Filed almost two years ago, the Spotify patent for its “Identification of taste attributes from an audio signal” has now been approved for use in the US and met with scepticism about user privacy.
In the company’s application, the patent will allow Spotify to use its technology to process audio signals from its users in order to push more personalised music or other audio to the user.
The new technology will use speech recognition to identify the user’s metadata by analysing their emotional state, gender, age, and accent. It will also be able to retrieve information about the user’s background environment when the speech recognition was logged.
The environmental metadata will even be able to identify what the user’s physical environment is such as at home or outdoors, as well as their social environment like alone or at a party.
The technology can even analyse its own success rate of whether or not one of its recommendations was approved by analysing the user’s response after playing the recommended track.
Privacy concerns make Spotify users wary
The patent has come under fire from Spotify’s users due to security and privacy concerns during a time when user data has never been so valuable to companies. Secondary to privacy concerns, some users just do not want their music recommendations personalised.
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It hasn’t been confirmed whether or not Spotify will actually implement its new tech yet, with even its own researchers cautioning against delving too far into a user’s personal music in a blog post by the company in December 2020. Though any patent approval means the company is able to use the technology when it deems necessary.
In the patent application, Spotify highlighted the need for “features that provide personalized music recommendations” in order to benefit the user. The company highlighted that the challenge companies face is that end users don’t want to fill in multiple choice questions on their music tastes so obtaining such information required a different approach “rooted in technology”.
The company has made a number of moves recently, with patents approved to introduce new features such as a karaoke mode and a number of cadence-based patents to improve music selection.