back to article Spotify climbs down on new terms and conditions

Spotify will clarify its position on its wide-reaching terms and conditions. In a post entitled “SORRY”, company founder Daniel Ek said: “We have heard your concerns loud and clear. We are also going to update the new Privacy Policy in the coming weeks.” In the post, Ek paints it as a misunderstanding of what Spotify was …

  1. Shades

    I don't see what the big deal is? Yes, they could have been a little bit more transparent about why they wanted the permissions in the first place, but at least they do have reasons for requiring the permissions. Unlike a gazillion other entirely pointless apps that require every permission they are capable of which morons still download just to hear fart noises!

    By morons I don't mean the average El Reg reader, just the cretins who live on Facebook, think Flock Stars is good entertainment and send game request after game request for the latest "must play" PoS game! You know the type.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes exactly the same for a service used by millions of people, stock exchange registered and shareholder owned as an app made by a script-kiddie in his basement.

      In reality the script kiddie is probably just trying to invade you privacy to sell the data on to advertisers, the same as Spotify is, so in reality not much difference.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I don't see what the big deal is?

      I think you ought to try leaving your cave more often...

    3. g00se
      Thumb Down

      I don't see what the big deal is

      You do realise you're giving them permission to increase your electricity bill, don't you? Whose cpu cycles do you think they're using to mine your data?

    4. Stuart Castle Silver badge

      "I don't see what the big deal is? Yes, they could have been a little bit more transparent about why they wanted the permissions in the first place"

      Personally, I'd be interested to find out why they need access to my friends' phone numbers and my photos.

  2. Vimes

    When I turned down the new policy, the message told me I could only use the service for up to 30 days before either agreeing or cancelling my account.

    Will this 'clarification' come within that time period, or will I have to agree to this privacy policy first *before* it's updated?

    1. Vimes

      This just gets better and better...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Smoke screen

    Don't trust them. Microsoft tried the draconian shit with the Xbone and took flak. Now they put out something much worst on the main PC and muppets agree with it. This is Spotify's sacrificial lamb. Give it 6 months and all the shit and more will return with no drama. People have short memories.

  4. Mystic Megabyte

    Done before?

    Didn't Coca-Cola try changing the winning formula?

    Over on the BBC they report, "Minecraft creator Markus Persson, aka Notch, tweeted to his 2.4m followers that he has cancelled his account."

    I bet that heads will roll.

  5. Leeroy Silver badge

    By permission

    I guess they mean the bit that shows up before you click install.

  6. Vimes

    Interesting that they expect people to pay for the service *and* still have their information shared with advertisers.

    At least with the likes of Facebook they're getting all of their funding from the advertisers so their need is easier to justify. Why should I be paying for this if I still get shafted in that way?

    1. Triggerfish


      It seems to be the current thing.

      Smart TVs

      Win 10


    2. h4rm0ny

      I used to have a paid Spotify account - "Premier" or whatever it was called. I cancelled it when they started really pushing Facebook-integration and playlist sharing.

      If they want to advertise to free users, that's up to them. But they don't get to treat my data as some sort of bonus on top of my subscription payments. So goodbye to them. I find it hard to imagine they make more money from advertisers per user than the subscription fee so their loss. These days I just buy the MP3's and on-balance, I think I actually save money that way with the range of music I listen to.

      1. Vimes

        Interesting that when they ask me why I'm cancelling, the form has a set of radio buttons with one for each reason but there isn't a choice for 'unacceptable terms and conditions' or anything remotely close to that. I had to choose 'other'.

  7. Mike Flugennock

    The hemming and hawing, IT BURRRRRNSSSS

    "We should have a better job..."

    "We understand people's concerns..."

    Oh, cut the crap. You did a GREAT job of communicating what your policies mean. Quit jerking us around.

    Man, I'm so goddamn' glad I didnt fall for the streaming hype. CDs and locally-stored mp3's FTW.

  8. Vimes

    'We also share some data with our partners who help us with marketing and advertising efforts, but this information is de-identified – your personal information is not shared with them.'

    de-identified != anonymised?

    Is this really the big concession it's been made out to be?

    And I pay for my subscription, so what they hell are they doing sharing my details with advertisers - 'de-identified' or not?

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Why do you think they want to share the information with advertisers? It's not from the bottom of their black hearts although "bottom" is one of the two words in the reason.

  9. Martijn Otto

    "Spotify is a social platform"

    No it's not, it's really not. However much you may want it to be, it's a music streaming service that has some social cruft bolted onto it.

