Alexis Yam is a 4th year undergraduate student majoring in Professional Communication at Ryerson University. Pursuing her interest in music, digital media, and pop culture, Alexis has taken a wide variety of courses related to the areas of creative marketing, promotional relations, social media, digital popular cultures, visual communication, music business, and more. Throughout these courses, Alexis was able to perfect her eye for visuals, and her technical skills in video and photo editing and creative content curation. She always aimed to push her boundaries to test her limits and skills, in order to strive for improvement.
Alexis’s goal in pursuing communication as a career is to be able to curate the experience of how people communicate and receive messages – whether it is in visual, written, emblematic, or digital forms. Alexis was genuinely excited in pursuing her individual research project, combining the forms of media she is most interested in, along with the social issue of gender bias.
Gendered Biases in the Music and Algorithms is a research project that delves into the impact of algorithms and the subconscious biases in the music tastes of young adults. Its research goal is to analyze how the factors of the technology of streaming and individual listeners interact with each other. As we all know, algorithms and artificial intelligence can have biases. However, these algorithms also feed off of the user’s preferences, which would include the individual’s own biases as well. It is a well-known factor that although there are many amazing female and non-binary artists, statistically, male artists still outnumber and dominate every area of the music industry – from stream numbers to radio spins, to the official charts.
By analyzing each individual’s music tastes, their habits in streaming, and the streaming platform, I aim to answer 2 questions: First, how does gender bias affect people’s streaming habits, and in turn, the music industry? And additionally, do the algorithms on streaming technology have a gender bias to encourage this gender gap in the music industry?
The 90 percipients who took part in the Google Survey provided insightful, interesting answers on their streaming platform, their favourite artists, their favourite genres, their perspectives on gender bias in the music industry, and helpful screenshots of their home and browsing page of their used streaming platform. With these responses, along with previously conducted secondary research studies – there is a definite conclusion for the main question, and some possible answers for the additional second question, that can be further looked into with more technological resources.
music streaming platforms, digital media, personal taste, social constructed biases, gender bias, music industry