Spotify has patented technology that will allow it to analyse your voice and suggest songs based on your “emotional state, gender, age, or accent”.
The patent, which was filed in 2018 and granted on 12 January, would allow the streaming giant to “make observations” about a user’s environment and emotions using speech recognition technology.
Spotify could then play music reflecting their mood or even their social setting – “e.g. alone, small group, party,” according to the patent.
If implemented, the feature will presumably boost the streaming statistics for Lesley Gore’s It’s My Party (And I’ll Cry If I Want To).
“It is common for a media streaming application to include features that provide personalized media recommendations to a user,” explained Spotify in its application.
However, it continued, the current approach for discerning a user’s tastes is unsatisfactory, because it requires them “to tediously input answers to multiple queries” about their age, gender and favourite bands.
The patent suggests that speech recognition could be used to gather information about age and gender, while contextual cues such as “intonation, stress, [and] rhythm” would provide clues as to whether a user was “happy, angry, sad or neutral”.
“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,” it said in the filing.
The results would be combined with other information – including a user’s previously-played songs, and their friends’ taste in music – to improve recommendations.
The technology is one of several technical innovations that Spotify has patented over the last year.
In September, it patented a karaoke-like feature that allows people to “overlay a music track with their own vocals”. And earlier this week, it gained permission for a “cadence-based media content selection engine” – which matches the tempo of your music to your running speed.
Last year, it also conducted a study of how people’s personality traits influence their musical preferences.
“Those who scored high in conscientiousness tended to concentrate their listening to a more narrow window of time of day,” concluded Spotify’s Research and Development team.
“Self-assessed introverts, on the other hand, tended to dig deeper into an artist’s catalogue, listening to more tracks for each artist they discovered.”