Have you ever wondered if someone, somewhere in the world, once went through their playlist and selected the exact same song at the exact same moment you did? If you and a complete stranger, for a few minutes, shared a musical communion without knowing it?
Spotify’s first “Artist in Residence” Kyle McDonald has. To answer these existential questions, the Brooklyn-based digital expert created “Serendipity,” a visualization of people around the world hitting “play” for the same song on Spotify within a tenth of a second. It turns out it happens all the time and that we’re even more in sync than we’d think.
To build Serendipity, McDonald got access to Spotify’s huge database, which constantly gathers information about the 25 to 50 million people listening to the music streaming website at the same time. Between 10,000 and 20,000 songs are started every second.
The map isn’t live, but the tracks shown on it were “recorded over one hour of one day”, the artist explains. In addition to revealing that some Australians are still listening to James Blunt’s “You’re Beautiful” in 2014, it also shows that two people living thousands of miles or just a few streets away from each other can have the same musical tastes, and uncanny synchronicity.