Cultural Intimacy

I just came across that campaign from Spotify titled “Thanks, 2016. It’s been weird.” where we can read on billboards things like:

Dear 3,749 people who streamed “It’s the End of the World As We Know It” the day of the Brexit vote, Hang in there.

or

Dear person who played “Sorry” 42 times on Valentine’s Day, What did you do?

When a campaign like this is cheered as being “Brilliant”, I’m afraid that we lost our collective mind (and my battles about privacy). It literally means that people at Spotify are aggregating data to make fun of you. And you enjoyed it. Smiled at it. Shared it. Even paid for it!

In that case, they are dealing with big data — maybe anonymised — so it doesn’t elect as a privacy issue, right? Well, it’s maybe worse than that. Something affecting communities in a deeper sense. It’s a matter of cultural intimacy. Revealing such moments is segregating more than being inclusive. And you should be ashamed of that. More insidious is the fact a company can deliberately report playing with customers’ data on gigantic billboards and nobody reacts. It makes me so sad.

My FLAC library doesn’t spy me each and every time I play a music file. I can listen to Wicked Game interpreted by James Vincent McMorrow 20 times in a row if I want to and nobody will judge me, except maybe my neighbours. Think about it next time you play something on someone else’s computer (a.k.a. cloud), he knows it and will make fun of it. A torrent file does not.

Thanks, Spotify. YOU are creepy.