Amplifying artists' voices: item provider perspectives on the influence and fairness of music streaming platforms


The majority of music consumption nowadays takes place on music streaming platforms. Whichever artists, albums, or songs are exposed to consumers on these platforms therefore greatly influences what music is ultimately consumed. As a result, the impact of these platforms on artists—their main item providers—is considerable. The recommender systems at the core of streaming platforms, though, have traditionally been developed focusing on end consumer objectives. Only recently, researchers have started to include item provider objectives, though rarely through reaching out to item providers directly. By omitting this important stakeholder’s point of view, we risk not understanding what artists value most, and might miss first-hand ideas on how to improve streaming platforms and recommender systems. Therefore, we conducted semi-structured interviews to capture the artists’ view. Specifically, we explore artists’ considerations regarding fairness, transparency, and diversity in music recommender systems, and the role artists envision for streaming platforms regarding those topics. We identify some topics with a clear consensus among artists, such as desiring more control over which music is recommended to whom, and expecting streaming platforms to actively increase music diversity in recommendations. In contrast, artists’ opinions differ on whether platforms should actively intervene in recommender systems to, e.g., increase localization or gender balance. Further, we observe that artists often take user preferences into account and even suggest new platform functionality to benefit both users and item providers. We encourage utilizing these insights when designing and evaluating music streaming platforms and recommender systems.

31st ACM Conference on User Modeling, Adaptation and Personalization (UMAP 2023)