Spotify can tell if you’re sad. Here’s why that should scare you
News | 16.09.2018
Our personal, private moments with music are being turned into data points. That could be lucrative for companies – and emotionally very costly for consumers
Want to figure out if someone is a psychopath? Ask them what their favourite song is. A New York University study last year found that people who loved Eminem’s Lose Yourself and Justin Bieber’s What Do You Mean? were more likely to score highly on the psychopathy scale than people who were into Dire Straits.
Now obviously that study is very far from conclusive and no reason to cut Beliebers and Eminem stans from your life. Nevertheless, you can tell a fair bit about someone by their music consumption. Spotify certainly thinks so anyway. Someone who works at the company recently informed me that: “Nothing says more about someone than the music they listen to and their porn habits.” I have no idea if that’s a company-wide mantra, but it’s certainly ingrained in the streaming service’s business model. (The first bit, I mean, not the porn habits.) Over the past few years, Spotify has been ramping up its data analytic capabilities in a bid to help marketers target consumers with adverts tailored to the mood they’re in. They deduce this from the sort of music you’re listening to, coupled with where and when you’re listening to it, along with third-party data that might be available.