Not long ago, I got into a bit of a fight with Spotify support because I had explicitly turned off autplay of suggested songs after my album or playlist ends because I hate their recommendations, and don’t want to be forced to listen to things I don’t intend to. They told me it must be a problem with my Sonos, and I should contact them, which I contested.
I found out later that it was indeed not caused by me or my Sonos (as I always maintained), but by product changes they pushed through that amounted to a “feature not a bug” that causes autoplay to always function on connected devices. And of course they autoplay you the bullshit they want you to hear, not what you actually want…
Now, I get into support fights with some regularity. I guess it is a combination of leftover “support rage” from when I was doing that job, combined with the always-on nature of our connection to digital products these days. And, of course, how frequently something goes wrong… Anyway, it’s rare that I get public “you were right” vindication like this, but I will take it. At least they allow you now after the fact to disable autoplay on connected devices.
This leads me to my next gripe: the Spotify 2021 playlist of what were supposed to be my best songs. It’s usually sort of fun to go through and review this playlist each year, but this year I noticed something annoying as hell. First, there were a bunch of songs on there that I swear I’ve never even heard before. How could they be in my top 100 songs or whatever? Impossible!
Second, I also noticed that there was a preponderance of songs in there that I actually don’t really even “like” but had merely tolerated, because for some reason Spotify is always inserting them into playlists I would find myself listening to because of a given genre. Why do they do this? Is it because of payola from record companies? I mean, it must be.
The point I want to make here though is a simple one. It applies as much to Spotify as it does to other websites where an algorithm is trying to foist upon me recommendations that I am supposed to like, because supposedly other people who are “just like me” also liked them. The frequency with which these recommendation algorithms are just straight up wrong is annoying at best, and soul-deadening at worst. To make matters worse, trying to re-write the history of the past year & my musical listening patterns (one of my foremost pleasures in life), and claiming that the things you forced me to listen to are my favorites.
I’ve had just about enough of this crap… and yet I don’t see any end in sight unless I stop using services based on algorithmic recommendations altogether.