Do the Shuffle

Examining People and Their Music Collections

Do the Shuffle is investigating listeners’ relationships with music they have curated.

Music is in many people’s everyday lives. In health, educational, and social settings music can fulfil specific functions. Many of the uses of music in these settings may be reliant on people’s relationships with the music used. However, the factors contributing to people’s relationships with music are often not considered fully in these contexts.

One of the main ways in which people listen to music today is on personal devices. These devices often hold curated or partially curated music. These songs can be listened to in many different ways, including the quasi-random format of the shuffle.

In this study, we capitalise on the ubiquity of personal music devices and the shuffle function to test a new method and investigate which aspects of music listening are prioritized by people with music on their personal devices. Through people’s descriptions of randomly selected music on their device, we explore their relationships with tracks and the factors that contribute to those relationships. We do this in order to understand better which aspects of music listening people prioritize and the factors that contribute to the different relationships they have with pieces of music.

These findings may contribute to improved understanding of how music may be more appropriately used, and function better, in health, educational, and social settings.

CPS team

Neta Spiro, RCM


Alexandra Lamont, Keele
Katie Rose Sanfilippo, Goldsmiths
Miguel Molina Solana, Imperial

Learn more

Visit the project website.

Sanfilippo KRM, Spiro N, Molina-Solana M, & Lamont A (2020), Do the shuffle: exploring reasons for music listening through shuffled play, PLOS One, 15 (e0228457), 1-21 [DOI].

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