LIKE almost everything these days, how and where people listen to music has also been affected by the pandemic and the various quarantine or lockdown procedures. Music streaming service Spotify noted in a late-March blog post that people are now listening to more “chill” music — more acoustic fare than dance music. And thanks to social distancing, The Police’s “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” (1980) also saw a 135% spike in people searching and listening to it.

Since people can’t physically come together, Spotify created a “Listening Together” microsite to try to bring people together by “visualizing these connections in real-time in a way that has never been done,” according to a release.

“Spotify’s new ‘Listening Together’ campaign is inspired by a simple question to help create human connection: what are you listening to right now?” the company said.

The microsite ( visually displays when people are streaming the same track on a rotating, 3D map of the Earth. So those listening to indie folk-pop group Ben&Ben’s “Kathang Isip” (2017) can see where other people are listening to the same song.

Spotify got the inspiration for the microsite from a 2014 social experiment by media artist Kyle McDonald where he played with the idea of “finding serendipity of two listeners pressing play on the same song within milliseconds of each other,” according to a release.

The streaming service is also handing over the reins to various Asian artists to “take-over” several Spotify playlists. The artists will curate and present songs they’ve been listening to while in quarantine and to “amplify connections between artists and their fans, bringing them closer together through a shared love of music.”

Some of the Filipino artists taking part in the take-over are Ben&Ben, Moira dela Torre, and Jason Marvin (known for songs like “Tahan Na”). The artists will choose and provide commentary to the songs they included in the “OPM Says Chillax” playlist on the site.

“Fans can look forward to honest commentary about their favorite at-home routines, hobbies, self-care tips, and tracks they’re currently listening to such as [Cynthia Alexander’s] “Owner of the Sky” (2000) and [Side A’s] “Forevermore” (1994) to inspire their days,” said the company.

New artists are set to do the take-overs every week and to keep up to date, check Spotify’s “At Home” playlist hub to see a collection of playlists “to soundtrack your home.” — ZBC