Keywords: Music Industry; Gatekeepers; Popular Music; Platform Capitalism; Algorithms.
Our research addresses the issues of the cross-media diffusion and the participatory circulation of pop music in Italy and tries to answer the following questions: Are the music industry and radio companies still endowed with the power to create consensus around an early released musical product or such power has been taken over by social media and digital platforms of music streaming? Which actors contribute the most in making a song popular? In order to answer such questions, we have adopted an empirical perspective: we have followed the diffusion patterns of three Italian pop music songs on 1000 national and local radio stations and on platforms like Spotify, YouTube, Shazam and Twitter, from the day of their market release to the following 5 months (154 days). We show how music streaming platforms are taking up an increasingly important position in the processes of taste formation and the construction of musical audiences. We conclude by proposing a critical reflection on the hybrid role of radio and music streaming platforms in setting the listening agenda of music consumption.