IASPM International Conferences - Proceedings, Situating Popular Musics

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"Playlist value" in three local commercial radio stations
Carlo Nardi

Last modified: 2013-01-22


Based on fieldwork in Trento, Italy, this paper investigates the process of playlisting in three commercial radio stations, illustrating the implicit and explicit norms that define this process. I call special attention to DJs and their activity of mediation between music makers and their audience – an activity that includes the choice and the manipulation of musical material for precise communicative goals. It is my aim to show how the definition of what is appropriate for the playlist, which I define as “playlist value”, is subject to different kinds of constraints. Among these, on the one hand we find more pressing structural restrictions from advertisers, music labels and functional features of the radio; on the other hand, we find less urgent, and yet just as effective cultural constraints, that push DJs to adjust their playlists to those of national networks.

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