EMILY GREENBERG

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Metadata Radio 2015
internet radio station via radionomy.com
Voice actor: Andrew Kagen

It's never been more convenient to listen to music online. Without paying a dime, music listeners can access thousands of songs through radio streaming websites like Pandora and Spotify that, even more conveniently, tailor their music recommendations and mixes using powerful algorithms and user feedback. And yet, the marriage of big data and internet radio is not benign. As these sites have figured out, the metadata users provide about their musical preferences can help predict a number of important demographic markers (like age, gender, race, income level, sexual activity levels and orientation, political affiliation, recreational drug usage, future delinquency, and basic personality makeup just to name a few), and they're only too willing to sell this information to the highest corporate or governmental bidder.

Featuring a curated collection of songs about privacy and surveillance, Metadata Radio was a fully functional internet radio station dedicated to reclaiming music listening from Big Brother. A pre-programmed site, it didn't rely on user input or personal information. In fact, the only personal information revealed was that of the curmudgeonly radio announce, who divulged a bit too much about his personal life while educating listeners about music surveillance. The announcer tracks have been archived on SoundCloud, and a list of the musical tracks appears below.

Sources and further reading:
Cooper, Belle Beth. "The Surprising Science Behind What Music Does to Our Brains," fastcompany.com. 6 Dec. 2013.
Dwoskin, Elizabeth. "Pandora Thinks It Knows if You Are a Republican," wsj.com. 13 Feb. 2014.
Griffith, Virgil. "musicthatmakseyoudumb," musicthatmakesyoudumb.virgil.gr.
Leonard, Andrew. "Big Brother is in your Spotify: How music became the surveillance state's Trojan horse," Salon.com. 28 Mar. 2014.
Marx, Gary T. "Soul Trai: The New Surveillance in Popular Music," Lessons From Identity Trail. Eds. Kerr, Steeves, Lucock. Oxford, 2008.
"New University of Leicester Study Identifies Links Between Musical Tastes and Lifestyle," University of Leicester.
Ter Bogt, Tom F.M. et al. "Early Adolescent Music Preferences and Minor Delinquency," pediatrics.aappublications.org. 12 Oct. 2012.

Featured tracks:
2 Chainz - Pharell, Feds Watching
7 Training Days, Secret Garden
Alan Parsons Project, Eye in the Sky
Alexandra Prince, Are you Watching me
AZ Nas, Phone Tap
Beatfreaks, Somebody's watching me
Bank-jones, A Secret Place
Bobby Vee, Night has a thousand eyes
Buscemi, S ecret
Coldplay, Spies
Daryl Hall & John Oats, Private Eyes
Dead Kennedys, I Am the Owl
Duran Duran, Watching the Detectives
Elton John, In Private
Elvis Costello, Watching the Detectives
Enigmatic, Private Fiction
Grace Jones, Private Life,
Groove Amanda, A Private Interlude
Jacob Miller, Tenement Yard
Jill Scott, Watching Me
Jive Ass Sleepers, Private Eye
Judas Priest, Electric Eye
Kanye West, Big Brother
Leonard Cohen, In My Secret Life
Madonna, Secret
Maroon 5, Secret
Massive Attack, Spying Glass
Neonfunk, Agent Secret
Nine Inch Nails, Satellite
One Republic, Secrets
Orchestral Maneuvers, Secret
Photek, Hidden Camera
Private Lives, The Private Life
Propellerheads, Spybreak!
Rare Earth, Hey Big Brother
Rockwell, Somebody's WatchingMe
Sarah Blasko, Beautiful Secret
Seal, Secret
Shakatak, Watching You
Sine, Our Secret Garden
Stephane Wrembel Trio, Big Brother
Stevie Wonder, Big Brother
The Police, Every Breath You Take
The Rolling Stones, Fingerprint File
The Walls Group, Big Brother
Tom Waits, Watch Her Disappear
Ttrisector, Wiretapped

©Emily Greenberg. All rights reserved.