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Spotify’s Mood Related Data Lets Advertisers Target by Listeners Emotional State

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    Liz Pelly, writing for The Baffler:

    [A] more careful look into Spotify’s history shows that the decision to define audiences by their moods was part of a strategic push to grow Spotify’s advertising business in the years leading up to its IPO—and today, Spotify’s enormous access to mood-based data is a pillar of its value to brands and advertisers, allowing them to target ads on Spotify by moods and emotions. Further, since 2016, Spotify has shared this mood data directly with the world’s biggest marketing and advertising firms.

    This creeps me out.

  2. Omni


    That's really creepy.
    CMilliken likes this.
  3. MacbethSin


    Eh, I don't get the whole deal with advertising being creepy or malicious. The only two options are that you're (A) annoyed by some shit you don't want or (B) introduced to some shit you do.

    If I'm going to see ads anyway, I would prefer them to be tailored to my interests so I have a chance to actually get something out of it (found a few products I really love from Instagram ads) than be a source of constant irritation from protein powders and boner pills.
    coleslawed, Orla and Raku like this.
  4. Couple things:

    1) Targeted ads don't actually work that much more.
    2) I think targeting around "you like this picture of a surfboard, sell them a surfboard" is a tad different than "you listened to a sad/happy/whatever song so let's sell you something."
    3) I think massive data collection on all of us is creepy and I don't think it's made the internet better.
    4) This is why I think people should pay for things like they, so they don't become the product in an algorithm. That we've just thrown our digital privacy away and accepted it as "well, nothing we can do" is really sad and it's really hurting small independent publishers (like this one!).
    coleslawed, JRGComedy, Arry and 5 others like this.
  5. ReginaPhilange

    FKA Jacob Prestigious

    It doesn't bother me in regards to my personal interactions with ads or the internet in general, but the inherent morality of attempting to profit off your emotional state is messed up - it's a bit dehumanizing to just be a data point for commodification and this is that to an extreme.
    coleslawed and Jason Tate like this.
  6. CarpetElf

    point gawd Prestigious

    Guess I'm only getting advertisements for Julien Baker from now on.
    coleslawed likes this.
  7. copey


    Curious how this works for Premium users. I assume, even though you are paying to not be served ads, your data is still being mined to serve the larger Spotify community. You'd have to imagine that Premium users are the more active users and thus have better data. You'd like to think that if you are a paying customer, paying for the product, that you are wholly opting out of any of this data tracking because you are actually paying for a product and you the user are no longer the product in that instance - I doubt this is true, but would love know to exactly how it works for Free vs Premium users.

    It's an interesting situation because I feel if there is ANY internet product where I actually WANT my data mined for better personalization, it's in a music streaming service. No one has yet nailed serving up music based on time of day, location, activity, etc and getting that right seems like a really interesting way to move a music streaming service forward.

    I think Spotify started down this road, and it's true they do offer a pretty good product with Discover Weekly, but the fact that their ambitions are to become the third largest ad network behind the 2 creepiest companies, is inherently scary and not at all what I signed up for when becoming a Spotify user (granted, you sign the EULA and so that is EXACTLY what i did sign up for). It's unfortunate that their ambitions aren't to just become the de facto streaming service.

    I have mostly switched to AppleMusic a long time ago and have been really happy with their approach to how a modern music service should function, but I am the head of a Spotify family plan & for the time being stuck paying for Spotify as well :-|
    thenewmatthewperry likes this.