Spotify’s powerful algorithm makes finding music you like a breeze. But what if it could recommend music based on how you sound?
That’s the idea proposed in a patent Spotify was recently granted (reported by Pitchfork), which outlines potential uses for this kind of technology. The patent details a concept for using audio signals — your voice, background sounds, and even your accent — to suss out what to play for you. One factor that could inform the streaming service what to play next might be the “emotional state of a speaker,” while others might attempt to determine your gender and how old you are based on your voice.
Explaining its environmental audio data collection, the patent’s authors describe how it might be used to identify where you’re located — inside, outside, on the train, at a party etc. — and potentially how many people you’re sharing the space with.
“For example, in one aspect, the environmental metadata indicates aspects of a physical environment in which the audio signal is input,” the patent states. “In one example, the environmental metadata indicates a number of people in the environment in which the audio signal is input. In another example, the environmental metadata might indicate a location or noise level.”
Sure, it’s creepy as hell. But similar technologies already exist and have for years now. Still, it’s an interesting application for a service competing directly with data overlords like Apple and Amazon, both of which have their own respective music services. Of course Spotify is trying to vacuum up as much data as it can possibly get its hands on. How else is it going to perfect its algorithm and keep you hooked on its service forever? (Though, keep in mind that just because the patent for a technology exists doesn’t necessarily mean it will ever officially roll out.)
Spotify didn’t immediately return Gizmodo’s request for comment. However, the company told Pitchfork in a statement that the company “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. Our ambition is to create the best audio experience out there, but we don’t have any news to share at this time.”