If you saved Drake and Chris Brown's "No Guidance" to a Spotify playlist before the track's release, you may have unknowingly given Sony the ability to upload images to your profile. If you added Little Mix's "Bounce Back," you gave the label access to take actions in your account on your behalf. This isn't a hack—the terms of Spotify's pre-save feature is to blame.
Pre-saving a song on Spotify may divulge a lot of data about users to record labels—at least more data than usual, says a recent Billboard report. Spotify's pre-save feature lets users save certain songs to their library in advance of the track's release. For record labels, pre-saving tends to boost week-one listening numbers for new music.
The amount of data a Spotify user may hand over to a label varies, Billboard notes, but labels are able to track what users listen to as well as remotely control what songs a user streams and even change which artist a user follows.
According to Billboard, Sony's label, Sony Music, was one of the worst offenders. Spotify users who attempted to pre-save a Sony song could "allow Sony to 'view your Spotify account data,' 'view your activity on Spotify' and 'take actions in Spotify on your behalf,'" the article said. These permissions aren't readily apparent to the user, requiring a Spotify customer to drill down into numerous menus.
The policy is just the latest way in Spotify continuing to find ways to monetize its users' data, despite its 100 million paying subscribers.
More recently, in May of this year, the Washington Post revealed that Spotify, along with many other popular apps, passes along personal info found on a user's iPhone to third-party companies if they have the "background refresh" setting turned on.
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