Spotify plan to use emotion recognition criticised as 'manipulative'

Occurred: January 2021

A patent (pdf) granted to audio streaming company Spotify that identifies and analyses speech to recommend content based on a user's emotional state has been criticised as 'creepy' and 'manipulative'.

The proposed new technology will use speech recognition to determine a user's emotional state, gender, age, and accent. It can also retrieve information about a user’s background and social environment through microphones.

Music Business Worldwide notes that whilst the patent may never be implemented, the technology has garnered strong criticism from digital rights, privacy and security experts.

Fight for the Future, Access Now, and the Union of Musicians launched a dedicated campaign to persuade Spotify to abandon the technology.

Operator: Spotify

Developer: Spotify

Country: USA; Global

Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts

Purpose: Assess emotion
Technology: Speech recognition

Issue: Privacy; Security; Dual/multi-use


Research, advocacy 🧮

Page info
Type: Issue
Published: January 2021
Last updated: November 2023