The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Saturday October 16th


Column: Sharing special moments... with Spotify?

A little over a year ago, I composed a tweet that went something like, “few things are more intimate than the songs on one’s ‘workout’ playlist.”

I remember this tweet because it got a fair number of favorites and because I remember feeling like I had captured an important truth in 140 characters or less. Of late, I have apparently lost all inhibitions: through my Spotify profile, I have willingly chosen to share the music I listen to on a daily basis.

Am I more confident or trivial than I was last year? Or is social media quickly seeping into the pores of every part of our lives — parts we deemed private not so long ago — with few obstructions?

I love Spotify. I love Spotify so much that I pay a monthly fee for premium access — and I’m the type of person who goes out of the way to avoid paying a monthly fee for anything.

But the other week I was listening to “The Sound of Music” soundtrack because I needed to regain composure after Carrie Underwood’s live TV attempt to ruin it.

I’m sure no one cared enough to notice, but it was the fact that I cared and noticed that people could see what I was listening to that got me thinking.

Listening to music is and should be a really personal experience. I heard someone joke recently that if they were ever dumped everyone would know because their entire Spotify play queue would consist solely of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love.” That being said, doesn’t it seem odd that a fair amount of people today feel comfortable or even enjoy sharing their listening activity?

A couple months ago, someone approached me at a party and commended me on my music taste and said that they were really enjoying one of my Spotify playlists they’d chosen to “follow.”

As ridiculous and petty as it sounds, this conversation piqued my interest in Spotify. I was listening to the same music I had pre-Spotify, but for the first time, I was complimented.

After that, I was still listening to songs and artists that I liked, but it’s rather ambiguous whether or not my music choices were influenced in some way by the knowledge that people could see what I was listening to. I could easily turn on the privacy feature on my account, but I chose and continue to choose not to.

It seems only natural to want to broadcast the things that make you feel happy — or feel anything, really — with people you care about in one way or another.

The people I follow on Spotify, I generally follow because they have similar taste in or better taste in music than I do. Through following them, I feel like my taste in music has been expanded and improved dramatically.

If there was a widely used app to share with others the books we were reading, would that have an impact on what we chose to read? Probably: maybe a little less “50 Shades of Grey” but, then again, maybe not.

Regardless, the future, in every sense, undoubtedly looks a lot less private (beyond the NSA). We can still relate to the record player and Walkman listeners of the past. Sharing music you love with others is not a new hobby by any means.

Now, though, when we angst-ily listen to music on the floors of our bedrooms, people will be able to see what tunes we choose to support us in our times of internal anguish.

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.


Welcome Back Edition 2021

Special Print Edition

Games & Horoscopes

Print Edition Games Archive