Science

Spotify wants to analyse your VOICE and suggest songs based on your emotions, patent reveals 

From All By Myself to Happy, songs we decide to listen to often reflect our mood.  Now Spotify thinks it can make that decision for us – by listening to our voices. 

The streaming giant has been granted a patent for technology that analyses your voice to determine your emotional state, age, gender and even the environment you are currently in – then suggests songs based on the results.  

By listening out for background noises, such as birds chirping, printers or traffic, it can determine whether you are at home, out for a walk or even in an office. 

As well as looking at your social setting the technology gets personal – it can listen out and decide whether you’re happy, angry or downright miserable, then select a song based on a combination of your social setting and mood.

No date has been set for when this technology might be included in Spotify, or even if it will be included – or how they will gather the voice data to make it work. 

As well as looking at your social setting the technology gets personal – it can listen out and decide whether you’re happy, angry or downright miserable, then select a song based on a combination of your social setting and mood. Stock image

The firm wrote in the patent filing, granted on January 12, that current techniques for determining users’ music taste involve long, tedious form filing.   

Instead of requiring someone to fill in a form about their age, gender and favourite bands, the technology uses speech recognition to gather the same information.

It is then able to take context clues from the voice including the tone, stress and rhythm and use that to determine a number of key ‘metadata characteristics’.

Spotify told Pitchfork it ‘has filed patent applications for hundreds of inventions’, adding they ‘regularly file new applications’, some of which become future products and others that don’t.

The technology takes in users previous song requests, listens for emotions and creates song suggestions based on the analysis

The technology takes in users previous song requests, listens for emotions and creates song suggestions based on the analysis 

The audio input leads to content by analysing age, emotional state, gender and accent as well as background sounds via speech recognition technology

The audio input leads to content by analysing age, emotional state, gender and accent as well as background sounds via speech recognition technology

‘Our ambition is to create the best audio experience out there, but we don’t have any news to share at this time,’ the firm said in response to Pitchfork.

The patent outlines a few options for determining emotional state – including the very simple process of creating a list of emotions – happy, sad, lonely etc – then having songs associated with each emotion.

Other, more complex options, involve creating an emotion-tree and linking that to other information gathered about the user including their environment, age, gender and even their accent.  

By listening out for background noises, such as birds chirping, printers or traffic, it can determine whether you are at work, out for a walk or even in an office

By listening out for background noises, such as birds chirping, printers or traffic, it can determine whether you are at work, out for a walk or even in an office

Spotify claims musical taste can reveal your character 

The music you listen to can indicate your personality type, a study claims, with country fans more extroverted and blues lovers more emotionally stable. 

Spotify asked 5,808 volunteers to complete a personality test that rates them on openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and emotional stability.

It then looked at their musical history and found that the songs people listened to could predict their personality type with ‘moderate to high accuracy’. 

For example, people who like Aretha Franklin and soul music generally tend to be more agreeable, and lovers of folk music are more likely to be open.

‘It should be understood that the above example metadata categories of emotions, gender, age and accent are merely examples, and numerous other characterizations and classifications can be used,’ the firm wrote in its filing.

Other information that could be gained by listening to the users voice includes background noises from ‘sounds of vehicles’ and ‘people talking’ to ‘birds chirping’.

A chirping bird could indicate a more natural environment, whereas the sound of printers printing could suggest someone is in an office or other workplace.

Combined with the users emotions, this could allow Spotify to automatically generate a playlist that reflects their current situation and state of mind. 

The patent suggests this information could be used alongside other information provided by the listener including their previous requests, listening history and links to associated profiles of their friends and colleagues.

Exactly how the technology will be used isn’t clear – it could be to play a song based on the emotional state, or it could be to show a list of recommended tracks. 

This is the latest in a long line of Spotify patents granted in recent months – including one for a karaoke feature that lets users overlay a music track with their own vocals. 

WHAT KIND OF DETAIL IS BEING TRACKED BY TECH GIANTS? 

Tinder, Hinge, Netflix and Tidal can all track user activity even when ‘Do not track’ is selected on the phone’s setting. 

Facebook, Linked, Instagram and Spotify have access to your messages alongside the majority of dating apps. 

More than half the sites listed on vpnMoniter, including Tinder, Match and Happn, are also able to gain access to numerous hardware and software information about your mobile device. 

These include the operating system, timezone, signal strength and location data even when the app is not in use. 

A number of sites including Facebook and Instagram save extensive data about third party sites users visit, including ‘purchases, ads seen, sites visited, device information, and service use.’

These also included Twitter, Spotify and Netflix. 


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