Back in 2018, the music streaming platform Spotify filed for a patent that uses speech recognition to determine a users’ emotional state, gender, age or accent. All of this by just hearing our voices? As invasive as that may seem, the patent was granted to Spotify just last month. The goal of this new technology is to have an even more personalized experience within the app. By listening to the consumer and to their surroundings, Spotify will be able to make recommendations in real-time. If you’re feeling sad one day, Spotify will know. If you’re happy the next, Spotify will know.
While personalizing the customer experience is a great way to keep and gain consumers, it does bare the question: where do we draw the line between personalization and invasion of privacy?
To me this whole idea is a little creepy, but it is the world we are living in today. I know I’m not the only one that gets a little weirded out when you open up Facebook or Instagram and see an ad for a product you just talked about over dinner. So why would a music streaming platform listening to the tone of our voices be any different?
It all comes down to how companies, such as Spotify, will use our information. If it is just to make recommendations, then that’s perfectly fine. However, things start to get a little worrisome for people when companies decide to use that to profit at the user’s expense. One app that seems to be on the right side of things is Amazon’s Halo, who have stated that any data collected will not be used for any marketing purposes.
At the end of the day we will have to see how consumers react to this new technology. Is having a more personalized experience becoming the new normal, even when it blurs the lines of privacy? The experience economy is moving fast and companies need to find ways to keep up with the speed of these new changes. So maybe this is the right move in order for Spotify to be on top of the music streaming industry.
Itzell Ramirez-Lopez is a marketing intern for Worthix. She is currently a fourth-year at the University of Georgia pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Marketing, with an emphasis in Digital Marketing. She is also pursuing a certification in Legal Studies. She will be graduating in May 2021.