Spotify Privacy Policy: 5 Things Users Need to Know

The new Spotify privacy policy outlines access to your photos, contacts, GPS location and more — which left users frustrated, angry and threatening to quit.

Spotify’s changes come as increased competition from Apple Music is in place and iOS 9 promises to do very interesting things with voice control and location based cues for Apple Music playlists and actions this fall.

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After an uproar over the Spotify privacy policy changes the Spotify CEO took to the company blog to outline the changes, but they did not retract the changes.

Find out why user are angry about the new Spotify Privacy Policy. Denys Prykhodov / Shutterstock.com

Find out why user are angry about the new Spotify Privacy Policy. Denys Prykhodov / Shutterstock.com

Here are the essential details you need to know about the Spotify privacy policy that many users are upset about, including what — if anything — you can do about it.

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Why Are People Mad About the Spotify Privacy Policy?

Spotify started trending on social media after users noticed changes to the privacy policy that outlined options to use personal information. Here are the important changes.

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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.

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).

The Spotify privacy policy does not outline the specific reasons for all this data collection, but the speed of your movements is required for the recent Spotify Running feature.

People are angry about the new Spotify Privacy Policy.

People are angry about the new Spotify Privacy Policy.

Can You Use Spotify Without Agreeing to the Policy?

If you don’t like the Spotify Privacy Policy there is not much you can do. It’s clear that you cannot continue to use Spotify. The policy explicitly states,

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“If you don’t agree with the terms of this Privacy Policy, then please don’t use the Service.”

This is why some users are quitting the service and telling the world about their decision.

People are Quitting Spotify

On Twitter the hashtag #QuitSpotify is among several variants from users who are complaining to the company on social media and quitting the service.

Spotify Explains Why it Wants Your Data

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek took to the company blog to explain the changes to the Spotify Privacy Policy. Ek apologized for the confusion over the policy, but not for the actual changes. In the post the CEO outlines why Spotify wants to collect this information.

Photos: We will never access your photos without explicit permission and we will never scan or import your photo library or camera roll. If you give us permission to access photos, we will only use or access images that you specifically choose to share. Those photos would only be used in ways you choose and control – to create personalized cover art for a playlist or to change your profile image, for example.

Location: We will never gather or use the location of your mobile device without your explicit permission. We would use it to help personalize recommendations or to keep you up to date about music trending in your area. And if you choose to share location information but later change your mind, you will always have the ability to stop sharing.

Voice: We will never access your microphone without your permission. Many people like to use Spotify in a hands-free way, and we may build voice controls into future versions of the product that will allow you to skip tracks, or pause, or otherwise navigate the app. You will always have the ability to disable voice controls.

Contacts: We will never scan or import your contacts without your permission. Spotify is a social platform and many people like to share playlists and music they discover with their friends. In the future, we may want to give you the ability to find your friends on Spotify by searching for Spotify users in your contacts if you choose to do that.

Sharing: The Privacy Policy also mentions advertisers, rights holders and mobile networks. This is not new. With regard to mobile networks, some Spotify subscribers sign up through their mobile provider, which means some information is shared with them by necessity. 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.

Ek promises an update to the privacy policy in the coming weeks and invites feedback sent to [email protected]

You Can Limit Spotify Sharing Your Data

Although you cannot opt out of the new Spotify Privacy Policy, you can limit the data that is shared with third-parties. To be clear Spotify will collect you data as outlined above, but it will not go to third parties, even in a de-identified state.

Go to your Spotify profile and uncheck, “Yes, share my information with third parties,” at the bottom and then choose Save Profile.

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