You Are What You Listen to

According to researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Co-workers sharing digital music in the workplace via Apple Computer’s popular iTunes® software form impressions of each other based on their musical libraries

“People sharing music in our study were aware of the comings and goings of others in the office because they noticed the appearance and disappearance of others’ music on the network,” said Amy Voida, lead author of the paper and a Ph.D. student at Georgia Tech. “They imagined what other people might think about their music collections, and they were aware of the musical holes left when someone left the company…. What once was an individual jukebox became a music community.” (...) “One of the greatest challenges for technical innovation in music sharing may be in allowing designers to make the leap between treating music sharing technologies as personal music listening utilities and treating music sharing technologies as online communities. Although music sharing has traditionally been a strong indicator of group identity and has reflected shared musical taste, our study of iTunes music sharing has demonstrated that even groups with disparate musical tastes can form strong group identities.”

More about this, in the following paper: Voida, A., Grinter, R.E., Ducheneaut, N., Edwards, W.K., & Newman, M.W. (to appear). Listening in: Practices surrounding iTunes music sharing. To appear in proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2005). Portland, Oregon, April 2-7.