Spotify wants to be Soma


“Christianity without tears: that’s what Soma is”. Or was it Spotify?

Spotify wants to become the third-largest player in the digital ad market behind Google and Facebook, by allowing advertisers to target individual ads on Spotify by moods, moments activities and emotions, instead of demographic segments, or music genres. To do this, Spotify shared its “mood data” directly with advertisers. Of course, this pursuit of “emotional surveillance for global profit” creates enormous privacy (and moral) problems.

Those problems coming from making a commodity of “users and their moods” are already well described in that article. What I find quite intriguing, however, is this descriptions of Spotify’s goal:

Spotify wants to be Soma /img/spotify-boosts-mood.jpg

“Spotify specifically wants to be seen as a mood-boosting platform”.

Mood-boosting platform? I don’t know about you but…

That statement immediately brought to my mind the wonders of Soma, the always-on support drug that is ubiquitous in the Brave New World. Just compare Spotify-s mission with these properties of Soma:

  • “you do look glum! What you need is a gramme of soma.”
  • “[if you just took Soma,] instead of feeling miserable, you’d be jolly. So jolly.
  • “[After they took soma] the inner light of universal benevolence broke out on every face in happy, friendly smiles.”
  • Soma brought you to “on holiday in some other world, where the music was a sliding, palpitating labyrinth, that led to a bright centre of absolute conviction”.
  • “[With Soma] You can carry at least half your morality about in a bottle: All the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their defects.”
Spotify wants to be Soma /img/spotify-soma.jpg

To know more about how what Spotify wants to give people looks a lot like Soma, read here.

Image source: Brave New World - Soma

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