A drawing of icebergify shows an iceberg floating in the ocean
Illustration by Alyssa Tarry, University of Michigan, Stamps School of Art & Design

‘Icebergify’ Lets Pretentious Listeners Show Off Their Music Tastes

Average music fans, beware: This new data collection service will unleash your friends’ competitive sides.

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A drawing of icebergify shows an iceberg floating in the ocean
Illustration by Alyssa Tarry, University of Michigan, Stamps School of Art & Design

Average music fans, beware: This new data collection service will unleash your friends’ competitive sides.

Every friend group has that one person who takes too much pride in their eclectic music taste. Whether they listen to underground indie artists on full blast to make sure everyone knows they’re special, or they merely listen to Radiohead, these friends take music far more seriously than most people. If you’re one of the unlucky few who have friends like this, then brace yourself. There’s now a platform that gives them the means to prove their music taste is deeper and more wide-ranging than yours: Icebergify.

All your friends need to do is type in “Icebergify” on Google and they’re ready to prove their superiority. Once they’re on the website’s homepage, they can link their Spotify account and give Icebergify permission to access their data. On the surface, having another website that tracks data might sound pretty alarming. And depending on how frequently your friend forces their music onto you, you might hope that it’s some elaborate ploy to rid the world of their playlists altogether. But before you get your hopes up, it should be noted that Icebergify is not the first website to harness Spotify listener data.

Websites such as last.fm, Obscurify, and Stats for Spotify all record data directly from Spotify accounts for their services. While it’s ultimately up to the user if they are comfortable handing over their listener data, the mentioned sites only use data for their non-malicious services. Besides, even if these websites did aim to use listener data for malicious ends, what could they really do? All they’re given access to is your music history. As far as privacy is concerned, sites that record music taste data don’t really yield much cause for concern.

Since handing over music data doesn’t really seem to be an issue, once you and your friends link your Spotify accounts to Icebergify, the site compiles an “Iceberg” of your previously listened-to artists. For those unfamiliar with internet icebergs, they’re hierarchical diagrams that rank things based on how “surface level” they are. Prior to Icebergify, these types of diagrams usually pertained to subjects like disturbing movies or conspiracy theories, since the depth of these subjects seemed to go on forever. But in recent years, Spotify and other streaming platforms have made it clear that music was another subject with enough depth for such a diagram, too.

Essentially, the music iceberg featured on Icebergify places each user’s favorite bands into tiers ranked by how many monthly listeners they average. The bands with the highest average listeners are ranked farther above the surface, and the bands with the lowest average listeners are placed beneath the base of the iceberg. The higher the average number of listeners, the more “surface level” the band is. So, if your friend who bases their entire personality on the depth of their music taste wanted to prove their worth, they could use “Icebergify” to show how far down below the surface their music taste dives. For a better understanding of what these icebergs look like, here is an example:

Image via Google Images

As expected, the top features the artists and bands everyone knows about, while toward the bottom lies the bands that are harder to find. In this particular user’s iceberg, their music taste is, for the most part, generic. There is a completely empty portion at the bottom that marks the lack of exploration on the part of the user. If you’re just an average music listener, then your iceberg will probably look something like this.

If pretentious music friends didn’t exist, then there wouldn’t be any problems with using Icebergify. Everyone could simply see how far down the iceberg their music taste goes for curiosity’s sake. But unfortunately, these types of friends do exist, and they won’t just let you view your iceberg. They will most likely turn the activity into a day-ruining competition. And with the way each iceberg is compiled, Icebergify makes the experience even worse.

Let’s say, for instance, that someone with a very generic taste in music decides to use Icebergify. Rather than having their range of artists distributed all the way down the iceberg relative to their own taste, the tier placement for artists stays almost entirely stagnant across all users’ icebergs. So, this person’s iceberg wouldn’t be filled at all and would instead only feature artists in the tiers closer to the tip of the iceberg. All it would take is one music-loving friend with an iceberg filled to the bottom to swoop in and ruin their day. And with their system set up this way, there’s absolutely nowhere to hide.

Even if the ratio of annoying music listeners was limited to one per friend group, the combined impact would be enough to ruin everyone’s car rides at least once a week. Unfortunately, it’s too late to stop the spread: Shortly after its release, the website experienced technical difficulties because of increased traffic. The site was almost completely unresponsive for several weeks. If users wanted their own iceberg, they would have to keep retrying Icebergify until the website traffic had diminished enough for their iceberg to load properly.

For average music listeners with friends who pride themselves on their music taste, Icebergify is as threatening to aux chords, common-room speakers and music discussions. It’s almost as dangerous as the literal iceberg was to the Titanic. It gives them hard evidence that proves their music taste is deeper than everyone else’s. Without preparation, their friends will likely suffer hours of annoying discourse about their great music taste. The only way you can avoid the same fate is by not telling your friends about the website at all. But if you’re the exact person I speak of and want more people to know how great your music taste is, then spread the word of Icebergify across the internet (like I just did).

Writer Profile

Kirk Chamberlain

Marist College
Philosophy

A passionate pursuer of ideas who loves to play devil’s advocate. In his free time, he enjoys watching films, listening to music and playing video games.

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