A lot can be known about you based on the music you listen to on Spotify. And the company itself takes advantage of it.
Can you deduce someone's mood, or even personality just based on the listening music? In recent months, a type of tests that claim to be able to determine a series of emotional traits, based on the selection of different songs from a Spotify playlist according to a description provided about each song. It is possible to find this type of test under the sentence that gives title to this article.
The operation of this type of tests is simple: they are generally prepared by platform users such as TikTok and Instagram, and later linked in their profiles or publications. By accessing them, followers are presented with a series of definitions and they must choose the option that is best associated with each of them, from a series of songs taken from the playlist of the person in charge of developing the test.
Once the test is finished, based on the responses obtained, the result is that more appropriate profile to the person who has completed the test. Depending on the person who has developed the test, the types of profiles can be very different.
But do these tests have some kind of foundation? For the most part, no: it is the creators themselves who choose which results should appear to each participant based on their responses, and in most cases they are tests created humorously and without any kind of foundation that supports that the results can really give us clues about a person's personality or emotions.
That, however, does not mean that it is not possible to know the state of mind, or approach someone's personality based on their musical tastes. In fact, own Spotify it does it every time you play a song.
ASpotify knows (and takes advantage of) your mood according to the music you listen to
Spotify takes years analyzing the listening habits of your platform users. And not only does it create playlists based on moods, one of the types of most popular that we can find on the music platform in . It also takes advantage of this data to obtain economic profit, by selling information about users' moods to advertisers, who can subsequently target your advertising more precisely to users according to your emotions.
It was in 2015, just after having acquired the firm specializing in “musical intelligence” Echo Nest, when Spotify began to enter fully into the analysis of human nature based on musical tastes.
By analyzing the music that its users listen to, Spotify is able to determine traits such as the Politic ideology, if it is a person sociable, introspective or adventurous, as well as many other traits of his character. They may even come to know what activity are we doing, just like assured one of the company's directors in 2017:
“We know that if you are listening to your playlist relaxed in the morning, you may be doing yoga, you are meditating … so we would run a contextually relevant ad with information, tonality and rhythm for that particular moment.”
But not only the music that is listened to and the context in which it is made is analyzed. Spotify technology also studies the behavior of its users on social networks with the aim of knowing what do they think about the music they listen to. Added to this process is an obstacle that is difficult to overcome due to the techniques developed by the company when obtaining the data, and that is users are not always honest, and what they think about certain types of music does not have to be related to their reproduction activity within the platform.
And it goes further. Somehow Spotify also intends to manage to change – for the better, of course – the mood of the people who use your platform.
In a experiment carried out by Liz Pelly, journalist from , consisting of creating a new account on the platform and listening only to music recommended by Spotify within its “Coping with loss” list – which the platform accompanies with the description: “when someone you love becomes a memory … Find comfort in these songs. ”-.
After a few days, when Spotify would have obtained enough information to get a general idea about your mood, the platform started recommending music oriented to encourage the user. After all, the company wants its product to be perceived as a tool aimed at improving mood.
The differences between personality or mood tests created by users, and the data collection techniques carried out by Spotify are immense, as is its purpose –The first case seeks humor and affinity with the followers, the second tries to give the user the feeling that the platform offers a totally personalized experience, as well as to take advantage of the interest of advertisers for this type of data–.
What is clear is that the music can be one of the most representative things about a person's personality that can be measured through technology. In any case, remember that Spotify includes its own private playback mode, which prevents the company from obtaining information associated with your listening habits.