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Spotify has introduced Stories, triggering the narcissism apocalypse. Kill me now so I don’t have to witness this hell

Andrew Dickens
Andrew Dickens

Andrew Dickens is an award-winning writer on culture, society, politics, health and travel for major titles such as the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Independent, the Daily Mail and Empire.

Andrew Dickens is an award-winning writer on culture, society, politics, health and travel for major titles such as the Guardian, the Telegraph, the Independent, the Daily Mail and Empire.

Spotify has introduced Stories, triggering the narcissism apocalypse. Kill me now so I don’t have to witness this hell
Spotify has subtly introduced Instagram-style stories, joining the likes of Twitter and LinkedIn on the ‘drown the planet in fetid content’ bandwagon. For the love of humanity, this narcissistic stream of self-promotion must stop.

The other day, I was thinking to myself, “What I really need in my life are more ways to consume social media ‘content’.”

This is a lie. Nobody needs that. But this small fact hasn’t stopped music-streaming behemoth Spotify from stealthily adding ‘Stories’ to its functions. 

Search ‘Christmas Hits’ on the app and you’ll have the opportunity to ‘tap to see the story’. This story is a series of brief videos in which the likes of Meghan Trainor, Kelly Clarkson and Jennifer Lopez blandly recall their ‘favourite Christmas memory’ before, much more enthusiastically, mentioning their new Christmas single. Hardly Shakespeare. 

It’s not known where Spotify plans to take this function - at the moment it's just being tested with certain playlists. Perhaps soon, though, we’ll all be able to share clips of ourselves listening to music, which is so much more important than just listening to music. Perhaps it just wants to leap upon the tsunami-of-fetid-content bandwagon.

These Snapchat-style temporary posts have been adopted by several social platforms that absolutely need them, most successfully Instagram, but also Twitter and LinkedIn. Because who doesn’t want to spend their short time on Earth thumbing through time-limited images of Karen giving her presentation on the best teabags for a post-Covid office environment?

Spotify won’t be the last, either. Soon, access to your bank balance will require you to endure an emoji-splattered post from your account manager about his coin collection. Google/Apple Pay will make you watch a 30-second message from Ed Sheeran on the subject of his favourite root vegetable before you can tap for your groceries. Betting apps will come with daily ‘what I’m having for lunch’ updates literally straight from the (race)horse’s mouth.

Just like everything else on this planet, the idea of Stories will be monetised to within an inch of its life. But I don’t blame the companies for this, I blame the people who are making it worth monetising - i.e. the users.

Sharing is fine... to an extent. I do Instagram. My dog does Instagram. It’s a nice photo album. But the world has now moved on way beyond this. We’re drifting in a desert of narcissism and insecurity with nothing to sustain us but a misguided belief that people want to know what we’re up to on an hourly basis. 

We’re at a stage in this ‘all about me’ culture where people get anxious that they aren’t posting enough – as if they won’t exist in reality if they don’t maintain vital signs on social media. The result: they shove up any old crap. I haven’t seen any evidence to back this theory up, but I’d wager that there exist Instagram Stories of people reacting to Instagram Stories just because they ‘needed’ to post an Instagram Story. 

It’s a living hell in which the entire world has sat us in front of a slide projector with some homemade wine and is showing us a series of short videos of it walking past and pointing at a sunset – something that has been happening somewhere on Earth at any given moment for the last 4.5 billion years – with the hashtag #sunset obscuring that actual sunset. On loop.

So, I have a request. More of a desperate plea, actually.

We’re already drowning in enough meaningless content without adding posts that are deemed by the poster to be unworthy of living longer than 24 hours, so I’m begging the big cheeses at Spotify, for the love of humanity, to not feed the beast. Make my favourite Christmas memory that time you decided that Spotify Stories was not what anyone, anywhere needed.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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