Music and romance have been a couple for millennia, so maybe it’s no surprise that dating apps are jumping on the bond. Tinder, Bumble, Raya and other apps give users the option to connect their Spotify playlist or pick a profile song from Apple Music, creating ice breakers for conversations with strangers. This year, Tinder is testing a function that allows users to share Spotify clips within a chat.
When a Tinder member updates their Anthem—a song that appears in their profile—it appears in the Feed for their matches (as long as they haven’t opted out of this). Conversations generated via Anthem-related content on Feed, as well as photo-related content, are most likely to receive a response, according to Tinder. “Essentially, music taste and content is worth talking about to Tinder members, and sparks more conversations than, say, updating your bio,” a Tinder spokesperson said in an email. “We’ve also found that people receive more Likes when their profile is more complete—which means that adding an Anthem/Top Artists helps lead to more matches/Likes.”
Music sharing is nothing new, of course. Before Spotify and Apple Music allowed users to digitally create and share their own playlists, people burned CD’s for their family, friends, and lovers. Even earlier, tape recorders and boomboxes were used to make mixtapes on cassettes.
I was in the 10th grade the first time someone burned me a CD with all my favorite songs. The curator was my boyfriend at the time, and he wanted to make me something special to remind me of him when he left for college. The memories of riding in his car after basketball games while blasting Lil Boosie and Z-Ro songs now lived on this shiny, round disc. I protected that CD as if it were the last copy of Purple Rain on vinyl. The gift was personal and proved to me our relationship was valuable to him.
Making someone a custom playlist takes time and a great deal of patience. Think of it as writing someone a letter: The task is usually reserved for people of importance and resembles an intimate act of appreciation. Maybe this is why Spotify playlist-making is often reserved for a crush. In 2017, a trend called ‘Spotify flirting’ became popular when users would post the playlist they made for their crush online. The playlist usually spelled out a sentence with the titles of songs, expressing interest in someone.
A message stating “I love that song” or “____ is my favorite artist” are popular first chats to receive on a dating app. In fact, common taste in music is an important part of vetting potential partners when dating. A 2011 study found young people tend to like a new person more after finding out they share the same music preferences than when they did not.
Similar to making someone a playlist, sending someone a single song is just as intimate. Hearing a song and instantly thinking of someone, recognizing that they’ll probably enjoy the song too, and then deciding to recommend it to them, isn’t as easy to do with someone you haven’t made opinions about. So next time you wonder why that person you went on a date with won’t stop sending you music, maybe they’re trying to hint that they’re actually really into you.