Ariadne: User-Centered Music Discovery in a Labyrinth of Semantic Threads

TitleAriadne: User-Centered Music Discovery in a Labyrinth of Semantic Threads
Publication TypeMaster Thesis
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsBalcells Eichenberger, D.
AbstractThe last two decades have seen continued increases in the amount of music that is readily accessible online, the variety of devices through which we can access it, and the speed at which we do so. Despite this growth, our means of interaction with large music catalogs remain the same, predominated by search-driven and text-based interfaces that limit their potential explorability. We aim to develop an interface to browse music collections that overcomes these limitations. We achieve this following a user-centered approach: by means of in-depth interviews with music listeners, we link certain user profiles with specific unmet interaction needs that, once met, make exploratory browsing possible. The interviews reveal that a certain type of users find existing platforms for music discovery to be opaque, obscuring both control over the exploration and information about the new music behind black-box algorithms. To overcome this opacity we present Ariadne, an open-source web interface that exposes the MusicBrainz catalog. It allows users to browse a music catalog as a growing map of connected dots that represent songs and the explicit semantic relationships between them. By at the same time shaping and exploring this music space in an interactive way, users can discover new music while learning about it and how it is related to music they already know.
Final publication