"It’s so corny and so cheesy."
Getting questionable tattoos of your favorite band, musician, or lyrics is a time-honored tradition. Now that we all stream our music on our phones, though, fans are taking it to the next level by getting inked with codes to play songs on Spotify — with varying degrees of reliability.
Designed to look like an audio waveform, scanning these official barcodes with a smartphone will prompt the device to play a specific song on the app. In the past few years, many music fans have chosen to get these tattooed on their body, often sharing them on social media.
"We love seeing listeners wear the audio they love on their sleeves and helping them rep their fandom," a Spotify spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal. "Since 2017, we've seen Spotify Codes used on everything from bumper stickers to sneakers to, yes, tattoos."
But as the trend drags on, some are realizing that the tattoos, even just a year later, quickly begin to stop working.
"It’s so corny and so cheesy," a man who got a code tattooed to play "Pony" by Ginuwine told the newspaper of his tattoo, which stopped scanning properly. (He's since covered it with a new tattoo.)
In fact, there's really no guarantee these tattoos will work even when they're freshly inked. As another woman told the WSJ, her Spotify tattoo that's supposed to play "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC never properly scanned, probably because the code doesn't have the Spotify logo next to it. Oops.
The potential flaws may be a lot more subtle than a missing logo, however, as the lines forming the code need to be copied with utmost precision. Being off by just a hair could be enough to spoil the whole thing.
That ridiculously tiny margin for error has made Spotify tats the bane of tattoo artists. "They are the most stressful tattoos I have ever done," Natalie Wilkinson, a tattoo artist who runs a studio in the UK, told WSJ.
Still, even if the code is perfectly tattooed and ages well — physically if not in terms of taste — there's no telling what will happen on Spotify's end of things.
As most that use the music streaming platform can tell you, artists' songs get removed and shuffled around all the time. Sometimes songs do get added back, but the codes for them may end up obsolete anyway.
"We can't guarantee that existing codes will work if the linked content gets re-uploaded," a Spotify community moderator wrote in September.
Given those kinds of risks involved, you'd think Spotify might be a little more openly discouraging to its users about getting permanently inked in its name. But alas — questionable music tats of every shape and size are here to stay.
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