Spotify and Ancestry Partner Up to Offer Playlists Based on Your DNA

Music streaming service Spotify has partnered with Ancestry, a leading genealogy company, to offer subscribers personalized playlists based on their DNA.

The custom playlist generator produced by Spotify and Ancestry’s will select a variety of songs that reflect the cultural music of users’ heritage based on where their ancestors are from. Although curating the playlist is free, it costs approximately USD 100 for the genealogy DNA test kit.

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Vineet Mehra, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Ancestry, told Quartz that this product goes beyond just stats, data, and records. It’s about how people experience their culture and not only by reading about it. They believed music was the obvious way to explore heritage further.

So what if you haven’t taken Ancestry’s at-home saliva DNA test?

Spotify is still offering a “Musical DNA” pie chart, which breaks down the genres you have listened to on your account. None of your actual DNA or any information about your ancestry is required for this option. Instead, it offers the user the makeup of their listening history to give them an idea of the genre and diversity of the music from a particular area. The hope is that users will find types of music they’ve never heard before.

For instance, Aisha Hassan, a writer at Quartz gave only her Spotify account login details and found that her Musical DNA, or her listening history, includes 18% Escape Room, 18% Indie R&B, and 10% Canadian Hip-Hop.

However, if a user wants more custom results based on their genetic makeup instead of their Spotify account history, there is a link to order an at-home DNA kit at the bottom of the MusicalDNA page.

Another option provided by Spotify and Ancestry is to choose the top five regions from which your ancestors originate to get a close, but not exact playlist based on your heritage. This option does not require you to take the DNA test.

According to Quartz since the two companies introduced the new service on Sept. 21, more than 10,000 people have signed up for a custom playlist, and more than 10 million people have taken the AncestryDNA test.

Seeing as there have been high-profile privacy breaches and the sale of personal data, many people may be concerned about giving their DNA information over to Spotify. However, a representative for Ancestry told Vice’s music news site Noisey that this service only asks users to give Spotify a list of their ethnic regions, and claimed that data is not stored on any server.

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When preparing news, materials from the following publications were used:


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