Photo Credit: Dex Heine
A new tattoo trend is to get inked with your favorite song’s Spotify barcode—but that doesn’t always work out like planned.
Spotify tattoos have taken off as a form of party trick, allowing anyone nearby to scan the tat to start a song playing. The Wall Street Journal has reported on several young people who have decided to bear Spotify tattoos for the rest of their lives—though some have already stopped working.
The Spotify tattoo craze has caused some consternation among long-time tattoo artists. That’s because music fans are asking them to re-create a marketing barcode on their bodies—and all the challenges that come with that. Tattoo ink fades over time, which can limit how long the tat is effective. Permanent damage to the skin or just general aging may warp the lines of the tattoo enough that it stops working.
“They are the most stressful tattoos I have ever done,” Natalie Wilkinson told the WSJ about the Spotify tattoo requests. Wilkinson says if you have your heart set on one, you should choose a part of your body that is flat, like the upper knee or the inner ankle. Wilkinson says she refuses to put the tattoos on certain parts of the body including hands, where the ink is more likely to fade. Wilkinson also insists on printing a test of the code to make sure it works before tattooing.
Some people don’t seem to care whether the tattoos work from flesh or not, it’s the sentiment behind the code for them. One tattoo artist said she inked a mother who wanted to commemorate a song written by her son. “The mother who asked me to do it, she said that she would love for it to work. But before I tattooed her, she said, ‘if it doesn’t, it still means a lot to me.’”
The process of healing a tattoo is different for every person, dependent on their body, the place of the tattoo, and several external factors. A thickening of the lines on the tattoo will happen over time, resulting in some that no longer work. The tattoo featured in the header image is one of those, belonging to Dex Heine. The tattoo was supposed to play Ginuwine’s “My Pony” when scanned.
But the tattoo eventually stopped working, becoming harder to scan in certain light. “Eventually it became too frustrating to attempt in a group setting,” the report reads. Heine eventually had the Spotify tattoo covered with a large dragon, joining tattoos of Disney’s Haunted Mansion and Mickey Mouse on his body.