Do you remember those birthday cards that played a song when you opened them? Do you remember how they were sort of cool, but everyone closed the card immediately out of embarrassment? That is how I feel about Spotify’s new feature, which lets you create a personalized playlist to go with your out-of-office email.
The new feature, called OOO, makes a playlist that queues up popular tracks at your destination, depending on the purpose of your visit (“business,” “pleasure”) and the mood (a spectrum from “relaxed” to “party”—I wonder where “stressed” would be). If you put in the date you’ll be away and “who’s covering you” while you’re away, it’ll draft the message for you itself.
I tried this with the dates of my next trip home and was prompted to tell everyone to “get a taste of my trip by checking out my Sunnyvale California-inspired playlist” with tracks like “Beach Avenue” by Freight Train and “Above the Law” by Another Execution. Neither of these are bands I listen to and neither of these are songs I want my coworkers to listen to while being reminded that they have to cover for me while I’m on vacation.
OOO is Spotify’s newest idea to help people discover music, after the great success of Discover Weekly and the rollout of its Fresh Finds. Location-based music is a cool idea, and other companies (like the “musical time machine” Radiooooo) have used it. More and more, it seems like music needs to be everywhere, with Uber allowing passengers to play Spotify during their rides to Lyft reportedly working on a jukebox feature.
Problem is, nobody likes receiving out-of-office replies to begin with, because it always signals that there’s going to be a delay. Getting a“party” playlist that reveals someone is sipping wine in Paris even though they were supposed to send you something a week ago does not exactly put me in the mood to discover new music.