On Monday, the popular music-streaming service announced that it had developed an algorithm to curate “pawfect” playlists that serve the soothing needs of you and your pet, as long as your pet is a dog, cat, bird, hamster or iguana (sorry, teacup pigs). Their five-step process asks pet owners to identify their animal’s breed and then select on a sliding scale whether they are relaxed or energetic, shy or friendly and apathetic or curious.
For this reporter, the owner of a large, fluffy black cat named Tank who purrs like a diesel engine, drools like a dog and hates when others feel peace, the curation quiz meant toggling each slider hard to the right.
The final step includes telling Spotify your pet’s name and uploading your favorite picture of their cute face. Then the streaming site’s algorithm says it is “syncing your taste” and spits out a personalized playlist.
Tank’s Pet Playlist included “Velvet Kitty Cat” by Prince, a song from the Moana soundtrack and a Rose Cousins tune titled “The Benefits of Being Alone” — which reflects his human’s brand and seems to communicate a special message for his frenzied, feline ears.
To develop its Pet Playlists algorithm, a Spotify spokesperson said the streaming company consulted with musicologist David Teie, a cellist with the National Symphony Orchestra who pioneered species-specific music and composed two albums of Music for Cats. Teie’s expertise informed the calculation, like how dogs don’t like low-register tunes because they can feel threatening.
“An energetic dog might get a playlist with tracks that are upbeat while a shy cat might get something with slower tempos,” according to a news release.
Spotify’s initiative is just one of many pitches that tech companies and others have served pet owners who are hoping to help their animals be happier. There are “Canine Lullabies,” premium cable TV network shows produced specifically for your dog that show pups in aesthetically pleasing landscapes or for your cat that show fish swimming around in an aquarium.
Spotify concedes that pet music “isn’t an exact science” but said the goal of Pet Playlists is to build upon the “true connection” pet owners feel between their “beloved animals and music.”
This pet owner just hopes Tank’s Pet Playlist becomes the calming soundtrack that keeps him from peeing in her potted plants.