Spotify Gains A Set Of Ears

Image Credit: Getty Images, Wachiwit.

Sign up for smart news, insights, and analysis on the biggest financial stories of the day.

This story has the ingredients of a Yakov Smirnoff punchline: On the record player, you listen to music. On a streaming platform, the music listens to you.

Streaming giant Spotify has been granted a patent for an algorithm that listens to users’ conversations and makes song suggestions based on their emotional state.

The Ultimate Mood Music

The notion of smartphones eavesdropping on your conversations is, clearly, old hat. Zuckerberg has effectively been in your living room for years.

Spotify’s technology can be used to “make observations” about a user’s environment and emotions using speech recognition technology. Combined with data on previously-played songs and friends’ taste in music, Spotify will make highly-personalized music recommendations.

Song Specifics:

  • Spotify plans to collect data on your mood and social setting (e.g. alone vs. at a party) when deciding between Miley and Lana.
  • The patent also reveals technology to collect data on “intonation, stress, and rhythm” to determine whether you are feeling “happy, angry, sad, or neutral.”

The Takeaway:

Spotify has been on somewhat of a patent streak. In September, it patented a karaoke-like feature that allows people to “overlay a music track with their own vocals”. And earlier this week, it gained permission for a “cadence-based media content selection engine” – which matches the tempo of your music to your running speed.