On Monday, a friend texted me an ominous screenshot in which Spotify told her that she was in the top 3% of Taylor Swift fans.
"I felt immediately flattered and then I felt dumb for feeling flattered," she said about the experience. I was impressed at her dedication, until I stumbled upon a tweet from somehow who was in the top 1% of Taylor Swift fans. Admittedly, Swift is one of the biggest pop stars in the world. One percent of her monthly listeners is over 388,000 people. But the fact that this Taylor Swift stat was making this way onto people's phones, seemingly without explanation, was giving me pause.
“At Spotify, we routinely conduct a number of tests in an effort to improve our user experience," a spokesperson told Refinery29. "Some of those tests end up paving the way for our broader user experience and others serve only as an important learning. We don’t have any further news to share at this time.”
What appeared to start with Swift, at least in my circles, has rippled out over the week, with fans of everyone from Sufjan Stevens fans to Death Cab For Cutie being informed of their dedication. The New York Times attempted to get to the bottom of the mystery on Thursday and was provided a similar statement, and pointed out that this is one of many ways that Spotify flexes their data. At the end of each year, we're served our Spotify "Wrapped," which at the end of the last decade gave us a snapshot our music listening habits since 2010. But at least that one makes sense.
If anything, this feature is just one big read. Just when you think no one can hear you listening to "The Man" over and over again on your commute, know Spotify always does.