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Collaborative classification of popular music on the internet and its social implications

Rose Marie Santini (Department of Information Science, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives

ISSN: 1065-075X

Article publication date: 22 August 2011




This paper aims to discuss how collaborative classification works in online music information retrieval systems and its impacts on the construction, fixation and orientation of the social uses of popular music on the internet.


Using a comparative method, the paper examines the logic behind music classification in Recommender Systems by studying the case of, one of the most popular web sites of this type on the web. Data collected about users' ritual classifications are compared with the classification used by the music industry, represented by the AllMusic web site.


The paper identifies the differences between the criteria used for the collaborative classification of popular music, which is defined by users, and the traditional standards of commercial classification, used by the cultural industries, and discusses why commercial and non‐commercial classification methods vary.

Practical implications

Collaborative ritual classification reveals a shift in the demand for cultural information that may affect the way in which this demand is organized, as well as the classification criteria for works on the digital music market.

Social implications

Collective creation of a music classification in recommender systems represents a new model of cultural mediation that might change the way of building new uses, tastes and patterns of musical consumption in online environments.


The paper highlights the way in which the classification process might influence the behavior of the users of music information retrieval systems, and vice versa.



Santini, R.M. (2011), "Collaborative classification of popular music on the internet and its social implications", OCLC Systems & Services: International digital library perspectives, Vol. 27 No. 3, pp. 210-247.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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