What does Spotify know about me?

3 min
Tags: Spotify streaming service data collection data hunter Music streaming

What does Spotify know about me?

With over 489 million active users (as of Dec. 2022), Spotify is the world's most successful music streaming service. But hardly any music lover thinks about what data Spotify collects, evaluates and passes on when turning on their favorite playlist. The fact is that the Swedish company knows more about its users than they might like.

Spotify: streaming service with data collection mania

Rock, pop, rap or classic: Spotify provides its users with over 80 million songs. It is clear to everyone that a personalized playlist and automatically generated music suggestions are only possible if the streaming top dog has previously recognized and saved individual preferences of the users.

Only very few music lovers are aware that Spotify acts like a data hunter and can create entire user profiles from the existing data material. The data collection frenzy even goes so far that Spotify posts on Facebook who prefers which artists if you have logged into the streaming service with your own Facebook account.

Automatic data collection

Spotify differentiates between two different types of data collection. Basic data such as email address, address, name, gender, date of birth and bank details are automatically stored without the consent of the user. In addition, there are technical data such as the IP address, the operating system, the browser type and the device type with which the music is accessed.

Interactions are also recorded automatically. The Swedish company knows who listens to which songs when, which playlists are called up how often, what interaction there is with other users, and which advertisements are clicked on.

Optional data collection

Spotify's optional data collection requires active user consent. The company advertises this option with an "improved experience for users". This data includes, among other things, the app's access to microphone, photos, and contact lists, as well as the determination of the exact location.

The data gathering frenzy becomes explosive when music lovers log into the streaming service with their own Facebook account. In this case, Spotify gets access to the names and profile pictures of the friends, the address stored there, the date of birth, the country of origin, the user name including password and much more.

Passing on data

Spotify by no means uses the collected user data only to make music suggestions and to facilitate the creation of a playlist. In anonymized form, the data is passed on to advertising partners and rights holders in the music industry. Service providers who help the Swedish company with the evaluation also get access to entire data packages. Since Spotify sees itself as a large community, data in the profile and other content is also visible to other users.

Privacy protection with Spotify: How does it work?

Anyone who uses Spotify should be particularly sensitive to the protection of privacy. Users can already keep a few things in mind when registering. Our tip: Do not check the box "Share my registration data with Spotify content providers for marketing purposes".

Furthermore, there is the possibility to make some changes in the settings. There you can set that the most listened artists are no longer displayed in the profile and are therefore no longer visible to other users.

The optimal way to protect your privacy is not to log in via Facebook. However, you still have the option to cut the connection between Spotify and the social network later. If you use the streaming service with your smartphone, you should deny access to the camera and address book, if that is possible with the phone.

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