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Sub-Spotifying is the latest way to let technology passive aggressively flirt for you

We are a simple species: Anything we can turn into a wooing mechanism, we will. There’s Facebook flirting, Instagram courting, and now there’s sub-Spotifying.

You’ve probably sub-Spotified someone without even knowing it, or at least without knowing it had a name. This latest style of digital flirtation takes its name from “subtweeting,” which is where you direct a tweet at someone without tagging them via their @handle. Sub-Spotifying is similarly discreet, although subtweeting is usually used for negative purposes; this, on the other hand, is a way to say “hey I’m acknowledging your musical taste and reacting to it.” 

It’s part creeping, part crushing. Spotify is only the latest service to get this treatment, though. You don’t share your streaming history to Facebook unless you want someone to notice your great taste – and you certainly don’t give out your Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, or Amazon Prime passwords unless you can bury those 18 episodes of Real World: New Orleans you binge-watched last Wednesday (to be replaced by Firefly, Games of Thrones, or House of Cards, of course). 

While you can flirt via Facebook posts, tweets, and Instagram photos, those are such forthright ways of gaining attention. You put effort into taking and posting that picture, or linking to that hilarious Onion headline. Sharing your streaming activity, however, is so much more nonchalant. You can scrupulously take notes and model your own activity after someone else’s and they would be never the wiser.

Who me? Oh, yeah I love The National. Yeah I was just listening to them like I always do, just casually being my awesome self. You noticed?

You’re also rewatching Lost? We have so much in common – I had no idea. 

Yes you did. You absolutely did. 

In essence, your over-noticing of them makes it look like they’re over-noticing you. And your plan is complete. 

But let’s dive into some details here, because sub-Spotifying has just emerged and we should all be a part of the process of defining the ways in which you can sub-Spotify.

Sub-Spotify method 1:

You see your crush is actively listening to music on Spotify. You know that he or she can also see that you’re actively listening to music on Spotify. You then decide to switch to a band he or she likes in the hopes they will either silently approve or – better yet – start a conversation with you about said approval.

Sub-Spotify method 2:

You see your crush is actively listening to music on Spotify. You know that he or she can also see that you’re actively listening to music on Spotify. You take note of what he or she is listening to, and start listening to the exact same artist (perhaps a different album so as not to seem like a stalker). You hope they notice and decide it is fate.

Sub-Spotify method 3:

You start taking mental notes on what kind of music your crush is listening to. You create a public playlist that jives with his or her taste. You share it to Facebook, or perhaps just have it on rotate so they will eventually notice, click, and approve (and again, hopefully start a conversation with you about it). You might not even like this music, but you will mute and press play until it has the desired effect.

Sub-Spotify method 4:

The previous methods of sub-Spotifying mostly exist within the Spotify client. However, so many users plug in, press play, and click out into something else that there’s a strong possibility your crush won’t notice your musical flirting. If you want to take matters into your own hands, you choose a band or song they like (or that you think makes some sort of message or hints at your liking of them) and share it out to Facebook or Twitter. The bold among us will include a cryptic message.

Someday, Spotify will enable “liking” and you will be able to thumbs up songs as they fly through the real-time listening stream in the right hand sidebar. Until that day, sub-Spotify on, lovers.