On Spotify's updated privacy policy

Tech Life

(Please note: I’m not affiliated with Spotify in any way. I’m just trying to offer a more balanced view on the matter.)

I first learnt about the new Spotify privacy policy when I read this article by Kirk McElhearn, titled Spotify’s New Privacy Policy Is Downright Invasive (But They’re Sorry). The potential invasiveness of said privacy policy must have triggered quite the uproar because, shortly after, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek wrote an apology and explanation on Spotify’s official blog. It is important to read Ek’s post to fully understand the nature of the policy changes. And one aspect in particular — you won’t be forced to share personal information you don’t want to share. Ek states:

In our new privacy policy, we indicated that we may ask your permission to access new types of information, including photos, mobile device location, voice controls, and your contacts. Let me be crystal clear here: If you don’t want to share this kind of information, you don’t have to. 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 then proceeds to explain how the information you choose to share will be used. Read the post in full before rage-quitting Spotify.

It’s true, Spotify should have better clarified its new privacy policy terms from the start. Did the company try to pull a sneaky move? Who knows, but as a long-time Spotify subscriber, I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. So far, I’ve never received spam or an excessive amount of notifications from Spotify, despite having a lot of entries ticked in the Notification Settings of my account:

Spotify notification settings

And (for now, at least) there’s a lot of personal information that’s still pretty optional: Spotify doesn’t know what type of mobile phone I have, nor my phone number. And there’s a specific setting for sharing my account information with third-party providers which is deselected by default:

Spotify marketing

I always keep a close eye on privacy policies and I’ll certainly review my account settings carefully in the future. If I notice any kind of abuse, or if the new privacy policy terms work in different ways from what has been explained in Ek’s post, I’ll also consider deleting my Spotify account, eventually. In the meantime, please, take some time to read Daniel Ek’s clarification (and even the previous post in Spotify’s blog). Don’t just voice your shock for these new terms, urging people to pre-emptively move away from Spotify, and generally spreading FUD. A few people and friends contacted me, doing exactly that, and the real irony is that they’re all avid Facebook users…

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