In January, Spotify was granted a patent for a voice recognition tech that analyzed user’s voice to infer their mood. The software would also attempt to determine other aspects of user’s identity like gender, age and accent. These data together with the location information would be used to create user profiles which would then be used to recommend songs and playlist accordingly. It’s essentially a far more sophisticated and personalized version of the recommendation algorithm used by Spotify right now according to voicebot.ai.
This move is facing backlash from Musicians, academics, and human-rights groups who signed an open letter to Spotify CEO Daniel Ek expressing their concerns. The letter alleges that the tech could be used to manipulate users’ feelings, can effectively lead to stereotyping people and also raises concerns about privacy, data harvesting, and surveillance.