Spotify Sharing User Activity Data With Music Labels: Report

Despite being legal, it raises questions on Spotify's transparency and security.

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Spotify Sharing User Activity Data With Music Labels: Report
Highlights
  • Users who 'pre-save' an upcoming release are asked to share data
  • Spotify has reportedly made it difficult to see the extent of permissions
  • Apple Music does not share any identifying information

Swedish music streaming giant Spotify is reportedly sharing personal information of users who pre-save music on the app with content labels.

According to a Billboard.com report, users who "pre-save" an upcoming release on their accounts may be sharing more personal data with the act's label than they know.

Music labels on the music streaming app sometimes ask for permission to track user information about their accounts and listening habits, email addresses, recent play history, abilities to manage add and remove library items and create playlists.

This, despite being legal, raises questions on Spotify's transparency and security.

"Spotify users who, for example, tried to pre-save the Little Mix single 'Bounce Back' from links shared by the act or its label -- Sony Music, were prompted to agree that Spotify could allow Sony to 'view your Spotify account data', 'view your activity on Spotify' and 'take actions in Spotify on your behalf'," claimed the report on Thursday.

To let users pre-save upcoming albums, labels do need a certain amount of access to user accounts, but the music streaming giant has made it difficult to see the extent of permissions that labels ask for.

In addition, the company has not even taken actions to restrict the kind of information third parties can request from users -- or what they can potentially do with it.

The Swedish app that came to India earlier this year was yet to comment on the matter.

It is pertinent to note that Spotify's rival Apple Music does not share any identifying information on subscribers keeping in line with its approach to user privacy.

Earlier in April, Spotify crossed the 100 million global premium users mark and announced that the service reached the milestone by growing paid subscribers by 32-percent year-on-year. Including the free subscribers, the app has a total of 217 million monthly active users worldwide.

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Further reading: Spotify, Sony Music
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