"Spotify knows everything about your music taste, yeah right"

Spotify artlitenSpotify is that rare combination of up to something and good for nothing. Read my merciless diatribe of this despicaple streaming service here (opens in a new window). I almost exhausted myself and was pretty convinced there was nothing more to say. But no, reluctantly I have to return to this loathsome subject again. The thing that triggered me this time was an "article" in the morning paper (see excerpt to the left). Swedish journalists fall to their knees and their journalistic instincts dissipate into thin air when they come near swedish Spotify. In my opinion, the "article" is similar to paid content. I have to restrain myself not to ridicule Spotify and its employees. The overly "creative" workplace (do you really have any use for a Bobby Car in an office space), the arty-farty paintings on the walls, the dressed-like-Teletubbies employees. In the above-mentioned article a emloyee make a comparison between making Spotify playlists and creating mix tapes in the old days. This clearly shows what he knows. The Teletubbie guy doesn't know anything about the difficult process of making a mix tape (Nick Hornby's book "High Fidelity" contains a good description of its hardships). However, my main criticism is the statement in the article that the Spotify-robots know more about your music taste than you do. Spotify uses 50 000 secret users, robot reading of 30 000 sites and 2 000 000 000 playlists to make music recommendations for you. Don't blame me. I didn't ask for them. Spotify claim that their algorithms can handle anomalies in your listening for example binge listening to One Direction if your kid uses your account. Spotify also claim that machines understand music, which is a contradiction in terms since music is human by its definition (some exceptions exists). The secret users, also called "artificial hipsters", don't know they're being used in the process of making recommendations. The reason behind this is that Spotify suspect that the hipsters might change their already hypersensitive behaviour and will try to be even more hip if they know they are being used in the process. At the moment the artificial hipsters are blissfully unaware of themselves. The process of producing music recommendations is supported by advanced data analysis. The songs are cut up in thousands of little pieces and then tortured by computers back and forth. The result is astonishing. With an accuracy of 90 percent the data analysis can distinguish pop from techno. However, I can safely say that my accuracy rate is 100 percent. Back to the drawing board, Tinky, Winky and Dipsy. Man is too complex to fit in a algorithm. To be honest, it's not how recommendations are created that upsets me, it's recommendations as such. Music recommendations are not always a positive thing. In my opinion, a music recommendation that you haven't asked for is unwelcome in the same way as unwelcome sexual advances. The rule of conduct in a record shop is that the customer asks the staff for music recommendations. I got an unwelcome music recommendation once in a renowned record store in Stockholm. I felt cheap and violated.



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