In The Mood For Mood: A musicological perspective on the mechanisms of the mood playlist
Ee, Herwin van
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis is mainly focussed on uncovering the workings of the mood playlist format. This format is found on streaming services such as Spotify and aims on influencing a listener’s mood. These playlists are either made by users or Spotify staff members. What distinguishes the mood playlist from other playlists is the fact that they are thematically focused on a specific mood instead of other curatorial criteria such as genre or artist. To better understand what a mood playlist is, I have theorized different aspects which are of importance when it comes to the mood playlist in a theoretical framework. First of all, I am discussing what a mood is and how moods are influenced. While moods are mostly influenced through emotions, which in turn can be aroused and perceived through music, aesthetics play an important role as well. This is because they function as a contextualization or adjective of the mood in a mood playlist. Secondly, I am explaining the characteristics of a playlist through a history of the playlist. Through doing this, I reveal the playlist’s characteristics as well as from which medium they are inherited. The third part of the theoretical framework contextualizes the listening side of affective mood regulation. This includes a discussion on the changing role of music in everyday life as well as new listening modes and a comparison to the Muzak corporation. To show how these mood-regulating processes work in practice, I have conducted a case study wherein I analyse a mood playlist. This analysis largely consists of three parts. The first shows how the aesthetic is featured throughout the playlist, the second is a general discussion of the playlist's musical properties and the third discusses four mechanisms of emotional arousal that potentially lead to the theorized mood.