Spotify has updated its privacy policy — and the proverbial poop is already hitting the fan.

A number of high profile Spotify users have said publicly they are cancelling their subscriptions because they cannot live with the changes, which include the music service accessing a user’s pictures, the phone numbers of a person’s contacts and user’s social media activity for those who opt-in.

Spotify, in a press release, said the data it accesses will help it to “tailor improved experiences to our users, and build new and personalized products for the future.”

Screen Shot 2015-08-21 at 10.52.17 AMNot everyone agrees, however.

Minecraft creator Markus Persson tweeted that he has cancelled his account and called Spotify “evil.”

“Hello. As a consumer, I’ve always loved your service,” Persson tweeted. “You’re the reason I stopped pirating music. Please consider not being evil.”

There are three main changes to Spotify’s policy that have users up in arms. Here they are as written on the firm’s terms and conditions page:

  1. With your permission, we may collect information stored on your mobile device, such as contacts, photos, or media files. Local law may require that you seek the consent of your contacts to provide their personal information to Spotify, which may use that information for the purposes specified in this Privacy Policy.
  2. 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).
  3. You may integrate your Spotify account with Third Party Applications. If you do, we may receive similar information related to your interactions with the Service on the Third Party Application, as well as information about your publicly available activity on the Third Party Application. This includes, for example, your “Like”s and posts on Facebook. We may use cookies and other technologies to collect this information; you can learn more about such use in the section Information about cookies, other technologies, and third-party data collection of this Privacy Policy.

“We are constantly innovating and evolving our service to deliver the best possible experience for our users,” Spotify said in a statement, adding that “the privacy and security of our customers’ data is – and will remain – Spotify’s highest priority. We will always ask for individual permission or clearly inform you of the ability to opt out from sharing location, photos, voice and contacts.”

Spotify’s assurances are not enough, however, to keep people from cancelling their memberships and tweeting about their outrage.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek penned a blog post in an attempt to both explain the policy and pacify its users, saying “we have heard your concerns loud and clear.”

“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,” he wrote. “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 also promised that Spotify would not:

  • Access users’ photos without explicit permission and would never scan or import their photo library or camera roll.
  • Gather or use the location of users’ mobile devices without explicit permission.
  • Access users’ microphones without permission.
  • Scan or import users’ contacts without permission.

Are Spotify’s policies really any different from any other online service? There are, unfortunately, many tech and entertainment companies with similar policies.

What are your thoughts? Is Spotify evil? Or is it no different from every other company out there?


Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.

The post Spotify on the Defensive After Policy Changes Have Users Up In Arms appeared first on SiteProNews.