Spotify has been granted the patent to listen in on users’ speech and background noise, according to Pitchfork. This could enable the company to identify customers’ emotional state, gender, age or even accent. Combined with the physical and social environment of the listener, Spotify’s already existing algorithm that determines content recommendations will then be used to offer other suggestions of music, podcasts, and audiobooks.
The Difference Between a Claimed Patent and a Used One
Even though Spotify claimed the patent on January 12, 2021, three years after their initial filing, there is no guarantee that it will be used in the marketplace. Oftentimes, patents are obtained but do not make it very far. “Spotify has filed patent applications for hundreds of inventions, and we regularly file new applications. Some of these patents become part of future products, while others don’t,” a Spotify spokesperson told Pitchfork.
Should this patent hit the markets, its impact on a subscriber’s listening experience could spark change within the subscription industry. Customers are already enjoying the Discover Weekly playlists and might be inclined to enjoy the patent’s personalization of music as well.
More Personalization = Less Privacy?
This new technology could feel like an invasion of privacy for some users, going down the same path as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and even Google’s Assistant. Users of Alexa specifically have criticized her eavesdropping their homes. Alexa will record and keep an archive of conversations after spoken to with a wake word such as, “Alexa!” Siri has a similar feature, as well as Google, but the latter has recently changed the default settings to not record once the Assistant is spoken to. A select few even believe that these Big Tech companies are using personalization to sell to the advertising industry and continue to increase ad revenue.
The evolution of this kind of personalized technology should not come as a surprise, and Spotify is only one of many looking ahead. The company is pushing the boundaries of personalization for an optimal streaming experience. Ultimately, the new patent could help in retaining its current subscription base while adding a unique competitive edge for the streaming service in the marketplace. While Spotify’s patent may never make headway and a lot is to be learned with the use of the new technology, it is definitely making waves within the subscription industry.