Music and tech brands want your data – but are they’ blurring lines’ or just improving your experience?

22 May 2017
By Sergey Bludov, SVP Media & Entertainment


Bose is in hot water right now over allegations that the company’s Connect app is unlawfully collecting and sharing the listening data of its users.

An Illinois man launched a lawsuit in which he claims that Bose didn’t inform consumers about its practice of storing information about the audio files users listen to and subsequently sharing the data with third parties, such as Segment, a Bay Area software company that collects customer data for analytics and marketing firms. On the other side, Bose points to its privacy policy, which states that the company may partner with certain third parties to collect “non-personal information” and “to engage in analysis, auditing, research, and reporting.”

Putting the lawsuit details aside for a moment, a big picture question arises: how do consumers benefit when music and tech brands leverage their data and listening habits?

The reality is that consumers increasingly value music platforms’ ability to personalize their listening experiences. To make this possible, companies such as Spotify, Apple and Pandora must utilize customer data to understand preferences and provide intelligent suggestions for music discovery. Data mining techniques are an essential component of these services. If music and tech companies didn’t query users about their activities and tastes, they would cease to be able to provide personalized experiences, and would instead only be offering a library of music for consumers to navigate in isolation.

In the Bose case, consumers are free to use its headphones without connecting to the app if they want to keep their information private. However, if they want help finding new music based on their preferences, consumers must allow their data to be analyzed and shared with other parties. And music fans have become increasingly reliant on these personalized services. In fact, as the industry moves forward, it may well become the case that a platform will be able to stand out from others based largely on the level of its ability to cater to the individualized tastes of consumers.

In addition to creating value for consumers, data collection certainly offers benefits to music and tech companies as well, providing the potential to develop new revenue streams based on personalized song lists and recommendations, targeted advertising, and more.

It’s important for consumers to understand that data mining isn’t a new concept and is expected to expand as the desire for personalized music services increases. This can be viewed as a win-win situation in the right mindset, allowing consumers to take advantage of platforms’ ability to curate highly individualized experiences to augment the enjoyment of music listening and discovery over time.

The future of tech lies in artificial intelligence, data collection and privacy – and the future is here.

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