As 2015 drew to a close, Spotify launched a microsite, titled “Year in Music,” that provided users with statistics about their behavior on the platform. Simply log in and Spotify deliver a personalized recap of your past year of tunes. The focus was on big picture, high level stats that users love.
In full transparency, I included a video clip of my own Spotify-powered “Year in Music” based on my actual usage of the platform.
If you want to log on to Spotify and get your own stats, you can do so here.
Besides showing what random songs I became obsessed with one day while in the library and played on repeat, Spotify’s Year in Music is a visualization of all the data I generate on one single platform in one single year. In terms of platforms, Spotify isn’t even one of the ones I use most often. I can’t imagine the amount of data that other platforms have about me.
It’s cool to know and makes for good conversation and comparison among friends, but the stats aren’t life changing for me.
Some other stats that other platforms have on me are potentially life changing.
The Quantified Self is a movement that is grounded in self-knowledge based on data. It’s not exactly a new phenomenon. We’ve always tracked ourselves. When you go to an annual doctor visit, your health is compared to your last visit. The difference is now, we have technology. And tracking isn’t limited to the professionals are to time consuming paper records. Its ubiquitous.
There’s even curated lists (like this one) of products designed to help you track your life.
One such product is a pair of capri running pants from the company Lumo that tracks your biometrics and gives you tips on ways to improve your form in real time. Because motivating yourself to run just a little bit farther to the next block or tree wasn’t hard enough without someone critiquing you….But I’ll admit there are some potential benefits—especially for serious athletes or for people looking to improve their run form for health reasons (ex. knee/ankle issues).
Data collection is ubiquitous in the world of smart “things.” And, having Spotify tell you that you listed to Maroon 5’s new album is a fun way to reminisce about that one summer where you lived in that apartment where the water turned cold too fast, but you didn’t care because all your friends lived just a short walk away and you had a regular brunch place. The stakes were and are low. Take a step towards biometrics, home security, financial information, location tracking, and suddenly data collection becomes less spontaneously chill and more a never-ending loop of “What If” questions running through your mind.
Is it true that you don’t realize you’re on a slippery slope until it’s too late? Where does this slope end?