Spotify: the secret social media that must stay that way | Column | Reviews | Daily College

The field of social media has grown rapidly over the past decade, and all the while it has become more specialized and compartmentalised.

The concept of social media at one time might be defined by a handful of photo and video sharing websites, but now there is a social media app for sharing almost anything.

We have apps like Letterboxd for movie buffs to practice their snobbery behind a screen or Mountain Project where climbers can share routes with other enthusiasts around the world.

But the most intriguing addition to social media has been music streaming services.

There are countless streaming services like SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple Music (originally Beats Music) and Youtube Music.

But of the family of streaming services, Spotify has had one of the most polished social functions, and it’s become a hugely effective social medium but with key caveats to protect what is now a sharing sanctuary.

For years, Spotify has enabled all kinds of user-to-user interactions: following other users and artists, liking other users’ playlists, showing songs your friends are listening to, and creating collaborative playlists. with other users.

Spotify is a social media, but interestingly, it stands out from the virtual crowd due to the nature of the content people share.

Music is one of the most niche industries on the planet. It has never been easier for artists to release songs to anyone with internet access (between 4 and 5 billion people).

The universe of musical genres exploded as a result. The most isolated micro-communities were allowed to flourish, and in turn they gave way to a generation of people with far more specific musical tastes than ever before.

I find that my music is one of the personal and deep reflections of my heart. I listen to music that reveals my emotional state and matches my philosophical beliefs.

The music is honest and authentic. In return, what we share on Spotify more often than not reveals the reality of our hearts.

On apps like Instagram and Snapchat, we describe ourselves in our happiest, most exciting, most interesting form – far from the real content of everyday life.

Users have plenty of opportunities to hide their real musical tastes on Spotify or create facades to hide behind, but for the most part, it’s just not necessary.

In fact, most people are happy to share their musical tastes.

Spotify Wrapped, a yearly recap of your listening habits, has become a social media phenomenon where Spotify permeates all social media platforms and users publish their yearly activity for the world to see with pride.

But if users wanted to hide their playlists or what they are currently listening to, Spotify gives us that option.

I’ve found that most people don’t use these privacy options. Spotify feels comfortable sharing and staying public, and that’s by design.

There is almost a level of insecurity on Spotify.

While I can learn a lot about a user’s musical tastes from their profile, even though all of their privacy settings have been made public, there are still aspects of their profile that I cannot see.

I can see how many followers they have, how many people they follow. I can view their public playlists and see what they are currently listening to, but a user cannot see who is following which playlists or their collection of saved songs.

Leaving out these two simple social functions, which developers could easily add, provides some essential emotional security to its users.

These limitations on Spotify’s social media aspect allow the service to feel safe exploring musical tastes without fear of judgment.

If I’m going through a rough patch and want to listen to a friend’s “2000s Breakup Playlist,” I can follow it without anyone knowing.

While some prefer to have more honest and open social media, these refusals to fully open up Spotify allow for the growth of even more personalized musical tastes and a world where people don’t feel the need to create a music facade.

Spotify would just become another Instagram if it added more social features, and while I’d like to know who the 25 people who follow my sunset playlist are, I’d rather continue to connect on a genuine, niche platform to one of the most universally loved art forms.

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Victor L. Jones