Why Spotify T’s & C’s shouldn’t be a concern

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Streaming Internet music service Spotify has outraged users who have erupted to their new terms and conditions and privacy policy. It’s all, according the Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, been blown out of proportion and their intent is not as some have suggested to spy on their users.

The outcry concerns Spotify telling users that they’d access their photos, location, voice and contacts from their mobile handsets. Sharing data with advertisers was also a concern.

In reality whenever you download an app to your mobile you give the app creator permission to access quite a few of your phone features, many of which you’d be annoyed if they couldn’t monitor – for instance you’d be pretty annoyed if you were playing a game and missed any calls that came in because the app creator hadn’t asked for permission to monitor your voice calls.

So what do Spotify want to do when they access your personal information? Photos and voice access are simply so that you can choose a profile image and to enable you control Spotify with voice commands. They’d like to access your location so that they can suggest music that’s trending in your area and possibly personalise music for you (for instance it’s rumoured that Spotify would like to select music matching your mood, for instance your speed when out jogging).

Your contacts are obviously not something you necessarily want to share with random apps, but Spotify allows you to find friends on Spotify and by identifying users who are already in your address book is no different to other apps like Facebook who already access this information.

Finally Spotify say that information shared with advertisers is anonymous but again this is what happens with practically every website you visit including sites like eBay, Amazon and Google.

Of course there is an alternative to Spotify if you’re too upset by the T’s and C’s, in the form of Amazon music. With the relatively new competition the last thing Spotify can afford is to be alienating users. Spotify costs £9.99 per month and as a comparison Amazon Prime, which promises over a million songs and hundreds of playlists, is effectively free if you’re already paying the £79 per year Prime subscription.

Are you a Spotify user, have you tried Amazon Prime Music? Which is best and is it still worth paying Spotify a tenner a month or is Amazon’s £79 per year deal worth having, especially as if you sign up just for the music Amazon will bung in free next day delivery, a free Kindle book per month, unlimited photo storage in the cloud and Prime Movies.

3 Responses

  1. Amazon say they have a million songs, Spotify say they have 25 million+. And Spotify is free (if you can take the odd ad). Amazon have a long way to go.

  2. its poor, lazy, thoughtless programming. as guilty by so many app developers. its also irresponsible of spotify to advise poeple “dont worry about ridiculously over-reaching permissions”.

    – you dont need a profile picture for spotify, you just dont. and even if you feel an unquenchable urge to have one, it can be achieved in several other ways without granting full access to all your private pictures, to share ad-hoc with whoever spotify feels will pay most for them.

    ” permission to monitor your voice calls ” is not what you suggest here. if an app asks to “monitor your voice calls”, its recording what you say, not checking whether a call is inbound.
    – ” read phone status ” lets it know when a call is incoming, and even then, not so it doesnt drop the call, this is only required to initiate an autosave, or return audio control before the call happens, the call is coming through regardless.

    if i want an app to know my mood, then have a button in the app to choose mood. dont try and second guess my state of mind based on my trajectory and momentum. they’re not particularly relevent to one another.
    what is relevent to my mood, is when technology tries to control my behaviour or invade my privacy, like this. it greatly affects my mood in a negative manner. i may hurl my phone at the wall in a rage, but spotify will misinterpret this as a vigorous joyful run and play some exercise music at me instead.

    my location is none of beyonce’s concern, my whereabouts are not bob dylan’s business, and nothing to do with spotify. if they want to know, they can ask, and have an option for “its none of your damn business” for me to select. dont try and steal this info from my technology without my knowledge (or by assuming im too lazy / dont care enough to check).

    These T&C’s should be a concern, even if they are as “innocent” as spotify would like you to believe, you should be concerned anyway. especially when you’re told “dont be silly, we just monitor you constantly for your own benefit”.


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