The Global in My Pocket – An iPod Library Network Analysis and Visualisation

The front of the information graph was visualised as a replacement for the current MP3 file icon.
The back of the information graph shows the contents of the MP3 file itself.
An information graph visualizing the dominance of the United States and the United Kingdom within the music industry.
An information graph visualizing the dominance of the United States and the United Kingdom within the record label industry.
An information graph visualizing the distribution of countries in their role in the music industry. Colors are attached to each entry in the library file that concerns information about place.
The United States and the United Kingdom seem to be the most dominant parties by far in the network behind (a portion of) my personal iPod library file.
Info
Title: The Global in My Pocket
Subtitle: An iPod Library Network Analysis and Visualisation
Type: Diagram; Assignment
Type.dimensions: 841 × 594 mm
Type.pages: 2 pages
Type.encoding: Adobe PDF Library 9.0
Type.version: 1.4 (Acrobat 5.x)
Designer.name: F. N. (Fernando) van der Vlist
Designer.affiliation: School of Media & Design, Willem de Kooning Academy Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences
Instructor.name: N. O. (Niels) Schrader
Instructor.affiliation: Dept. of Graphic Design, Willem de Kooning Academy Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences
Description: Portable media players like the iPod allow you to take your music library everywhere. Among the developments that made this possible is the introduction and continued development of the now popular MP3 file format. This lossy audio format uses algorithmic data compression to take adventage of the perceptual limitations of the human hearing range. Beyond the technical specifications of this file format (but also as a result of these specifications), it also became an icon that represents a range of radical cultural shifts. A chief example of such a shift is of course (illegal) file-sharing.
The MP3 file format is intimately linked with the idea of globalisation. The popular codec represents the shift in music consumption from albums to single tracks. Now that information can't always be printed on the back of an album cover anymore, one of the implications is that all metadata about that track needs to be encoded in the file itself.
For this visualisation (a small portion of) my personal iPod library was analysed. The analysis included track names, length, lyrics, album names, years, genres, labels, countries, but also less obvious information like instruments and their geographical origins. Looking through endless amounts of metadata about the tracks, it became clear how global its scope actually was. Based on this observation, I developed network visualisations that only shows the linkages that emerged from focusing on location data. The resulting networks are disconnected ‘continents&rsuyo; for each different country, demonstrating the obvious truth: that most of the music industry is dominated by the United States and the United Kingdom.
On the flipside of the “MP3 file icon”, a selected listing of the relevant metadata information is provided. Colours represent the different countries of the labels or the artists (e.g. red for US, and blue for UK), and information balloons show the actual number of linkages for these countries.
Date.submitted: 30 June 2010
Date.evaluated: 30 June 2010
Language: English (United Kingdom)
2012– fernandovandervlist.nl
v1.2.29