Spotify wants to understand your body on music [Popular Science]

February 28, 2023

It teamed up with biometrics research company MindProber to study its users.

By Charlotte Hu

Think about the music and podcasts you listen to, and how they affect your mood. If streaming audio content makes you happier, you’re not alone, and the proof is in the study data Spotify released today.

That finding comes courtesy of 426 free-tier Spotify users who volunteered to wear an electrodermal activity sensor on their palm any time they tuned in over the course of 40 days. The company learned that listening to either podcasts or music improved its users’ moods, and that the activities listeners participate in influenced the type of content they gravitated to.

Although part of Spotify’s motivation for this research is to help advertisers understand how users’ engagement habits with music and podcasts can be used to create a seamless ad experience, it also has interesting implications for scientific studies related to the human experience with sound. 

“The project is showing that you can actually study this stuff in the wild. The conditions here were as realistic as you can get considering these were people that were just living their lives,” study co-author Josh McDermott, associate professor in MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, tells PopSci

In his view, this opens the door to a new kind of anthropology-like study that can look at how people deal with audio in their lives. “There’s this big cultural shift in the way that we consume music and other audio that really happened over the last decade. It’s just changed the way that people live and probably has a lot of important effects,” McDermott adds. “This is just one way to understand that...”

Read the full article on the Popular Science website using the link below.

Associated CBMM Pages: