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Spotify Compatible Devices site
Type Online Radio
Launch Date 2006 [1]
Status Active
Product Line Spotify
Platform Cloud Service, iOS App, Android, Windows, Mac OS X

Spotify, formally known as Spotify Technologies (NYSE: SPOT), is an online music streaming service that enables users to listen to full-length tracks from a variety of major record labels and artists. Founded in 2006 in Sweden and later launched in 2008, Spotify garnered a following and eventually launched in the United States in July of 2011, partnering with Sony Music Entertainment, EMI Group, Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, Merlin Network, and The Orchard. Spotify was designed primarily as a desktop application, similar to Apple Inc.'s iTunes in terms of functionality, but also provides mobile application support for iOS and Android devices. Spotify is a freemium service that allows its users to listen to full-length tracks or create music playlists without individual purchase. Users can also view their Facebook friends' playlists and share their own playlists.[2] The platform itself has presented ethical dilemmas regarding non-transparency of terms and conditions as well as a data breach that exposed the personal information of millions of users.


Spotify was founded in April 2006 by Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon in Stockholm, Sweden. The website was launched for public access on October 7th, 2008. Select users were given free accounts and could invite a limited number of other users to create accounts. The general public in the United Kingdom could open accounts, specified as Spotify Open accounts, without invitations beginning in February 2009. However, due to the unanticipated surge in new accounts, Spotify had to limit registration to "by invitation only" again. On April 14th, 2011, Spotify announced a change in the amount of music Spotify Open and Spotify Free users could stream, where Spotify Free users were able to stream unlimited hours of music for the first six months of their membership.[3] Spotify was not launched in the United States until July 14, 2011, and now requires new users to sync their account with their Facebook account.[1] Spotify is also available as a downloadable app for iPhone and Android mobile access. Spotify was valued at $1 billion in February 2011 and rose to $3 billion by November 2012.[4][5] In December 2012, Spotify had 20 million users, of which 5 million were paying users. Of these paying users, 1 million were located in the United States[6] Throughout the 65 markets Spotify is available in worldwide, the app has cumulated approximately 71 million subscribers and 157 million active users as of December 31, 2017.[7]

Daniel Ek, co-founder and chief executive of Spotify

Upon Spotify's first release, users were offered a six-month free trial period that was sponsored by visual and radio advertisements that appeared on the website screen. After the trial period expired, users had the ability to listen to music for up to 2.5 hours per week, with up to 10 hours of total listening time allowed per month. Now, Spotify offers unlimited streaming services with advertisements for nonpaying members. Spotify offers a premium subscription called "Spotify Premium," which allows users to listen to music offline on their mobile device after they download it and stream it with higher bit depth and eliminates advertisements. Spotify users can browse Spotify's 20 million songs by genre, record label, playlist, album, artist or song.[2] In June 2015, Spotify was valued at over 8 billion dollars.[8] On April 3, 2018, Spotify eschewed a traditional initial public offering, instead choosing to directly list on the New York Stock Exchange. By the end of the day, the stock was valued at $149.01, earning Spotify a valuation of $26.5 billion.[9] "Spotify ended its first day of trading at $149.01 a share, according to FactSet data. That was down nearly $17 from from the stock's first trade at $165.90 but above the reference price set Monday by NYSE of $132 a share. With a market value of more than $25 billion, Spotify will rank as one of the largest tech IPOs on record, according to Dealogic [10]."


Spotify emerged in the music streaming marketplace earlier than other streaming services, but has seen significant, growing competition from other providers since then.

Apple Music

The owner of iTunes, Apple, launched its own streaming service of Apple Music in June 2015. [11] The platform has the advantage of being pre-installed on every iOS device, making the barrier to entry easier for iPhone and iPod users. Apple Music included a radio station DJ'd by Zane Lowe, the renowned BBC DJ, and contained exclusives based on agreements with artists.[12] Apple Music comes with a 3-month free trial before users are prompted to pay $9.99 per month [13]. With decreasing sales of the iPhone, Apple Music is seen as a revenue opportunity for Apple with its 36 million paid subscribers [14]. Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi [[6]] estimated that in 2017, Apple Music revenue increased by 91% [14].

