Spotify’s ‘Serendipity’ Map Shows When Two People Played The Same Song At The Exact Same Time


Ever wonder if someone else in the world is doing the exact same thing you’re doing at this very moment? Like, if you just pressed play on that catchy song “Stolen Dance,” what are the odds that someone else across the globe did too?

Created by interactive artist Kyle McDonald, Spotify’s first Media Artist in Residence, Serendipity is an animated world map showing when two people start listening to the same song at the same time on Spotify — across borders. This interactive art project is based on real-time data, and it’s pretty cool to see.

To show up on Serendipity, two people must have started listening to the same song on Spotify within a tenth of a second of each other, in different towns or time zones.

“25-50 million people are listening to music [on Spotify] at any moment,” McDonald tells The Verge, “and 10-20,000 songs are started every second!”  This data formed the basis for Serendipity.

The Verge notes that “McDonald also built a live feed of music shared on social networks by all Spotify users, as well as a globe of glowing white pixels representing users around the world. He also explored hypotheses about why users might all click the Thumbs Up button at the same time during a song — in hopes of finding “the biggest beat drop” of all time…McDonald even tracked down “mainstreamness,” a secret attribute the company assigned to every song based on how hip it was.”

McDonald hints at how this technology could play a role in future offerings for the company. “Imagine if we could have ‘tangled sessions,’” says McDonald, “or an app that would pair you up with someone so you could listen to the same song at the same time.”

Social Media Week