MISC. 12


A music streaming service like Spotify naturally raises fewer serious privacy issues than, say, a social network. But we still found several items of concern, including social sharing being enabled by default, the grant of extensive rights to disclose your information to third parties, and a mandatory arbitration clause.

Data Use

Spotify does not accept substantive content submissions from its users. The service therefore does not raise any important licensing issues. Spotify does, of course, have access to certain information from your Facebook profile. (A Facebook account is now required to sign up to the service.) It can also post updates to your Facebook profile (such as what songs you're listening to) and does so by default. It also by default publishes your top artists, top tracks and playists to your Spotify profile. We would like to see Spotify turn off sharing by default.

SCORE: 18 / 25
  • Spotify publishes your activity to your Facebook and Spotify profiles by default

Data Disclosure

Spotify's Privacy Policy allows your information to be shared with third parties in a number of situations. As is the case with all of the other companies surveyed, Spotify can disclose your information in response to a request from law enforcement. It also allows disclosure for marketing purposes:

  • Your information can be disclosed in "advertising audits and analysis measuring the size and composition of the group of users that have listened to and/or viewed an advertisement".
  • Your information can be disclosed to "a third party to perform surveys measuring your experiences and use of our services".

We would prefer to see Spotify commit to disclosing your information for marketing purposes only in the aggregate and in a way that does not personally identify each user.

SCORE: 18 / 25
  • Spotify can disclose information about you to third parties

Amendment & Termination


Spotify can change its Terms and Conditions of Use at any time and is not required to notify you.


Although most of the companies surveyed can close your account at any time and for any reason, we were pleased to see that Spotify limits its termination right:

Spotify reserves the right to terminate this Agreement or suspend your Spotify account at any time in case of unauthorized, or suspected unauthorized use of the Spotify Software Application or the Spotify Service whether in contravention of this Agreement or otherwise. If Spotify terminates this Agreement, or suspends your Spotify account for any of the reasons set out in this section, Spotify shall have no liability or responsibility to you, and Spotify will not refund any amounts that you have previously paid.

Spotify can also terminate your account if it thinks you are misusing the "Spotify Social" feature, which allows you to connect Spotify with your Facebook account:

If you use Spotify Social, you must respect other users of the Spotify Service in your interactions with them. Spotify reserves the right, in its absolute discretion, to disable your account if it believes that you are violating this principle.
SCORE: 14 / 25
  • Spotify can change the terms at any time without notice
  • Spotify can only terminate your account in specified cases


The Spotify terms contain a mandatory arbitration clause. The result is that for any dispute (with certain defined exceptions), you give up your right to sue Spotify in court. You must also commence arbitration proceedings within one year.

Although such clauses are becoming increasingly common, Netflix and PayPal are the only other companies in the survey that have adopted such a clause. Mandatory arbitration is dangerous because most consumers think that if they have a dispute with a merchant, they will have access to the judicial system and all of its rights and protections, such as bringing a class action, having their case heard by a judge, and the right to appeal. These rights do not exist in arbitration proceedings.

SCORE: 12 / 25
  • You are required to resolve certain disputes with Spotify by means of arbitration