Apple music matches Spotify on price and reserves default functionality on iOS devices.


Tidal is an artist-owned platform created by rapper Jay-Z, that emphasizes artists through higher royalty returns from streaming. Its popularity comes from exclusive music, such as Beyonce's album Lemonade and Kanye's album The Life of Pablo that upon their release were only available through the platform. Both albums have become available over other platforms since: two months after its initial release, "The Life of Pablo," arrived on Google Play, Spotify, and Apple Music. Beyonce's album "Lemonade" has been added to iTunes but is still not offered by Spotify, although a comment appears on her artist page that Spotify "is working on it and hope to have it soon" [][15] It serves massive amounts of content including "expertly curated editorial" to the public for a monthly fee of $9.99. Tidal also offers student and family discounts, all of which are similar to Spotify's rates.[16] Tidal boasts a variety of unique features, such as full music and video content available to the public for free during certain weeks of the year, playlists curated by successful artists like Kanye West, greater visibility for up-and-coming artists, and access to music and concert videos.[17] Another marketing tactic is its exclusive releases, in which nine albums, including works by Kanye West and Prince, brought users to the platform within its first year of operation.[18]


SoundCloud, which was launched in 2008, is an online platform for music and audio. The service prides itself on its easy and transparent service and ships with two premium options: SoundCloud Go and SoundCloud Go+, priced at $4.99 and $9.99 respectively. Both packages allow users to download tracks for offline listening and remove advertisements from users' listening experience. Along with streaming music, SoundCloud allows users to upload, record, and promote their own original tracks through social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. [7] SoundCloud allows artists with less streams to share their music on the aforementioned sites. This platform has achieved its critical success because of this ability to promote original songs that would go unnoticed otherwise. A differentiating factor between SoundCloud and Spotify is that each SoundCloud song is attached to its own radio station — where listeners can listen to similar songs on that station. Compared to Spotify's 75 million active users, SoundCloud has 175 million monthly listeners. [19]

Pandora Radio

Tim Westergren and Jon Kraft founded Pandora Radio in 2000 [20]. Pandora is powered by Music Genome Project, a music analysis software [21]. Pandora's Premium service is $5 which is almost half the price cheaper than Spotify's premium subscription. The user experience for Pandora users differs from what Spotify users see. Pandora offers a mobile application for IOS and Andriod users, an in-application browser player, and a desktop version but only available to premium users. [22] Pandora allows users to personalize their own radio, enabling them to like, skip, or dislike songs that they are listening to. Once a user likes a song, the music streaming service will find songs similar to that soundtrack. When a song is disliked, the song will be filtered from the current station and other songs similar won't be suggested to the user.

Google Play Music

Google Play Music is a streaming service which was launched for public-use in November of 2011. Google Play Music offers a catalog of over 40 Million songs. Non-paying users can stream up to 50,000 of their own songs in addition to listening to curated stations with various songs on them. For paying Google Play Music users, they have access to the catalog of 40 million songs. Users can get a feature called YouTube Red in the application that eliminates all advertisement commercials which can be used in the Google Play Music application along with others. [23] Without a subscription, users can skip songs up to 6 times in one hour. With a subscription, users can skip songs as often as necessary. Similar to Spotify, Google Play Music allows its users to create playlists and radio stations and add songs and artists that best fit their interests to these playlists. [24]



Spotify library

Playlists can be created and saved to the user's account and can be accessed instantly from any device with Spotify downloaded. There can be up to 10,000 tracks on a single playlist.[25] Users can drag and drop songs or entire albums to create a playlist. Playlists can be shared with friends by emailing or instant messaging a link to the playlist. Upon following the link, the shared playlist is added to that user's library. Playlists can also be shared through social networking sites like Facebook.

Users also have the choice to follow or save a pre-made playlist. This can be through Spotify's own recommendation based on what is trending, a user's mood, or new releases. There is also the opportunity to search a specific genre, artist, album, or another playlist that can then be added to a personal playlist. Users have the option to search and follow other users or artists and save or follow their playlists too.


Artists can choose to withhold their music from Spotify, disabling users' ability to search for it. In some situations, the music will appear, but users will not be able to listen to it. Examples include some Disney albums like the soundtrack to the movie, Aladdin. Two tracks, "Friend Like Me" and "Prince Ali" are both withheld from Spotify. Another example is Adele's most recent album, "21", which did not release any of its songs to Spotify until several months after their release. Withholding of music primarily occurs when Spotify fails to acquire licenses to play certain record labels' music.

In addition, while playlists can be made, the main page with all of your music is very difficult to keep track of. Unlike, say, Apple Music, who puts your downloaded songs in alphabetical order, Spotify keeps them in the order you downloaded them, which can be very confusing to find later. That being said, users can manually sort the songs they save by clicking the "Title" heading, which sorts songs alphabetically.


Spotify can currently be accessed from a variety of mobile devices including any Apple iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows mobile. To use Spotify on a mobile device, the user must subscribe to the premium service for $9.99 per month (or $4.99 a month for students). There have been some complaints about the mobile app. Users cite problems with syncing their devices as well as the app frequently crashing. Other complaints with the mobile app include the inability to explore Spotify's vast library. Users are forced to build playlists of desired songs instead of searching for them on-the-fly if for instance, they are playing music while driving. Critics of the app say that the developers are poor programmers and need to find better ways for users to search for songs along with accessing the "top" sections of tracks, artists and albums.

Social Networking

Spotify has integrated social networking, allowing users connected to Facebook or Twitter accounts to share playlists and favorite songs.[26] Through these platforms, Spotify becomes a social network where friends can collaborate on a playlist and share it when it has been finalized. Not only does this keep everyone connected on Facebook and Twitter up to date on music, but also promotes new music that were newly released. The desktop version of Spotify allows users to see what songs their Facebook friends have been listening to which allows for users to stay further up to date with the latest music.


Spotify offers thousands of podcasts that users can directly listen to on their device. Podcast episodes are recommended based off of the user's interests. Users can also search by category, including Lifestyle, News, Comedy, and Sports, among others. Users can download the podcasts to listen to on different devices with Spotify installed or when they are offline. [27].

Offline mode

Spotify can be accessed without an Internet connection using the offline mode feature with a premium account. This enables the user to choose specific songs or playlists that sync to the computer or device allowing playback anywhere. Users must download these songs and playlists while they are online, however. Songs and playlists are stored in the computer's cache for later playback. You can store up to 3,333 songs offline on 3 different devices. The mobile client also has a "Force Offline" mode which immediately stops Spotify from using the Internet. This can be especially useful for users looking to extend their battery life or limit data usage[28]


On November 30, 2011, Spotify Apps were announced[29]. The list of supported apps at the time of the announcement include, We Are Hunted, Rolling Stone, The Guardian, Pitchfork, Tunewiki, and Songkick.[29] This feature will allow third-party and independent developers to build HTML5-based apps to supplement the Spotify service. Some of the expected tools will offer extra information regarding music recommendations, concerts, lyrics, and news.[30] Spotify Apps intro video

Apps are sectioned to the left under the first heading titled "APP". The Appfinder, TopLists, and Radio apps are defaulted into the section, but users are free to add and delete apps from the Appfinder. When a user adds an app, it is automatically added to the App section on the left where users can click and use it as they listen to music.

iTunes and Spotify

Upon signing up, Spotify scans a user's hard drive for MP3s and other digital music files. Spotify will detect the tracks individually, but is also capable of transferring the playlists users have previously created to their Spotify library to be utilized within the application. If a user does not wish to have their iTunes library imported, they can selectively import playlists from iTunes[31] When searching through Spotify's online mode, the name of the artist for any songs that the user currently owns on their hard drive will appear in a darker grey color, or with a music note icon on the side.


Spotify's growth in Premium Membership[32]

Spotify offers four different membership options to its users: Spotify Free, Spotify Premium, Spotify Premium for Students, and Spotify Family[33] As of March 2017, Spotify has 50 million paying subscribers – up from 30 million the same time in 2016.[32]

Spotify's success is attributed to their unique "freemium" business model. The word combines both "free" and "premium" to describe a business model that offers both free and premium service. This business model works by offering elements of its basic services for free in order to draw users to its paid subscription. This has allowed for Spotify to remain a dominant player in the online music streaming industry.[34]"

Spotify Free

Spotify Free is Spotify’s most basic streaming package. Streaming quality can range from 96 to 160 kbps depending on the user’s internet connection and device of choice. The package allows users to listen to all of Spotify’s tracks over an internet connection as well as create, edit, and share your own playlists. While listening is unlimited, the users are subject to a few restirctions which vary depending on whether users are on a desktop or a mobile decive. If using a desktop, users are able to select specific songs and switch between them freely with ads playing intermittently. On mobile, users are limited to “Shuffle Play” where they can listen to playlists only and are unable to select specific songs. Mobile users are also limited to six track skips per hour. Like desktop users, mobile users are subject to intermittent ads that cannot be skipped or muted. Attempting to mute ads or even make them noticeably quieter only pauses the ad until the users turns the volume back up.[35]

Spotify Premium

Spotify Premium, priced at $9.99/month, is Spotify’s most advanced streaming package. Streaming quality can range from 96 to 320 kbps depending on the user’s internet connection and device of choice. The package provides users all the perks of the “Free” package but with no limitations. Users are free to select specific songs, play them on repeat, and skip songs as often as they want. Users are also guaranteed a completely ad-free listening experience.[36]

Spotify Premium also introduces a number of completely new features. Of these features include “Spotify Connect,” which allows users to use their mobile Spotify app as a controller for over 300 different devices. By syncing devices over Wi-Fi connections, users can control what their account plays on devices ranging from the Playstation 4 to the Amazon Echo.[37] “Offline Listening” is another feature available for premium users. This feature allows users to download up to 3,333 Spotify songs on up to three devices and listen to them later when they are not connected to the internet. This offline listening function allows users to not burn through their data when streaming music as the songs are already downloaded on the application on a user's phone.[38]

In April 2017, Spotify announced that Premium users would soon begin to have access to select albums and singles two weeks before Spotify Free users.[39]

Spotify Premium for Students

Spotify Premium for Students, priced at $4.99/month, offers all of the features of Spotify Premium at a discounted price. With the Spotify student discount, students can get 50% off a premium subscription. Users are able to receive this discount by registering for Spotify with a valid student email account. The discount is only valid for 12 months at a time, as each year students must re-sign up to continue to receive the discount. This offer is only offered for four consecutive years and then the price is back up to $9.99/month.[40]

Spotify Family

Spotify Family, priced at $14.99/month, offers all of the features of Spotify Premium with the added possibility for multiple users under once account. Spotify Family’s $14.99/month charge is constant and supports up to six users, so long as those users a are family living under the same address. Each member of the family is given their own Premium account so users won’t have to share songs, playlists, or have to worry about multiple users being on the same account.[41]

Spotify Hi-Fi

In March 2017, Spotify reportedly began preparing to launch a new, more expensive version of its premium version that would make hi-fi recordings available via streaming for interested customers. Currently, the highest-resolutionan of an audio file available for streaming through Spotify is at 320 kbps (kilobits per second), a level still considered sacrificing of quality in comparison to the audio files on CDs.[42] However, the introduction of Spotify Hi-Fi would bring CD quality audio with Spotify Premium features, according to its advertisements. [43]

Reports of Spotify's intentions to launch a Hi-Fi version of its service first began circulating after a small circle of Reddit users posted screenshots of themselves being asked to upgrade their subscription version to Hi-Fi, each for a different price (anywhere from $5 to $10 above the standard premium version's $10 per month). It is believed that the streaming-service was using these preemptive requests to gauge users' interest in the new product, and to test potential price models for it. [43]



In September 2016, Spotify partnered with the dating-app platform, Bumble. Users of Spotify can display their favorite musical artists on their Bumble profiles. Bumble automatically pulls data from a user's Spotify account every few days. If an artist appears on a Bumble user's profile, an "edit" page of the Bumble account allows users to remove artists they do not want displayed. A playlist on Spotify includes Bumble's top tracks "to get romance rolling." [44]


In January 2016, Spotify announced a massive joint venture with international coffee and beverage conglomerate Starbucks, a partnership which, according to Starbucks' press release, connects the streaming-service to coffee-drinking customers at approximately 7,500 locations in the United States. [45] This partnership also pushes Spotify on My Starbucks Rewards loyalty members via the Starbucks app, and it allows those app users to take the music of the Starbucks stores with them through allowing customers to discover and save the music played by Starbucks in the Spotify app. [45]


In September 2016, Spotify announced a partnership with geo-based dating-app service Tinder. Through this partnership, Spotify aims to integrate personal music taste into swiping through profiles, something that users can now achieve by broadcasting their personal 'Anthem' via Tinder, displaying their favorite artists on their profiles, and seeking out romantic partners with similar music tastes.[46] A 'personal anthem' is described by Spotify as a track that describes your story or a song that is stuck in one's head. Overall, the firm believes that their partnership with the dating service is allowing users of Tinder to engage in an additional sensory experience. [46]

Universal Music Group

In April 2017, Spotify announced an international, multi-year partnership with major music publishing company Universal Music Group, who controls properties such as Republic Records, Def Jam Records and Motown Records.[47] The deal reportedly concluded more than two years of negotiations between the two firms, stabilizing their pay-per-stream agreements and, according to Billboard, alleviating pressure from Spotify's CEO by removing a barrier to their initial public offering (IPO).

According to a press release from Spotify, the firm's partnership with UMG represents a mutual interest among the firms in further ensuring that there are opportunities with streaming for artists, fans, and labels through providing a range of experiences, flexibility with releases, and collaboration with marketing campaigns on Spotify's platform. [48]In particular, the deal is said to offer UMG strategists access to user data, which is expected to create a foundation for artists and labels to engage, expand, and build better connections with their fans.[48]


Spotify has partnered with popular ride-sharing app Uber since 2014.[49] Riders who have a Spotify premium account can connect their Spotify to the app, and if their driver has a music-enabled car, riders can select songs or playlists for the duration of their ride and DJ from the backseat. This feature was initially available in only 10 cities, but it is now available in every market where Spotify is. [50]


In September of 2017, Spotify partnered with Hulu, a subscription streaming service. [51] The partnership has created a bundle which offers college students a free Hulu account with the purchase of a Spotify student account for $4.99 per month. While Spotify and Hulu offer different products, the partnership was created with the goal of expanding target customer segments for both companies.


Spotify partnered with Headspace in 2018. Spotify users can now upgrade their premium account to include a Headspace subscription (contingent on them cancelling their existing Headspace subscription). This bundle is currently only available in few countries: Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. Spotify offers a three-month free Headspace trial, a £9,99 offer period price, and then a £14,99 normal bundle subscription fee. Students in the UK are able to get Headspace for free when they upgrade to premium. [52]


Waze, the Google-owned navigation app, partnered with Spotify in 2017.[53] Users of both apps are now able to access their playlists within the Waze app; they can skip songs, play, and pause. Waze users do not need to exit the app to play music from Spotify.

AXS and Eventbrite

In June 2017, Spotify partnered with AXS a music and live entertainment subsidiary of AEG and Eventbrite an event and ticketing booking technology company. The partnership was put in place to offer Spotify's users recommendations for local live music entertainment and access to ticket purchasing. The partnership with help music streaming user learn about when their favorite artists will be having a local show and how to get tickets. [54]

Ethical Issues

There have been continuous debates about the ethical rights of Spotify. These ethical implications encompass not only major labels and signed artists, but also indie artists, and consumers themselves.

Ethical Concerns for Artists and Labels

One of the main ethical questions concerning Spotify is how much compensation artists should receive for streaming their music through the service. A large part of the issue is that labels, copyright holders, and publishers receive money from Spotify, but due to the lack of contractual terms related to how much artists will be compensated from this specific service, many have complained about being underpaid. Some artists say that they receive on average between $0.0006 and $0.0084 per play. [55]. The company has claimed to have paid out over 100 million dollars worth of revenue to the music rights holder.[56]

Various members of the music industry have spoken out against Spotify, claiming that Spotify fails to compensate artists properly. For example, Patrick Carney of The Black Keys accused Spotify board member Sean Parker of stealing $2 million worth of royalties from artists.[57] Some artists such as Jay-Z, Beyonce, and Dr. Dre. [58] have chosen to release their music for purchase on other streaming services such as Apple Music.

There are also indirect effects on the success of artists, separate from compensation paid directly to the publishers, copyright holders, and record labels that are hard to quantify. For example, Spotify's integration with Facebook, which has been a large cause for the software's success, provides self-sustaining marketing for any artist whose song is played. If a user has 50 Facebook friends online, and the Facebook ticker displays that he is listening to a song, those 50 users have been exposed to the artist, which will result in some expected value of sales for the label.

Devaluing Music

Many artists claim that free music streaming services, including Spotify, are devaluing their music. These streaming services allow users to listen to an unlimited amount of music without paying anything. By allowing users to listen to an unlimited amount of music with ads, many artists believe Spotify perpetuates the idea this music is not worth paying for and should be offered for free, decreasing sales for artists. Popular artists such as Adele, Taylor Swift, and Jay-Z have refused to make their music available on Spotify, citing Spotify's devaluation of their music as the reason for their decision. [59]


On February 1, 2016, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced its intentions to begin incorporating a new "methodology for its Gold & Platinum Program, the industry’s premier award for recognizing artistic achievement in the music marketplace." According to the RIAA's new model, on-demand audio and video streams are now officially counted as unique consumptions, contributing toward Gold and Platinum statuses for successful songs and albums.[60] The updating of the rule alters an earlier adjustment to the measurement system which made on-demand streams count as sales figures, but not to count towards the iconic Gold and Platinum statuses.[60] The RIAA's reconsideration of the value of a streams adds weight and stability to Spotify's placement in the music industry.

Vulfpeck, Sleepify

In 2014, funk band Vulfpeck released an album on Spotify called "Sleepify", consisting of nothing but thirty-second soundless tracks. Vulfpeck encouraged their fans to stream the album while they slept so the band could collect royalties to fund their upcoming tour. With these funds, Vulfpeck promised to offer free admission to their fans.[61] Sleepify was available to stream for seven weeks before Spotify removed the album, claiming that it had violated their terms of content. Before Spotify removed the album, Vulfpeck accumulated roughly $20,000 in royalties from Sleepify, and was able to successfully produce six shows free of charge to their fans as they had promised.[62][63] This hinders the credibility of Spotify because it is essentially tricking users to listen to nothing to get money. This album and the tactics of Vulfpeck uncovered a large loophole in Spotify's policies that pay artists royalties for how often their songs are listened to by users.[64]

Gaming the System

The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) modified how it certifies singles and albums in relation to streaming. Under the new guidelines, RIAA now deems 1,500 streams to be equal to 10 track sales which equals an album sale.[65] This has fundamentally changed how artists release their albums. Artists, such as Migos, were quick to figure out how to game this system and released Culture II in early 2018. The album clocked in at over 100 minutes spread over 24 tracks. By streaming the album all the way through, the user has effectively 'bought' the album twice. More and more artists are catching onto this and thus making longer and longer albums.

Fake Artists

From as early as August 2016, songs have appeared on Spotify which are attributed to non-existent artists. At approximately the same time as when these songs began appearing, Spotify's recommendation algorithm began recommending these songs with fake artists. These songs would quickly rise from around a thousand plays to hundreds of thousands of plays in short periods of time. Some users accused Spotify of promoting songs with no real artist or of creating these songs with fake artists. Regardless, streams of songs without a real artist cannot be compensated since there is company or individual to pay. Spotify is able to allow its user's the ability to stream these songs without paying to have the song available on their service.[66]

Fighting Piracy

Spotify offers the ability to download your iTunes playlists, as described above. This is meant to convenience the buyer so that they can have all their songs in one place. While this helps to limit piracy due to the inability to share your local files among other users, it may encourage people to continue pirating songs in order to add them to their Spotify playlists. Again, Spotify combats the ability to share the file to prevent illegal file sharing. To limit piracy all together, Spotify should continue to expand their library. Spotify also offers offline mode so people can listen to music while not connected to the internet. Though Spotify has offered many features to limit privacy, there are still ways around this via other services, like Soundiiz, a website that converts online playlists to Youtube files. One can then use a Youtube to mp3 converter. Spotify's many efforts to reduce piracy have paid, off however.

One thing that Spotify has done is educate its users on piracy. Using short advertisements, Spotify informs listeners that use of Spotify is not piracy, and that they properly compensate the artists you listen to. As a result of this brief education of piracy, Spotify has made a significant contribution in reducing piracy. In 2009, piracy in Sweden (where Spotify originated) dropped by 25% just one year after Spotify was launched.[67] Many contribute this downward trend of piracy to the popularity of legal music streaming services, namely Spotify.

Privacy Issues

Transparency of Social Account Links

While a Facebook account is not required in order to use Spotify, there are concerns regarding the Terms of Service for Spotify users who do choose to link with their Facebook account. If a user syncs their Facebook and Spotify accounts, the application, by default, shows the user's activity from Spotify on their Facebook profile. New users have pointed to this lack of transparency and lack of awareness of the application's actions. Spotify then allowed users to manage their own Facebook privacy settings and not sync their activity to post on their Facebook pages. There have been many complaints about the difficulty of this action within Spotify's settings and the preferences being reset on login timeouts. Because of this, some Spotify users make new Facebook accounts as a way to circumvent Spotify's activity being shared on their main Facebook account. Privacy concerns also included the ability for a user's Facebook friends to see what artists and songs the user was listening to in real-time, but Spotify has since added a feature to allow users to disable sharing updates on their linked Facebook account.

Data Breach

On March 4, 2009, Spotify issued a privacy notice to all of its users stating that security protocols had been breached, possibly leading to unwanted access to private user information such as passwords and email addresses.[68] The problem existed when users added another users shared playlists, leading the Spotify software requesting private information from the Spotify servers. The servers would then return information about the original author of the playlist, potentially compromising that person's security.[69]

Spotify ad.png

Wixen Music Publishing Lawsuit

In December 2017, Spotify was sued by Wixen Music Publishing Lawsuit for allegedly using thousands of songs without a proper license. Some of the songs included were from Tom Petty, Neil Young and the Doors. Wixen is an exclusive licensee for specific songs on the platform and is seeking 1.6 billion in damages. [70]

Marketing Campaigns

Spotify has run a series of marketing campaigns that use user listening data to generate ads about streaming habits. The topics of these campaigns have included "Thanks 2016, it's been weird" and "2018 goals".[71] Some users took issue with their specific usage behavior being displayed in highly public settings, despite the data being anonymous. Spotify users have taken to other social media platforms to express their concern with their privacy while using the application. Other users have felt as though the ads were created to mock user's listening habits.

See Also


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  5. Bradshaw, Tim. "Spotify in Top League with $3bn valuation." 15 November 2012. Retrieved on 16 April 2016.
  6. O'Brien, Terrence. "Spotify doubles user base in last year, 1 million paid subscribers in the US." 6 December 2012. Retrieved on 16 April 2016.
  7. " Retrieved on 4 April 2018.
  8. Davidson, Lauren. Spotify Valued at $8.53bn Valuation After Fresh Funding Round." 10 June 2015. Retrieved on 16 April 2016.
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  13. Apple Music
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  15. Flanagan, Andrew & Hampp, Andrew. "It's Official: Jay Z's istoric tidal Launches With 16 Artist Stakeholders." Billboard. 30 March 2015.
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  17. “Best Music App This Week: Tidal (It's Free).” SlashGear, 28 Dec. 2017, [[1]].
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  19. Moazed, Alex. "Why SoundCloud Will Be Worth More Than Spotify" Tech Crunch. 24 January 2016.
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  21. “About Pandora.” Pandora,
  22. Hastings, Nick."Spotify vs. Pandora: Which is better for you?" Digital Trends. 16 November 2017.
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