Is the streaming service barking mad?
Spotify has given users a tool that allows them to make a playlist based on answers to a few questions about their pet(s).
First, you have to input your type of pet, before using sliders to add specific details about their personality. You then upload a photo and add their name, before the streaming service algorithm then compiles a selection of 30 songs.
Your recommended tracks might vary depending on your pet’s energy and temperament, your existing music taste, as well as scientific information about animal responses to different pitch levels.
For instance, a 2002 study conducted by animal behaviorist Dr. Deborah Wells showed that classical music helps dogs relax. Dogs respond well to reggae, too, a finding backed up by a 2017 study conducted by the Scottish SPCA and the University of Glasgow.
Spotify worked with musicologist David Teie, a cellist who plays with American’s National Symphony Orchestra who has recorded two albums for cats, as well as other species-specific music. The playlists are data-driven, but the company drew on Teie’s knowledge when programming the algorithm.
The company has also launched a new podcast for dogs, titled ‘My Dog’s Favourite Podcast’, which is designed to keep pets calm when they are left at home alone — that’s why it’s five hours long.
The podcast is voiced by Ralph Ineson (Finchy from The Office, Dagmer Cleftjaw in Game of Thrones, Amycus Carrow in the last three Harry Potter films) and Jessica Raine (Jenny Lee in the first three series of BBC One drama, Call the Midwife), and the music is composed by Daniel Knight.
Pet psychologist, Alex Benjamin, who worked on the podcast said:
“My Dog’s Favourite Podcast is a bespoke podcast that is designed to encourage your dog to relax through gentle calming praise and story-like speech accompanied by original music and gentle ambient sounds designed to help mask startling sounds of the outside world such as traffic, car doors slamming or the bins being emptied, for example. I hope that the podcast becomes a fun and useful resource for owners to explore with their dogs while they are at home together as well as when their dog is alone for short periods.”
Spotify’s new tool and podcast no doubt build on the success of companies such as RelaxMyDog, which was founded in 2011 by entrepreneur Amman Ahmed and producer Ricardo Henriquez, and was so successful that a sister company called RelaxMyCat was founded in 2012.
Spotify will probably see an uptake in listeners using these new tools later in the year, as pet owners attempt to placate their pets and calm them down during festivities which involve fireworks and loud noises, which are known to cause pets distress, such as Bonfire Night, Diwali, Thanksgiving, Independence Day and New Years Eve.
Have you created a playlist for your pet — what did it recommend? Would you ever leave your dog at home along with a podcast for company?