There's a social media storm brewing over Spotify's forthcoming changes to the data it collects from users' smartphones and other devices.

If you've been enjoying Spotify's new Running feature, which matches the BPM of the music you are listening to with your pace, or the Discover Weekly playlist tailored to your musical taste, then the music streaming service has more improvements in store for you.

But there's a catch: the company is updating its terms and conditions and privacy policy to allow it to gather more personal data from your smartphone or tablet, such as pictures, phone numbers, sensor data and social media activity.

"The data we access simply helps us to tailor improved experiences to our users, and build new and personalised products for the future," Spotify says in a blog on its website.

The changes to its Privacy Policy, which will be rolled out in the coming weeks, include this sentence: "We may ask for customer permission to collect information from new sources, such as address book, location and sensor data from the mobile device to improve the customer experience and inform product decisions."

This might have gone unnoticed if Minecraft creator Markus Persson, aka Notch, hadn't told his 2.4 million followers on Twitter that he had cancelled his account because of the changes. Persson then had an angry exchange online with Spotify founder Danel Ek.

More after the break

Ek has since posted a blog on the Spotify website in an effort to clarify the changes and reassure users: "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. 

"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," Ek said.

Is this just a storm in a teacup? Or will the changes make you cancel your Spotify account? Let us know what you think in the Comments box below.

MORE: Read our full Spotify review

MORE: Best music streaming services 2015



Sliced Bread's picture

How exactly does accessing

How exactly does accessing private pictures and address books help improve the Spotify experience.

Maybe the push I need to move on to a lossless service me thinks.

Big Aura's picture

Is it a "one off" request or

Is it a "one off" request or will they ask clearly and unabiguously each time they want to harvest personal data and be clear of the reasons for the same?

I expect there'll be a box to accept/decline with a breezily worded question:

"Spotify would like to enhance your user experience to make our systems work better for you!! To do so, we may need to access some info from your device -  "ACCEPTsmiley" / "declinefrown".  

Most people will click "accept" unwittingly.  Woeful abuse of trust - app makers should actually go out of their way to minimise footfall in your private life.  I'd prefer my "user experience" a little less optimised any my personal and private life sacrosanct.  Was contemplating switching over from Deezer as the user interface is lacking, but this story has prompted me to stay with Deezer.

Mark Rose-Smith's picture

Apple music looks more

Apple music looks more enticing by the day. Just need a connect app via apple tv or amazon fire tv box. 

Mac's picture

spotify/ Spieify

A lot could be said here, but to get to the point.

GOODBYE Spotify!

junior0610's picture


I get the feeling there scared of being left behind, as some of there competetors have access to this information already and its going to harm there dominance. If you have a facebook account you're already giving up this information, not that im saying its right or agree with it, im just looking at it from a different angle.