Thursday 13 June 2019

Barbershop thoughts

I'd be surprised if something like this didn't already exist, but if it doesn't, it'd be a great feature for Spotify (or another of the streaming services).

I was sitting in the barber's chair yesterday when something that sounded a lot like Spotify's 80s New Wave collection came on. It was rather good. It was almost what Spotify's Daily Mixes might recommend for me some days. I was mildly proud of myself for finally remembering, two songs later, that the one that had been bugging me was by Echo and the Bunnymen.

Imagine a barbershop with some staff with musical preferences and customers who also have musical preferences. If clients with scheduled appointments have their Spotify handles loaded into the shoppe's roster, there'd have to be a way for Spotify to run an adaptive playlist that takes some least-distance measure across all the liked songs by the people currently in the room, filtered through some basic parameters the shoppe might set. The shoppe might wish to rule out songs with explicit lyrics, for example - or it might not. Or it might have an upbeat or relaxed or whatever vibe that it tries to go for - and the algorithm could then pull appropriate tunes from the customers' playlists.

It should have applications beyond barbershops though. House parties without a DJ could just let Spotify configure things after the host says who's there. Heading out on a road trip with friends? It would pull from the favourite tunes of those in the car without anybody having to muck about.

And having the feature would increase the value of network effects in the player with the feature - if your friends are using it and you want your tunes to start showing up when you're at your friend's house, you'll want to be on the same player.

I'd be surprised if one of the streaming services weren't already doing something like this though.

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