    1. Dwarf Silver badge

      Re: "Spotify is a social platform"

      Don't know about the rest, but when I'm sitting there with my headphones in, I'm definitely not being sociable, probably I'm trying to drown out the other noise, so don't give me different noise ..

  10. LDS Silver badge

    Another case of "We tried to push it down your throat without you noticing..."

    "... but this time it didn't worked. Please accept our apology while we look for another way to achieve the same."

  11. David Nash

    "Spotify is a social platform"

    Why do they want it to be social? Why do they bother with the facebook integration and all the sharing stuff? Do they see it as a feature that people like (and therefore a selling point), or is it just for their own nefarious (ie. advertising) reasons?

    Personally I have no interest in sharing what I am listening to. At least not on the scale they seem to think.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: "Spotify is a social platform"

      It's not a social platform, it's streaming radio. People either listen to adverts for free or subscribe to not listen to them... anything else and they're getting ideas above their station, certainly if they think they've got a right to upload people's photos and contacts.

      (station... did you see what I did?)

  12. Lewis Burgess

    Hello Deezer.

    Now if you could just make your Mac client a bit better so I don't have to use the browser version for new releases, mixes etc. Means needing a 3rd party plugin to change tracks for the browser version.

    Anyway, see ya Spotify. You're the king of streaming music, but account cancelled, playlists migrated and app removed. Shame.

    Either this was a BIIIIIG mistake or the cat is out of the bag (and back-pedalling). Either way, meh.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Stick with the browser and the plug-in (I hope you mean add-on not NPAPI plug-in), who knows what the desktop client is up to.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All they will do is collect the data anyway then slowly but surely and under the radar they will add each and every one of the terms nice and slow or they will just pass the data to a subsidiary that will run an app that collects all the information they want and claim it came from that app and not spotify.

    There are a million ways around this, does anyone think for one second they are going back on their business plan because they might upset their users? A climbdown to appease the users I expect but change of plan, not a chance. You wouldn't put the terms in place unless you already had it set up to collect the data,

  14. Dwarf Silver badge

    I wonder how

    I wonder how you get your money back when it's forced into your monthly mobile phone bill as a mandatory 'freebie'.

    Cancelling is one thing, but getting your money back is another.

    I thought the benefit of premium was that it didn't have this sort of marketing tie in. Adverts are adverts irrespective of how they are shoved down your throat.

    Will be sorry to see it go as its half handy, but I can always go back to the old ways of listening to music.

    1. King Jack

      An old but well used trick

      'I thought the benefit of premium was that it didn't have this sort of marketing tie in'

      SKY tv have a subscription and has been advertising to it's customers for years. Looks like someone a Spotify noticed that the average person is thick and decided it want in on the action too.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    but I don't *want* to

    I cancelled my subscription to Spotify today, and requested the account deleted after many years as a user, both so-called 'freemium' and paid.

    This statement comes literally as the account has just been sent on its final journey around the u-bend.

    I'm sad to see it go, but here's the thing: I don't care how many fine-grain controls you give me to control what data of mine goes where - the point is, **I don't want you to siphon it at all**

    Spotify, you are a music service. I wish to pay you money in exchange, for...well, music. And that's about as complex as the relationship need get, but there you were saying my money wasn't good enough. Instead, you want levels of access to my devices I wouldn't let my friends have, and hey - you haven't even bought me dinner.

    Alas, this was the wafer thin mint moment that has finally made me snap after having to go to inordinate lengths to stop Windows 10 from peering in through the bathroom window when I take a shower. In this case, I just can't fathom that Spotify should need this level of data from me - in addition to my money - any more than I can my toaster needing it to gauge my reaction to crumpets and send the data to Warburton's.

    The functional equivalence is the same - service. You take what you need as far as I am concerned - that's payment and address and that's your lot.

    See, the thing is, vendors now bake-in so many ways to accidentally enable stuff that unless you have time to monitor all this crap, it's too easy to start sharing stuff you never intended to. And time is not something I have a lot of - I just want to switch on and play.

    What a pity - it may well shake out ultimately as Spotify's PR team dayus horribilus, but it's too late here. I don't know if Deezer is any better, but I am going to give it a go.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: but I don't *want* to

      >>I don't know if Deezer is any better, but I am going to give it a go.

      Hard to say whether they're actually good in practice without trying the software, but they at least appear to allow a choice in the matter.

  16. Mark Allen

    Selling my details

    I get frustrated with companies like Faceboook, Spotify, Twatter as they are busy selling my personal details and connecting me up with people on their networks even though I have never accepted any of their Ts and Cs.

