Everyday Music Listening and Affect Regulation: The Role of MP3 Players

Marie Strand Skånland


The use of digital portable music devices such as MP3 players has rapidly increased during the last decade, and the sheer availability of music offered by such players raises questions about their impact on listeners’ mental and physical health and well-being. This article explores MP3 player use as an everyday tactic for affect regulation, here understood as an individual’s efforts to maintain or change the intensity or duration of a given affect. The ability to understand and regulate affects has significant health implications, and among the tactics relevant to such regulation, engagement with music has proven to be particularly successful. The material presented in this article is based on a qualitative interview study focused on MP3 player use as a medium for musical self-care. Because MP3 users can listen to whatever they want, whenever they want, and target their music in the interests of managing and regulating moods and emotions, the MP3 player represents a valuable and convenient technology of affect regulation. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)