Spotify just released a new widget called Spotify.Me, which quantifies your music-listening habits into hard data. It’s not really for consumers (I don’t need Spotify to tell me I listen to a lot of Bright Eyes or that I looped this Cyberbully Mom Club song constantly this winter), but it is a way for Spotify to show off everything it knows about you — and then sell that information to brands.
In a related report called “Understanding People Through Music,” Spotify’s marketing team breaks down the listening habits of 140 million people and takes some convoluted guesses about what that might mean about their spending habits.
If you listen to this band, you definitely eat food
The report measures three different characteristics of music listening: Discovery, or how much people are looking for new music; Diversity, or the range of music people listen to; and Tilt, or how much people “curate” their music. Based on where they stand in these categories, users are then further broken down into specific types of listeners, like “Easy-Goers,” who stream music in the background, and “Eclectics” who don’t seem to have any specific taste in music. Each type of listener is paired with a seemingly random action they are “more likely” to do than the rest of the listeners. It’s like a Spotify subscriber yearbook, except insane.
For example, Spotify says Eclectics are more likely to stream TV and movies regularly (something a huge chunk of the population does) while Easy-Goers are more likely to “exercise at the gym for 45 minutes or more.” I guess because they’re not streaming movies. “Curators,” who like to make their own playlists, are more likely to “buy video games.” As a person who makes playlists and has never purchased a video game, I have a hard time believing these things are related. “Reliables,” who stick to old favorites, are more likely to “be the first to watch a new movie or TV series,” which makes no sense at all unless you believe people must choose between watching new TV or listening to new music. Reliables are also more likely to “purchase energy drinks” while Easy-Goers are more likely to “watch health and fitness videos online.”
To me, all of this seems completely made up, but Spotify would likely say I’m being a classic Conor Oberst enthusiast, attempting to defy neat categorization. In any case, your music-listening habits probably do say a lot about you, and Spotify is clearly trying to package that for people who want your money.