The new policy, which took effect Wednesday, immediately triggered alarm. Several tech publications railed against the terms, and Minecraft creator Markus Persson engaged Spotify CEO Daniel Ek in a Twitter debate that ended with Persson and others quitting the music service.
“Let me be crystal clear here: If you don’t want to share this kind of information, you don’t have to,” Ek wrote in his apology.
“We will ask for your express permission before accessing any of this data — and we will only use it for specific purposes that will allow you to customize your Spotify experience,” he added.
In light of Ek’s apology and explanation, the debate now appears focused on whether the brouhaha was justified, or if Spotify’s critics profoundly overreacted.
Spotify’s new policy increases information collected to include new technical data such as additional cookies, device information and network information.
With permission, Spotify may collect information stored on mobile devices, such as a user’s contacts and photos.
Spotify may collect location information and sensor data from mobile devices.
A lack of clarity over what Spotify might ask permission to do and what it might do without asking permission no doubt led to the outrage.
It’s Not OK if We’re Paying
“At the core of the problem is that this is a music service that a lot of people actually pay for,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group.
“You might expect this from a free social media app, but, with a service you pay for, your expectation of privacy is far higher,” he told TechNewsWorld. “You don’t expect to be mined for any of this, and it could — in fact, likely will — drive customers to other services.”
Spotify’s data gathering would be like “my CD store selling information captured about me on their cameras while I was in the store,” Enderle remarked.
“When you sign up for a lot of these online sites, they ask if you want to sign in through your Facebook or LinkedIn account, and they will then access your contacts because they’re looking to capture additional information,” noted Susan Schreiner, an analyst at C4 Trends.
Spotify’s basic service is free, but the company reportedly plans to adopt a premium-only, gated access model.
“Overreactive outrage is this decade’s vice of choice,” said Peter Cooper.
“BTW, if we know each other and you’ve got my contact info in your phone, I expect you to delete my info or uninstall Spotify, your choice,” wrote Eleanor Saitta.
“If you value your privacy, drop Spotify,” suggested Rebecca Mickley.
Sorry Doesn’t Cut It
Ek’s apology is “not even close,” Enderle said.
Spotify should offer “an opt-in backed up by solid customer benefits,” he suggested.
“It remains to be seen how his apology actually translates — the devil is in the details,” Schreiner told TechNewsWorld.