Serendipity on Spotify

Screenshot of the serendipity project in action

Screenshot taken from ‘Serendipity’

Media Artist in Residence at Spotify, Kyle McDonald has created a visualization using the Spotify Web API to show when two users click to play the same song simultaneously.

Serendipity 2014 A map showing ephemeral connections created by simultaneous listens: every second a few people hit “play” on the same song, at the same time. Developed during inaugural media artist residency at Spotify.

The dizzying visualization, leaps around the globe to highlight, for just a few seconds, the locations of the two users who are simpatico in that moment in terms of their musical taste, before skipping to the next pair of users.

I found the simple controls to be slightly odd as the ‘pause’ button doesn’t stop the music, it just pauses the skipping, while the mute button performs as you would expect. It’s best to just sit back and enjoy the ride around the world to see what users are listening to simultaneously.

More information from Spotify on this project –

“Serendipity”represents one facet of many research directions Kyle explored while in residence. It is guided by a simple question: how often do people listen to the same song in sync with each other?

Surprisingly, every second there are at ten least [sic] pairs of people who start listening to the same song within a tenth of a second of each other. These connections can cross time zones, borders, and oceans. Other times it’s two people in the same city, unaware of each other. If you’re listening to a popular song, there’s a good chance someone else is listening to it in sync with you.

“Serendipity” was built with the Spotify Web API, d3.js, and Storm.

Check it out for yourself!

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