Category Archives: uncategorized

Research About Listening

This is a guest post by Amanda Krause, a post graduate student at Heriot Watt University who’s researching everyday music listening habits. She has a few online music questionnaires and is looking for music fans to help answer a few questions.


My name is Amanda Krause. I am a post graduate student at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, researching in the field of applied psychology. My research interests center on how we use music in our everyday lives, and particularly how we use and listen to music in relation to current and changing technology.

I have created the website and Twitter account (@StudyListening) to promote and engage with others about my research. On my website I have different opportunities for people to participate: right now there are four online questionnaires on the site that you can take part in. As I continue my work, different opportunities and information will be added to the website. And I try to share interesting, music-relevant information and links via my twitter account.

Two of the current studies are related to making playlists as a way that people are now able to listen to music.  My previous research revealed that there are 5 different types of playlists that people tend to make; for example, playlists might be based on musicians, music genres, or for a certain activity or occasion. But I want to know more about playlists; but to do that, I need your help!

Playlists are just one way people can listen to music. What about shuffling music, and how mobile devices allow people to carry around massive amounts of music with them? There’s lot of ways that people engage with music and technology in their everyday lives.

Everyone, be it musicians or listeners can take part in my research. Since it’s about everyday listening, no one needs to be an expert in any way. I’m looking to uncover how music is used in our present lives, so please take part if you can.


Quick links to the current  surveys:

  • Social Network Fans Study: Questionnaire to examine how individuals use social networks to interact with and/or find out information about musicians.
  • Listening Study: Questionnaire to examine how individuals access and listen to music on a daily basis.
  • Future Playlists Study: Questionnaire to examine how individuals listen to music.


Hearing Lessons from the Frowning Flower Girl

How’s your hearing? Mine’s finally returning after over a month of near-deafness in one ear. It was quite a downer, especially since I’d not been able to listen to any music in all that time. You’re probably a music fan too, so imagine what a month of silence would be like!

I consider myself very lucky that my hearing loss was only temporary, but it seems that the tinnitus could well be permanent in both ears. And I probably only have myself to blame.

So if you listen to much music, take a tip from a forty-year old synthpopper (or a three-year old frowning flower girl) and turn the volume down. Just a little. You’ll hardly notice the difference. Think about wearing earplugs at concerts too or at least make sure you’re not standing right next to the speaker stacks (duh). I did none of these things from my teens through to my thirties, and the result is that I now have two tone-generators permanently switched on inside my head.

Ho hummmmmmmmmmmmmmm…

Here ends this public service announcement from The Pansentient League. Now that I can actually listen to some tunes, normal music service will resume shortly!


Quiet Life (Tinnitus Dub)

I’m still trying to recover from a virus that’s left my head feeling like a frisbee. I’m currently virtually deaf in one ear: listening to any sound makes it buzz and whine and hurt like hell. Couple that with the permanent tinnitus I have in the other ear makes me think that my auditory inputs are in need of some serious downtime. For a music fan and blogger that’s quite a sacrifice, but in a way it serves me right for living such a wild earplug-free youth.

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My Favourite New TV Shows

America’s “fall season” of new TV shows is hitting the UK with only a week or two’s delay these days, thanks to Sky TV and the like securing broadcast rights that give them a fighting chance against the bit-torrenters. American TV is probably now the best in the world; there’s little from the UK or elsewhere that can compete. Of course a lot of it is still complete dross, but here are my favourite current shows with a look towards a few forthcoming series from both sides of the Atlantic.

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Spotify Mono: Everybody Loves April

Easter bunnies may have big ears, but if you only have one ear why must you be forced to pay for bi-aural stereo sound? A regular premium subscription to Spotify gives you access to two full channels of high-quality streaming music: one stream for the right ear and one for the left. This so-called “stereophonic soundwave” (or “stereo” as it is known in the music industry) is based on a recording technique invented by The Beatles in the early 1980s. It wasn’t long before all pop records had the “stereo” system added to justify the rising cost of CDs – these were sold as albums with “twice as much music as before,” or four-times as much for a double-album.

But for many listeners the two sound channels seemed almost identical.

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MP3s ur History!

Time to reclaim some disk space: how much of my mp3 collection is now on Spotify?

I reckon Spotify has:

  • A fair amount of the synthpop and electronica (missing VNV Nation, And One, Seabound, Anthony Rother)
  • Much of the Industrial/EBM (except for KMFDM – I bought and ripped all their albums, so that amounts for a fair chunk of this)
  • Most of the Rock – Indie – Punk (except for The Toy Dolls – again, I bought and ripped all their CDs)
  • None of the Psy – Goa – Psybient
  • Most of the Retro
  • Much of the Downtempo – Warp – Triphop (although need to investigate this further)
  • Some of the Dark Disco – Disco – Radiophonica (missing lots of the new New York disco bands though; artists like Chromatics and Glass Candy)
  • None of the Progressive – Trance – Minimal

So, at a guess I’d say Spotify can stream to me about two-thirds of my mp3 collection. Time to delete then, or maybe I should wait a few months to be sure Spotify is here to stay?

Pie chart made using JDiskReport.

A Brief History of Possible Music Sources

1978 Analog stream from wireless radio LEGAL
1979 Vinyl records LEGAL
1981 Cassette tape copies
1999 mp3 from Napster
2001 mp3 from eDonkey
2002 mp3 from Soulseek
2003 mp3 from Kazaa Lite
2004 mp3 from Suprnova (BitTorrent)
2005 FLAC from OiNK (BitTorrent)
2006 mp3 from Pirate Bay (BitTorrent)
2009 Ogg Vorbis stream from Spotify LEGAL