    I've never been on any of these networks, but due to my job I have my personal contact details in many many people's phones and email contact lists. Which means when my clients join these Social Advertising Networks they are passing on *my* personal details without asking *my* permission.

    It is a little scary at times thinking of the web of connections these advertisers have about me!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Selling my details

      Can you use the "right to be forgotten" law to get them to delete your information.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Selling my details


  17. Chris G Silver badge

    Monetising, the new black.

    Now the world, his wife, dog and bloody kids all want to monetise your data.

    Your location, activity on the net and off,your social status,contacts, friends, married status, health, health issues, etc etc etc.

    Now who could possibly bring all of those things together and monetise them without giving a shit about you clicking on the Ts&Cs?

    Why NSA Inc or GCHQ Ltd,cough up your data or pay more tax.

  18. Jason Hindle

    I'll be keeping an eye on that

    I pay Spotify the almost a tenner a month so I can discover new music; not so they can invade my privacy and steal my data.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, they pretty much pulled a Ratners' here.

    You don't do this stuff overnight. They must have had many sessions with planners, lawyers and system architects to implement this, and all the while I suspect accountants were already counting the money they would make from monetising even the paying customers.

    It is either the height of arrogance or the height of stupidity (or both) that they failed to check with their user base if that was a palatable idea, so I'm really not feeling sorry for them now they got shot down.

    I suspect they must have watched in horror as site utilisation nosedived and account cancellations came flooding in, and the worst part is that it's not going to be that reversible. They went so far overboard in their user detail grabbing plans that nobody trusts them not to sneak it in through the backdoor, especially after they tried to give the users no choice but forgot that cancellation is an option too.

    I'm sure there will be many who stick around due to inertia, but people who have started to care about privacy are IMHO not likely to trust them again, and as most of these people have already been researching alternatives I suspect they won't be coming back. Even if they don't change terms at all, they have destroyed trust in their service which may not return.

    And neither will those users.

  20. Mitoo Bobsworth

    Never used Spotify...

    ... & now I never will.

    1. Hollerith 1

      Re: Never used Spotify...

      Yep. Every once in a while a friend would enthuse and I'd look at it again, ponder, and decide, 'nope'. And now I won't have to ponder. If I want to hear music, there are lots of online radio stations, and I just need to jot down the name of tracks I like and go buy.

      1. F0rdPrefect

        Re: Never used Spotify...

        Use and they have their playlist on their website and on twitter, if that's your thing.

        Listener supported radio, by voluntary donation!

        With a wide selection of music.

  21. jtaylor

    Not just social information

    As written, if you agree to Spotify's new contract, you give permission for Spotify to "collect information stored on your mobile device, such as [but not exclusively]...."

    "3.3 Information Stored on Your Mobile Device

    With your permission, we may collect information stored on your mobile device, such as contacts, photos, or media files."

    That's rather more broad than just contacts. "Media files" could be...any file (they don't say which media). They also chose the open-ended "such as" instead of a bounded phrase like "possibly including." "With your permission?" This is a contract. None of it is binding without your permission. Or as they put it "If you don't agree with the terms of this Privacy Policy, then please don't use the Service."

    Okay, but what can they do with the data they might snaffle off your device? "YOU EXPRESSLY AUTHORISE SPOTIFY TO USE AND SHARE WITH OTHER COMPANIES IN THE SPOTIFY GROUP, AS WELL AS CERTAIN TRUSTED BUSINESS PARTNERS AND SERVICE PROVIDERS...." Also to law enforcement, to protect Spotify, for academic use, for information about the service, or as an asset to be sold. (Section 5.2.5)

    That's pretty much whatever they want, then.

    Spotify can finally tell us what songs are most popular during Uber's Rides Of Glory

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Was not really using it so decided to close the account.

    Too many steps, process more like a bank account than a streaming radio service.

    Worse than facebook (or at least how it was when I left that).

    Glad to be free of it and that domain is now in my web filter.

  23. Steve Graham


    Since we're beating up Spotify, did you know that their streaming works by peer-to-peer sharing? (The Windows desktop client anyway.) So they're using YOUR bandwidth and cpu cycles to send music to other users.

    I was trying out the software one day and noticed about 40 outgoing connections, with IP addresses that resolved to home broadband links all over Europe.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: peer-to-peer

      Wow. That one needs a little more publicizing - I had no idea it did that. That could be especially bad in a work context but either way is not in. Maybe they should be paying their users instead of the other way around, given all we're finding out about them.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: peer-to-peer

        In a work context *any* streaming service is bad - and good places or blocks them or puts proper QoS rules to block them when revenue-generating traffic needs the bandwidth...

