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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Let's give Spotify's Pet Playlists a shot

Illustration for article titled Let's give Spotify's Pet Playlists a shot
Photo: Walik (Getty Images)

Having dominated the streaming music marketplace, Spotify is now looking to expand its horizons, extending its reach beyond human listeners to encompass the rest of the animal kingdom. It’s hoping to accomplish this through a new feature called “Pet Playlists.” which, as you might expect, tries to create a selection of tracks you and your pet might enjoy listening to together.


The description presumes “you already share everything with your pet,” (which is not true, as many of us save liquor, chocolate, and recreational doses of dog poison to ourselves) and suggests allowing Spotify to create “a playlist for your pet based on music you love, for tunes you can both enjoy at home, at the park, or wherever life takes you.”

It starts by allowing users to pick their own pet—dog, cat, hamster, bird, or, uh, iguana—and then asks for their personality to be described through a set of behavior sliders. Is your dear, sweet iguana more “relaxed” or “energetic,” “shy” or “friendly,” “apathetic” or “curious?” Figure these out, upload a photo and the pet’s name, and Spotify then spits out a recommendation

I selected my pet’s traits—a very relaxed, fairly shy, and pretty curious cat—and received a playlist featuring Xiu Xiu, Patrick Watson, Sun Araw, Boris, Beak>, FKA Twigs, and Chad VanGaalen, which ... sure. Curious to know how she would react to a collection of songs tailored to her personality, I scooped her up from sleeping on an armchair and played the first few songs from the list over the sound of her protest meows. Unsurprisingly, my cat responded by basically not giving a shit about the noises coming out of the speakers. She sat through Beak>’s “When We Fall” until near the end, purring a little bit even, but then got distracted by seeing a squirrel through the window. She then jumped down, batted at a toy crab for most of FKA Twigs’ “thousand eyes,” and ran off to eat kibbles while Boris’ “Away From You” played dining accompaniment.

Other A.V. Club staffers had a mixed experience. Some received a playlist packed with songs they’d already favorited, while others got one filled with stuff they’d never listen to. What they all had in common, however, were songs and bands that either directly“Your Dog,” “Does Your Cat Have A Mustache?,” “Dancing With My Cat”—or obliquely—Handsome Furs, Wet Tuna, “No Pussy Blues”—referenced animals. Very cute, Spotify. 

If you’re curious what happens when you fill one out for yourself, check the feature out over here. Even if it doesn’t provide very good results, it’s at least better than just chucking out a mix that consists entirely of Baha Men, Pet Sounds cuts, “House Of The Rising Sun,” and The Jingle Cats’ “White Christmas.” 

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.