Spotify’s CEO, Daniel Ek, tries to clarify the streaming service’s new terms & conditions


Earlier on August 21, a report surfaced that shed light on Spotify‘s upcoming changes to their terms and conditions, which had some interesting bullet points.

As this publication, via WIRED, outlined earlier, Spotify’s new T&C agreement outlines that the streaming service can access several different things, including a user’s photos from their device, their location, their contacts, and even the microphone on your device. As noted in the original report, these things aren’t necessarily seen as needed by Spotify, so some users are expressing their disdain with the changes.

Now, Spotify’s CEO, Daniel Ek, has written a quick blog post on Spotify’s site to express his own views on the changes that are incoming to the terms and conditions, trying to outline why the changes are necessary, and what it actually means for the end user. Basically, while Ek says that they are essentially asking permission to access these things, they’ll only ever do it with the user’s explicit permission:

In our new privacy policy, we indicated that we may ask your permission to access new types of information, including photos, mobile device location, voice controls, and your contacts. Let me be crystal clear here: If you don’t want to share this kind of information, you don’t have to. We will ask for your express permission before accessing any of this data – and we will only use it for specific purposes that will allow you to customize your Spotify experience.

From there, Ek goes into a bullet point presentation on what Spotify has access to and when Spotify will ask access to it, including photos, voice (the microphone), location, contacts, and sharing. Ek stresses that, despite the fact the new terms and conditions are inherently asking the user’s permission right out of the gate, the company will expressly ask permission to use any of those aforementioned items it collects. But, here’s the breakdown:

  • Photos: We will never access your photos without explicit permission and we will never scan or import your photo library or camera roll. If you give us permission to access photos, we will only use or access images that you specifically choose to share. Those photos would only be used in ways you choose and control – to create personalized cover art for a playlist or to change your profile image, for example.
  • Location: We will never gather or use the location of your mobile device without your explicit permission. We would use it to help personalize recommendations or to keep you up to date about music trending in your area. And if you choose to share location information but later change your mind, you will always have the ability to stop sharing.
  • Voice: We will never access your microphone without your permission. Many people like to use Spotify in a hands-free way, and we may build voice controls into future versions of the product that will allow you to skip tracks, or pause, or otherwise navigate the app. You will always have the ability to disable voice controls.
  • Contacts: We will never scan or import your contacts without your permission. Spotify is a social platform and many people like to share playlists and music they discover with their friends. In the future, we may want to give you the ability to find your friends on Spotify by searching for Spotify users in your contacts if you choose to do that.
  • Sharing: The Privacy Policy also mentions advertisers, rights holders and mobile networks. This is not new. With regard to mobile networks, some Spotify subscribers sign up through their mobile provider, which means some information is shared with them by necessity. We also share some data with our partners who help us with marketing and advertising efforts, but this information is de-identified – your personal information is not shared with them.

The new terms and conditions actually rolled out on August 19, but considering the 13 pages that went into outlining the new T&C’s, it’s no surprise that it took some time for the details to find their way to the light.

Now that Spotify’s CEO has come forward and tried to shed some light on the new conditions, are you okay with them? Or is Spotify still going beyond its reach here?

[via Spotify]