Forbes has been digging around in Spotify’s patent applications and has found one filed back in 2018 covering “systems and methods for enhancing responsiveness to utterances having detectable emotion“. Insert your own joke about songwriters’ emotional utterances when receiving their royalty cheques here. But no: this is about a voice interface (think Alexa, Siri etc) capable of detecting emotion when someone speaks, and then “playing music based on speech emotion recognition”.

Forbes talked to Futuresource Consulting analyst Simon Forrest to get a sense of what Spotify might be up to. “An example is the user uttering ‘ugh’ when a song starts playing and for the voice assistant to recognise that this implies a negative emotional response and stop the playback, or switch to another song, even though no specific ‘stop’ or ‘skip’ command has been issued,” he suggested.

As with many tech patents, there’s no guarantee when or even if Spotify will bring this feature to market, but it’s interesting to know that the company has been working on it. As are others: in May 2019 Bloomberg reported that Amazon was “developing a voice-activated wearable device that can recognise human emotions” too.

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