A group of activists and musicians has formally known as on Spotify to desert a “terrifying patent” that it secured in January, designed to investigate listeners’ voices in addition to background noises and suggest tracks accordingly.
Digital rights non-profit advocacy group Combat for the Future coordinated with the Union of Musicians and Allied Employees (UMAW) – which made headlines final month for staging protests outdoors Spotify places of work and demanding a penny-per-stream royalty fee – on this newest marketing campaign.
Dubbed “Cease Spotify Surveillance,” the initiative’s targets seem easy sufficient, because the organizers have demanded that the main music streaming platform “publicly abandon this patent and decide to not utilizing invasive surveillance expertise on listeners.”
For background, Spotify first filed for the patent – generic title “Identification of style attributes from an audio sign” – again in February of 2018, and the USPTO granted stated patent in late January of this yr. The underlying expertise would allow the service to pinpoint “intonation, stress, and rhythm” in customers’ voices, and this info would then permit the platform to establish the “emotional state of a speaker offering the voice” and suggest music.
Elaborating upon their considerations relating to the patent, the events behind the Cease Spotify Surveillance marketing campaign highlighted factors made by NPO Entry Now in an open letter, together with that “such a follow can be deeply invasive and will expose Spotify customers to safety threats from stalkers or authorities surveillance.
“It may additionally disproportionately hurt trans folks and be used to emotionally manipulate all of us. Emotion recognition software program is essentially seen as racist pseudoscience, it’s disgusting that Spotify is even contemplating utilizing such a expertise to extract information and revenue from music listeners,” continues the message on Cease Spotify Surveillance’s web site.
“And it’s horrifying to consider what sort of impression this might have on impartial artists and creators, when music is promoted based mostly on surveillance slightly than artistry.”
Indie musician (and Combat for the Future director) Evan Greer additionally rolled out a brand new music video for his “Surveillance Capitalism” observe, and the music shall be a part of an upcoming album entitled Spotify is Surveillance. The whole lot of the earnings from the latter will attain the UMAW.
Value noting in conclusion is that Spotify this week debuted its long-rumored “Hey Spotify” wake phrase for hands-free music choice – seemingly signaling that further voice-related options and capabilities are forthcoming. Different latest Spotify patents embody expertise to mechanically generate private playlists, goal listeners based mostly upon nostalgia metrics, and even affiliate songs or different media content material with user-generated movies.