What does your Spotify “daylist” reveal about you? Probably nothing.
List of days is a unique playlist that updates and changes to reflect your so-called listening habits at different times of the day. As the playlist refreshes, its title changes, adding words to describe the kind of morning — or afternoon, or anytime — the algorithm thinks you typically have. Some examples include “delicate lyric Thursday morning” and “chill Study Funk Pop Morning.”
The tool – part of Spotify’s ever-expanding recommendation machine – launched in September, but an Instagram challenge read: “Don’t tell me your star sign; I want you to go to Spotify, search your dayslist and post the track. he gave you,” brought him to the top of the streams (and minds).
The trend encourages users not to share their musical tastes, but to identify with nebulous algorithmically generated terms to describe a similarly generated playlist. Comparison with astrological signs suggests that these words reveal something mysterious and true. But Spotify users lack the context to understand what these words mean.
For example, earlier my days list said “floating r&b thursday morning” and featured artists like Baby Keem and Steve Lacy. Now it’s “Angelic Thursday Afternoon Rage” and lists a combination of Hozier, Troye Sivan, and the two typical artists I’ve never listened to before that Spotify keeps recommending to me, Reneé Rapp and Madison Beer. It’s not clear what floating, rage, or angelic are supposed to mean, or if even the platform itself has a definition for them.
“The Daylist is updated frequently, bringing together the niche music and microgenres you usually stream at certain times of the day and week. You’ll get new tracks with each update, as well as a new title that sets the tone for your list of days,” said a Spotify spokesperson. told Mashable in September.
But the attraction of analysis what does this say about me is intoxicating. The daylist exercise assumes what so many social media algorithms do: we can obtain a ready-made identity from the Internet without much thought. In the New Yorker, Kyle Chayka wrote about algorithmic anxiety, the feeling of “constantly fighting against automatic estimates of (our) desires.” The mental gymnastics of making sense of our day lists is yet another example of algorithmic anxiety, and it prevents us from forming our own identities in an offline way.
Forget day lists. I want to know a song that is meaningful to you and why.