Leaving Spotify because of forced Facebook authorization
I finally cancelled my Spotify subscription. When Spotify launched in Germany I was excited about it, as the company initially offered a great service that would finally allow me to get away from the stupid “I own music files on my hard disk” model. It also seemed modern and open to engage with it’s users to improve further. Obviously, that was a false impression.
I was surprised when the option to log in directly to Spotify was not available anymore, and I was forced to authorize Facebook to look into my usage data. Being critical of Facebook’s attitude towards my data in general, I signed up, and then contacted Spotify’s customer support requesting to get a real login that allows me to de-authorize Facebook again. My initial request was ignored, and then answered with a bland “if this is still a problem, please get in touch again” (without Spotify actually responding or even processing the actual request). When I responded and insisted on a real login, the answer was (directly translated from German):
“Since most of our users are already connected with Facebook, we have decided to integrate Spotify and Facebook logins. We are trying to strengthen our social functions, and by integrating Facebook logins we tried to create a simple and seamless social experience.”
While that is all nice and sounds smooth, what it really says is “We do not want to offer our users an opt-out way that gives them control over their own usage data.” Problem is, music or artistic preferences and tastes are a highly personal thing. For me, and many others I know, it is not something I feel one of the biggest advertising company in the world should know about. On top of that, there is the ongoing argument over the royalties Spotify pays to artists (the actual creative beings behind the music I listen to) being rather low. I hope for the current dominance of distributors over the the music scenes to be killed by the competitive forces of the internet, peer production and self-publication, and I do not want Spotify to replace this old strangle hold with a new one.
Well then, Spotify, if you do not listen to your customers or care for their right to privacy, good bye and fare well. Good thing that there is competition. Welcome, Simfy. They also have Metallica on board, which makes their offering infinitely better anyway.
Update: As some have pointed out, just a week ago Spotify decided to lift the requirement to have a Facebook account. Well, this post has been edited for a while. After the whole experience with Spotify, I still have no inclination to return as a customer.