Weekly Writing for Week 11

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Huazhi Qin

We access the Internet every day. Nearly all apps in our electronic devices build up connections with the Internet and incorporate it as a part of their functionalities. However, most of the users merely consume the “content” on it, such as all kinds of media, including messages, videos, texts, and images, displayed on the apps or online platforms. As what Professor Irvine said, the internet or web for most people is simply what is experienced on, and through, screens and graphical interfaces – the “content” that they can access or transmit, and have it display or play through a network equipped device. (Irvine) In short words, these apps we use are all blackboxed products with a network of interdependencies.

Take Spotify as an example. Spotify provides digital music streaming services. Users can get access to millions of songs, podcast, and videos from artists all over the world. It is a proprietary multimedia application streaming servers to stream audio and video to their users. The permission from the major record labels to use their tracks has been done before users access to it. Also, it uses digital rights management (DRM) protection to those copyrighted works. In addition, it lists terms and conditions to regulate users’ behaviors.

Besides, Spotify builds its own infrastructure based on a collection of tech stack. For instance, it uses Java as its language, Cassandra for the database, Pingdom for website monitoring, as well as Google Cloud Dataflow, Docker, Helios and so forth. (The whole tech stack can be seen at https://stackshare.io/spotify/spotify)

Furthermore, when users use it on different devices, they usually find it provides some services. However, Spotify has to make adjustments to different standards. For instance, the audio settings will be adjusted based on different platforms, devices or network connections.


In addition, according to Spotify itself, it has now built up a community of 191m users, including 87m subscribers, across 78 markets. The Internet mediates different telecommunications regimes in different countries, conflicts in private and governmental investment and ownership of network infrastructure, agreements on standards, market and business rivalries, intellectual property regimes and control of content, and policy and regulatory issues. Until now, it is still unavailable in China.


“Spotify – Spotify Tech Stack.” StackShare, stackshare.io/spotify/spotify.

Martin Irvine, The Internet: Design Principles and Extensible Futures.