A big feature in Facebook’s new music integration is the ability for users to connect their music services with their players. Essentially, if you were to play a Machine Head song on Spotify, your Facebook timeline would not only automatically show what song your play, but would also let your friends click and listen themselves. On the one hand, that’s a really cool and innovative way to share music. However, it also means that your friends can find out that you’ve been listening to Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” three times in a row. Not exactly the type of information you want made public, eh? Well as it turns out, such self-consciousness can ultimately affect how you listen to music.
Digital Music News recently discovered an interesting study done by the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT) back in March where they studied tendencies showed on Last.fm. They found that people, especially young users, purposefully suppress certain things while accentuating others in an attempt to control their identity. In other words, people listen to music differently when others are watching.
It’s understandable that people tend to shift their listening preferences when under a microscope, and would explain why Spotify quickly released a new privacy option. As Lassi A. Liikkanen, one of the researchers, stated in the study, “When an online service publishes behavioral information automatically, it is important to give users a chance to express and explain the meanings of their actions. Listening to a song doesn’t necessarily mean that one likes it — or wants to be known as the kind of person who does.”