceeds the thingness of the Other, becoming a work
of art in itself, throwing the user into Being.

Original Articles
Spotify, streamed music, bildung, being, becoming, technology