Over 180 Musicians Sign Against Spotify’s Speech Monitoring Patent

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Over 180 musicians have signed against Spotify’s new speech monitoring patent, which the company released in Jan this year.

According to the Pitchfork reports, Musicians, a coalition that includes Access Now, Fight for the Future, Union of Musicians and Allied Workers, and human rights organizations, signed an open letter calling on the company to make a public commitment never to utilize, license, sell, or monetize this patent. 

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The musical artists include Evan Greer, Tom Morello, Laura Jane Grace, Ted Leo, Sadie Dupuis, Downtown Boys, DIIV, and Talib Kweli has Signed in the open later.You can read it in full here.

“Spotify claims that the technology can detect, among other things, ‘emotional state, gender, age, or accent’ to recommend music,” the letter reads. “This recommendation technology is dangerous, a violation of privacy and other human rights, and should not be implemented by Spotify or any other company.”

“You can’t rock out when you’re under constant corporate surveillance,” Morello wrote. “Spotify needs to drop this right now and do right by musicians, music fans, and all music workers.”

Dupuis added, “Instead of wasting money developing creepy surveillance software, Spotify should be focused on paying artists a penny per stream and being more transparent about the data they’re already collecting on all of us.”

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The letter outlines the five major concerns that the coalition has regarding the technology: “emotional manipulation,” discrimination, privacy violations, data security, and the exacerbation of inequality in the music industry. The letter explicitly requests that Spotify makes a “public commitment to never use, license, sell, or monetize the recommendation technology,” and asks the company to issue a response to the letter by Tuesday, May 18.

In Jan, Spotify has been granted a new technology patent to use recordings of users’ speech to determine what kind of music to curate and recommend to them.