Some users of Spotify’s ‘pre-save’ feature are agreeing to a lot more than they realize when adding new songs and albums to their library.
Billboard reports that record companies are burying some intimate permissions into Spotify’s pre-save feature, which allows users to add an album to their library the moment it’s released.
Among those requests are access to a users’ email, listening habits, followers, saved songs, and perhaps most notably, a ‘read-and-write’ type privilege to add or remove library songs and artists as well as create playlists on one’s account.
Aside from permission to add to a user’s library there is no apparent need for company’s to ask for access to emails or other personal information.
While all account access must technically be consented, Billboard points out that in order for users to review the level of permission they’re granting labels, they have to read through a list of terms after pressing a ‘learn more’ button.
As is the case with most ‘terms of service’ agreements, many are likely to skip such literature altogether and go straight to saving their songs.
Though the data gathering is perfectly legal, for some people, somewhat under-the-radar collections on their accounts may ruffle feathers.
Sony is reportedly the most aggressive of the record companies using Spotify to scrape listener data, requesting 10 different permissions before users pre-save.
Like other efforts to harvest user data, record labels can use listener data to target music or in potentially, in some cases, sell their information on listener habits to marketing and advertising agencies.
Record labels aren’t alone in the efforts to scrape up user data: sometimes artists are getting in on the collection, reports Billboard.
Ingrid Michaelson asks for 12 permissions requests to pre-save her newest album which includes access to account information and privileges to edit a user’s personal playlist.
In some cases, users are being signed up automatically for emails from artists without ever requesting.
The previously unreported practice of collecting data and sometimes altering users’ experiences in Spotify is seemingly under little scrutiny from the company. There are reportedly no rules or regulations on what companies can do with the data gleaned in their efforts.
Apple Music, Spotify’s biggest competitor, which has been working to crack the app’s dominance in the streaming market does not share identifying information on its users but does let third parties look at user libraries and listening data.