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Spotify Teardown


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About the Author

Maria Eriksson is a social anthropologist and a PhD candidate in the Department of Culture and Media Studies at Umea University. Rasmus Fleischer is a postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Economic History at Stockholm University. Anna Johansson is an Associate Senior Lecturer in Ethnology at HUMlab at Umea University. Pelle Snickars is Professor of Media and Communication Studies at Umea University. Patrick Vonderau is Professor of Media Studies at Stockholm University.


Full of canny insights about media disruption and algorithm culture as well as odd tidbits that will delight music history fans...the book is as much a chronicle of Spotify the company as it is an open-ended question about the future of music.

-Rolling Stone

This incredible investigation will open your eyes to an entire universe of data sharing and online marketing occurring at octaves too low for human consciousness to detect.

-Big Think

A work that is, by turns, both surprising and banal, provocative and benign, empowering and frustrating.


Dispels the misunderstanding that Spotify is - or at least primarily - about music.

-Suddeutsche Zeitung

I loved the book and I highly recommend it.... Spotify is portrayed not as a company that was interested in saving the music industry but as one that was created by a couple of bored advertising bros.... Spotify Teardown shows a company much like all advertising-support music platforms, where the ultimate customer is Coca-Cola; not music fans nor artists.

-Penny Fractions
Spotify Teardown: Inside the Black Box of Streaming Music is an ambitious, wide-ranging, and mis-titled book. Studying firms like Spotify is notoriously challenging....The result is a methodological commitment to exteriority, which pays off in the form of delightfully inventive methods that reimagine the nature of the thing we call Spotify. Thus, if I suggest that this book should be subtitled "Outside the Black Box," it is no insult: its greatest contribution may be demonstrating how important the "outside" is-both to Spotify's functioning and to what we understand it to be.-Information & Culture: A Journal of History

Highly readable.... The rigor and curiosity with which they treat their subject are necessary: Spotify has completely transformed the music industry, and to truly understand how and why requires illuminating each nebulous part of the company.

-The Nation

The book is not so much a nuts-and-bolts analysis of how Spotify works so much as a critical account of why it works the way it does today.


Spotify Teardown is a book very much of this moment. As well as considering the streaming platform's 'front end' through consulting news coverage, company blogs, financial results, interface analysis and more, it also uses numerous experimental methodologies n an attempt to get at Spotify's mysterious 'back end', and its particular algorithm enabled wrangling of the digital music commodity.


Spotify Teardown is a rhyme and reason for all platforms mediating our musical consumption. There's a hint of quasi-fascist gatekeeping: you wouldn't need to type in 'Latin' in South America, because that's all you'll be offered, and their policy of cis good life imagery, of 'chrono normative' lifestyles - of getting out of bed, going to work, to the gym - normalises how we chill into categories we can imitate.

-DJ Mag

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