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Why The Government Is Interested In Your Spotify Data – Cheddar Examines


Everyone knows that Spotify collects your data to find new unheard music for you to listen to. But Spotify is not the only one interested in user behavior, banks and even governments are finding reasons to be interested in what we’re listening to. Before we get into this, click subscribe. We promise we won’t use your clicks to predict economic trends. Spotify is constantly compiling playlists and recommending new songs. But how do they know what people are going to like? They use an algorithm which categorizes every song with labels like energy, danceability, loudness, and balance. It does this by sorting them into eight emotions. The software then counts up the number of times each emotion is queued within a song’s lyrics. But why do economists care about how danceable popular music is? It’s because of something called economic sentiment. It’s a way of gauging how people feel about the economy and behavioral economists use it to predict how the economy will react to different events and policies. It’s like using your boss’s mood as an indicator to see if they’re mad that you came in late. But the correlation between music choice and economic behavior wasn’t even thought of before Hisam Sabouni, an assistant professor at Claremont Graduate University decided to take a look at the music data just to see if there was anything interesting. He found something really exciting. Sabouni and his researchers took the top 100 songs from two different charts, from 2000-2016, and looked them up in the Spotify developer API. Then they plotted them in comparison to the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq. When they looked at the songs most popular during the global financial crisis of 2008, they found that songs labeled anticipation, disgust, sadness, fear, and anger peaked in popularity from 2008-2009 and then began to fall. An increase of one percent in anticipation songs like Bring me to Life by Evanescence, correspond to a drop in the Nasdaq and S&P 500. An increase in joy songs like All My Friends by Luke Bryan, correspond to an increase in the Nasdaq and S&P 500. Increases in the danceability of songs like Wait a Minute by the Pussycat Dolls, correspond to an even bigger increase in the Nasdaq and S&P 500. According to Sabouni’s paper, these plots indicate that individuals are projecting their current states of mind into the music they choose to listen to. You might be thinking duh, of course we listen to sad music when we’re sad. But having this data proved it which made it really useful to economists. Andy Haldane, the Chief Economist at the Bank of England thinks that this is going to be big. “The resulting index of sentiment does at least as well in tracking consumer spending as the Michigan survey of consumer confidence.” He said in a speech. According to Andy, understanding how economies operate is much more about how we feel rather than what we think we’re doing. Almost all behavioral economists agree with him. But definitely not all of them. “You can find almost anything if you look hard enough because there are billions of bits of data produced every single day.” BBC Economics Editor, Kamal Ahmed said. It’s estimated that 90 percent of all data ever created has been in the past two years. Sabouni says in his paper that they found significant short run effects where changes of frequency of words associated with anticipation and joy affect the Nasdaq’s returns as well as the S&P 500’s returns. Obviously, the music we listen to doesn’t change the economy. It just indicates how people are feeling in general which in turn is an indicator of how much money people are in the mood to spend and what decisions they might make. What’s significant is who’s noticed and who’s going to use that information. We are just scratching the surface with this video. We recommend checking out Sabouni’s paper which we’re going to link in the description box below. Let us know in the comments what music you listen to, and don’t forget to like, click, subscribe, ring the bell for post notifications. Bye.

Glenn Chapman

100 Comments

  1. The next person who misuses "correlation does not equal causation" in the comments has to use Tidal instead of Spotify.

  2. I listen to rock, metal, Latin, mariachi, pop, soft rock, reggae, Brazilian, classical and instrumental all in the same day…oh and I don’t give a damn about Wall Street

  3. Oh shit…

    I’m crossing my fingers that they don’t put me as a murder suspect

  4. wrong the government wants our data to prove they know how to control people's emotions with music

  5. Bullocks, it's all about programin through power of sound; along with all derivatives thus business moves a lot of folks through an industry's occurrence of money following

  6. Duh… Been new this actually everyone knows this….your search history taste in music ect… Been being tracked hell i believe it even influences elections poles ect…

  7. I listen to the same 10 stand up acts on random rotation so I probably just look like a psychopath

  8. Fuck the government and every fucking problem they bring upon those who mind their own business.

  9. They don't give a shit what your listening to. They are collecting your conversations so that AI machines can learn how to mimic humans. They will want you to merge with an AI machine in the future so they can corrupt God's creation. It's the same story since the beginning of time. If you don't believe me then do some basic research on this technocratic government system and listen to Elon musk admit it all.

  10. If everyone started listening to barneys i love you, as a prank, would big music industry think its a new trend or would they know its a troll?

  11. I like , the green leaves of summer.
    Love the implication, men standing on a wall faceing certain death , came to terms with it, loaded their weapons and reported for duty.
    But you woundnt know that from the words of the song.

