Pet Sounds: Spotify is making playlists for your furry friends – but do they care?

In 2020 there’s a carefully-curated playlist for every scenario life has to offer. Bed-ridden with the winter lurgy? Cooking up a storm? Throwing a tantrum? You bet there’s a playlist for that on Spotify.

Up until now, however, they’ve left out one particular niche market – your pets. Several months too early for April Fools Day – so it’s deffo real – the streaming service has introduced a brand new playlist creator called, wait for it, Pets! Spotify say that they “consulted with experts in the pet industry” to create the new feature. But is it any good, or should you hit the, ahem, paws button? We investigated…

So, what the hell is it all about?

Essentially, the Pets feature takes your music taste, and foists it upon your unsuspecting pet – with a few punny bands crammed on for good measure. If you’re into lo-fi indie, the algorithm might chuck something like ‘Your Dog’ by Soccer Mommy’ into the mix. Garage rock fans might get The Growlers.

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Dogs, cats, iguanas, birds and hamsters are all catered for, and users also have to provide a rough idea of their pet’s personality. So if you’ve got yourself an apathetic and slightly hostile iguana on your hands, then this is the musical service for you.

What’s the point?

Well, frankly there isn’t really a ‘point’, but that never really stopped anyone, did it?

Do pets actually like it?

The playlists themselves are quite good – mine included some recent favourites like Gia Ford and some tried and tested bangers by Talking Heads and David Bowie. They also threw up a few slightly neglected curveballs – so as far as mixtapes go, pet owners are pretty well looked after.

But how about the goddamn pets?!

It’s not a completely lost cause. According to a 2016 study by the Scottish SPCA and the University of Glasgow, dogs do have their own musical preferences. The trouble is, they’re mainly into reggae and soft rock – so if your Spotify account is chock-a-block with noughties pop, things probably aren’t going to work out for your furry chum.

A separate study by the University of Lincoln found that parrots prefer pop and folk; but hold dance music in extreme disdain. And as for cats, research has found that they don’t respond positively to human music at all, regardless of genre. Strange creatures.

Weirdly enough, nobody has managed to do any significant research into iguanas and hamsters (though there’s still time)

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So based on highly scientific evidence (the immediate reactions of my friend’s dog) pets couldn’t care less about Spotify’s new pet playlist. In fairness, the gutsy string sections from Angel Olsen’s ‘New Love Cassette’ prompted at least some reaction – though equally there could’ve been a pigeon flapping around outside the window. Jakob Ogawa gave my test subject a brief bout of the hiccups. Otherwise sheer, unimpressed nonchalance all round. Ah well.

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