Earlier this year, a controversy broke out over a Spotify patent involving using speech recognition technology to analyse a listener’s “emotional state, gender, age, or accent” and recommend them music accordingly. This month, more than 180 artists and human rights organisations wrote to Spotify to protest against the technology, and the streaming service has now responded.
The letter was organised by Access Now and Fight for the Future, working with the US Union of Musicians and Allied Workers – which is also running the Justice at Spotify campaign calling for higher royalties; user-centric payouts; an end to “payola” on the service; and abandoning the DSP’s appeal against new songwriter royalty rates in the US.
The letter outlined a number of concerns about Spotify’s patent. “This technology is dangerous, a violation of privacy and other human rights, and should be abandoned.” Tom Morello, Talib Kweli and Laura Jane Grace were among the musicians signing it, alongside human rights groups like Amnesty International and Color of Change.