What Are You Listening To?

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Spotify has made it possible to share with others what you’re listening to and also see what your friends are tuning into right now. It’s a strange thing to try to get inside the mind of an acquaintance and try to understand what drives their particular likes in a song.

What you don’t know is how they’re listening to the song, whether it’s on their laptop, iPhone, Google Home, or Echo. Such listening on a non physical device is probably very different than one with touch. It’s more effort and intrusive to say “Alexa, next” vs pressing the next button on a Macbook.

The other bizarre element that I’d be curious about is how does what friends are listening to affect our own choices. Does this end up driving us towards some mean of listening habits on a larger scale? We believe such a system to be honest, but what if it’s not? How do we check? How do we know it’s accurate?

The record industry used to ply DJs and stations to get airplay for a song or artist. Now, terrestrial radio is slowly leaving us. It would make sense that those promoting music for an artist need to find new ways to get airplay. If people actually were influenced by what friends were listening to AND the results honest, then it would make sense for them to try to market to the well connected. In Unleashing the Ideavirus, Seth Godin describes these people as “sneezers”:

Definition: SNEEZER Some people are more likely to tell their friends about a great new idea. These people are at the heart of the ideavirus. Identifying and courting sneezers is a key success factor for ideamerchants.

It’s becoming more important for companies that are looking to make an impact to target the sneezers. We’ll likely see AI play more of a role in helping identify to us who these people are.

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