Spotify Users Angered Over New Privacy Policy

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Spotify wants access to a whole new cache of user data, including photos, social media and location

Angry Spotify users are leaving the music streaming service in their droves today as the company ushers in a new privacy policy that gives it access to users’ photos, contacts and location data.

The changes in Spotify’s terms of service, if agreed to, also allows it to be privy to users’ social media activity and other sensor data that is stored on today’s smartphones.

User experience

But Spotify is arguing that the changes will help it to tailor an “improved user experience”.

Spotify is currently developing a feature called Spotify Running that will make custom playlists for users who are exercising whilst listening to music.

spotifySpotify said that in order to do this, it has to have access to a device’s accelerometer so it knows whether or not the user is actually physically running.

Spotify said in a statement: “Spotify is constantly innovating and evolving its service to deliver the best possible experience for our users. This means delivering the perfect recommendations for every moment, and helping you to enjoy, discover and share more music than ever before.”

The Swedish firm, which was founded in 2006, added that privacy and security of customer data is still Spotify’s highest priority.

The official change to the terms of service reads:

If you connect to the Service using credentials from a Third Party Application (as defined in the Terms and Conditions of Use) (e.g., Facebook), you authorise us to collect your authentication information, such as your username and encrypted access credentials. We may also collect other information available on or through your Third Party Application account, including, for example, your name, profile picture, country, hometown, email address, date of birth, gender, friends’ names and profile pictures, and networks.

Spotify goes on to say:

Depending on the type of device that you use to interact with the Service and your settings, we may also collect information about your location based on, for example, your phone’s GPS location or other forms of locating mobile devices (e.g., Bluetooth). We may also collect sensor data (e.g., data about the speed of your movements, such as whether you are running, walking, or in transit).

Spotify also told users that their data may be passed on to others:

Certain information may always be publicly available to others and other information is made publicly available to others by default. And if you share information to a Third Party Application, that information is viewable on Spotify, regardless of how you set your privacy settings.


CEO and founder of Spotify, Daniel Ek, took to Twitter today to argue his company’s case. In reply to Minecraft founder Markus Persson, who tweeted he will be cancelling his Spotify subscription because of the new terms, Ek said: “Have you read our blog? We explicitly will ask when using camera or GPS. However both changing playlist image and running feature.

Persson replied: “Feature creep for privacy invasion. I want NONE of those features. I want to stream music.”


“The data we access simply helps us to tailor improved experiences to our users, and build new and personalized products for the future,” said Spotify in its terms of service update blog post.

“Recent new features include Spotify Running, which matches the BPM of your music to the pace of your run, or the new Discover Weekly feature, which curates a weekly playlist based on your tastes.”

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