  12. See this wouldn’t work for me at all. The music I listen to has nothing to do with my mood or anything like that. I just listen to anything if I enjoy the beat and the lyrics. One day I’m listening to Marilyn Manson and the next Bob Marley

  13. they take my data and still can’t recommend relevant music

  14. The GOV. Can suck a big fat fukkin DICK!!!!! GOV has been nothing but a joke ever since the 90's

  15. What i listen too Actualy depends on the weather like i listen to lofti hiphop and piano pecies when it rains and hard core screamo when it snows and then i switch to summertime pop hits

  16. Okay so, on houseparty, my friends nickname is "THE FBI IS HERE RUN" and when I was watching this, they called me. I'M CRYING

  17. All I can think do the stanky leg comes on stock brokers alright Bois the stocks about to sky rocket

  18. Jokes on you Spotify I only listen to the same album when I listen to musics … 3 years this album will drive me insane

  19. We must not forget that Satan is the master of music. Of course he knows how to Manipulate the Air Waves

  20. What's ridiculous is the idea that you could define a song as joyful or sad or anticipation or angry when everyone makes every person feels differently. And then you have different spending habits. I know I spend more money when I'm low than when I'm up, but the assumption is that people spend more when they are happy. There's just no way to truly apply this data

  21. This is only true with puppet people that are controlled by trends. Free thinkers are unaffected by trends and tend to like what they like whenever.

  22. Well I already have 40’s, 50’s Swing, some country, 70’s-80’s classic rock , including linkin park and even some classical music in one playlist. I’m already a mystery.

  23. With all these companies collecting our data when do I get money from thissss…

  24. I challenge spotify to show me song I like it's been a 9/10 miss 9/10 are popular that are crap

  25. "I listen to more than one genre of music so I'm unique and quirky and unpredictable, take that spotify"

  26. Alright Hermione, don't you have little soulless ginger children to take care of.

  27. people forget even the music industry has other motives besides making money.

    there is a pretty obvious desire to push certain themes, topics, and impulses in people, particularly youth.

    For example, youtube openly showing the music video of madonna sucking a guys 'toe' which pretty much looks like you know what.

    music is a powerful thing. Even if your a good dad, it can turn your daughter into a whore and theres nothing you can do.

  28. Govt must like my download of
    Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.
    Don’t get all squirrelly.

  29. They are going to have a hard time going through my playlist with Stan Getz, Aminé, Jinjer, Benedetto Marcello, and Rick Astley all on it.

  30. But all I ever listen to spotify is slipknot. Works for all my emotions.

  31. If this is true we are fucked have you seen the fucking fashion these days it's ridiculous they look like a fucking Emoji Movie character or just straight-up gay

  32. They don't know what songs I like even remotely close. Although they do know I listen to more local and underground music more than pretty much anyone else on the platform. I got a letter in the mail congratulating me on my unique music choice.

  33. This is as relevant as lack of pirates and global warming. Music gets released. Corporations push their music regardless of the economy.

  34. Ah, see, most of what I listen to is avant garde Metal so like, this ain’t really my problem now is it.

  35. Lol, looking to spy on people because data is worth more than money and resources. Nice try 🙂

  36. Fuck you all the government cares about my music so yall negativity can stop smh

  37. Read between the lines. What there not telling you is that there watching everything your listening to figure out your total lifestyle. Do you party(drink, smoke, do drugs) are you a radical leftist or are you conservative, are you a Christian or are you listening to Country Western music and own guns. There using this to figure out who you are. So wrong!

  38. I can confirm this is a False theory or statement as I have been a dev for Spotify for a good 3 years now I know the source code too and well I looked back on it this is actually false I can confirm the government doesn't really care about what music you listen to neither do banks we do collect data to find similar music or music from your favorite artists but other than that no matter what you do VPN or not the gov will still know what you do the problem is simply that they don't care for example they are supposed to keep tabs on anyone suspicious but simply don't do much my proof is:

    Around 2018 there is was shooting that shooters phone activity was made public by the police turns out he looked up many explicit songs watched some questionable tutorials and even went to illegal websites with no VPNs the FBI did nothing to even stop him now they are starting to keep tabs which is why as of recently (2019) 3 future shooters plans were foiled and unsuccessful great job to the FBI but normally they won't care what music or video or websites you go to but rather the amount of encryption you use and any remotely suspicious activity, for example, the biggest hacker known as wannacry used a malware worm that not only stole data but cause millions & possibly billions in damage it may have taken the FBI & CIA years to find him but he was recently caught and hopefully jailed simply cause he had too much encryption which was suspicious along with the breach of some of those VPNs resulting in a Major Lead which has finally been traced

    Either way The Gov wont care what you do online unless it's extremely uncommon or extremely dangerous or suspicious

    Otherwise, they don't care what you listen to on spotify

  39. They’re gonna find my collection of German National Socialist music!!!

  40. This explains why music has been so fucking horrible the past couple years it's been being manipulated by the government by only putting out music to force us to spend money

  41. When I was in middle School the recession was in full swing. That explains why I listened to nothing but emo music.

  42. Hey! I am the most random person ever while listening to my Spotify. Start from a Korean ballad, Yiruma Instrument, Rapp Music, Beethoven, J-rocks, And Power Metal!

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