Southeast Asia awaits...what music will they hear from you next? (Photo by Florian Wehde)
In May 2019, we explored Chaz Jenkins’ concept of “trigger cities”: how global streaming platform algorithms like Spotify and Apple Music are putting today’s voracious listening appetites of Latin American, South Asian, and Southeast Asian cities at the forefront of tomorrow’s Western hits.
The idea is that streaming algorithms reward the best-performing tracks by highlighting/playlisting them more. But unlike the physical sales, big media, or terrestrial radio of yore- where national economies frequently siloed audiences- hungry tech companies want to scale everywhere.
Inevitably, this means our Western listening habits are silently but intimately intertwined with the tastes of Latin Americans and South/SE Asians, via 1s and 0s flying between our smartphones all over the world.
Today we’ll explore a region that rarely shows up on a Western artist’s tour schedule: Southeast Asia.