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: peer-to-peer

      Now that is pure gold.

      Not only do they make you pay for their "service", but they also force you to use your bandwidth to stream data to other users that they con into paying for the "service" and doing the same, meaning Spotify uses that much less in bandwidth, thus lowering their costs.

      Seriously machiavellic. Hats off, that really takes the cake.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: peer-to-peer

      Do they still do this? Looks like they *did* work this way, but not any more:

  24. Frank N. Stein

    Never had any need for a streaming music service. Spotify can keep it.

  25. Wintermute

    Apology without changing the new T&Cs: So much hot air?

    Which will the law consider valid, a blog post apology or the agreed-to terms and conditions?

  26. short

    I've asked whether their revised terms will be published before my 30 days is up. That 'sorry' blog post is simply an irrelevance.

  27. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Word is bond, and the T&Cs are the word

    "I don't see what the big deal is? Yes, they could have been a little bit more transparent about why they wanted the permissions in the first place, but at least they do have reasons for requiring the permissions"

    The big deal is, the T&Cs appear to allow them to collect any and all information off the phone, for any reason (or for no reason at all) and to give this data to whoever they want for any reason (or, again, for no reason at all.) It literally doesn't matter what someone at the company claims the intent was, word is bond and the T&Cs are the word. If they had intended for less data to be used for a more limited purpose, they can state more limited data collection and usage in the T&Cs.

    To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if everyone at Spotify didn't have the best of intentions, and just ended up with an overly broad data use T&Cs. But that's the problem, lets say for sake of argument Spotify goes evil in a year. With T&Cs that allow for limited data collection for limited purposes, you'll get a warning something has gone wrong when "evil Spotify" has to update it's T&Cs. With T&Cs already allowing unlimited data collection for any purpose and a vague assurance that there's not too much data actually being collected, you'll get no warning, "evil Spotify" already has T&Cs letting them do whatever they want and can freely ignore whatever assurances they gave previously.

    If you're saying "I don't see what the big deal is?" because you don't care one bit about your privacy.. I have nothing to to say in response, except you'll probably regret giving away your privacy sooner or later.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is what happens when you mix lawyers and accountants with a good product

    See title.

    Can anyone thing when the presence of lawyers and accountants have ever made anything better for anyone other than lawyers and accountants? Because I can't.

  29. DerekCurrie

    Déjà vu much?

    The usual human lesson: Act like a sheep and you're dinner. Act like a wolf, and the attacking wolves will back down. (o_0)

  30. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Sorry !

    Man, the subscription bleed must be torrential to be that fast to post an apology.

    They've basically done a hatchet job on their own user base, and now it's the perfect time to panic.

    Well I say good. Go ahead and panic, I hope you go down anyways.

  31. cookieMonster

    Canceled today

    goodbye Spotispy...

    I'll give Deezer a chance, but any hint of this type of dicking around and I'll be off again. . . .

  32. croc

    Idiots... They tried to 'go for gold' in one huge grab, generating several huge headlines along the way. They should have learned from Facebook ("They trust me. Dumb fucks.") and only made small grabs to eventually reach their goal. But since they didn't (and have now telegraphed their whole future agenda to the world at large, WRIT LARGE) they will now have to pull their horns back in for a few months - at least. THEN they can go the timeless proven way to acheiving their privacy-busting goals, one small step at a time.

    Hire some better psychanalytical types this time, OK?

    1. Trygve

      "They tried to 'go for gold' in one huge grab, generating several huge headlines along the way. They should have learned from Facebook ("They trust me. Dumb fucks.") and only made small grabs to eventually reach their goal."

      They tried to 'go for break-even' more like. Last year revenue grew by 45% to €1BN and net (not operating) losses grew by 190% to €162MM. Their total subscription revenue doesn't even cover royalty and distribution costs. Just how long do you think they will be around to make 'small grabs' when they lose 16 cents on every euro they earn and every added listener puts them in a worse position?

      It amazes me the number of people who think Spotify is some amazing business innovation that will be the next Apple, Google or Facebook when it's actually shaping up to be the next

  33. Kinetic

    Subscription Cancelled

    Sorry, don't believe anything you say Spotify. The chances of the wording on a legal notice getting through a large organisation without it being endlessly worked over is nil. You knew what you were saying and meant it. You got caught, now watch your platform burn. Maybe the next organisation will think twice before shafting it's paying customers? Probably not, they all seem to be greedy idiots.

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