Spotify’s ‘pre-save’ function may be putting your privacy at risk

To “pre-save” an upcoming release on Spotify may be to put your privacy in grave peril.

Pre saving music involves scheduling a new release to be added to a user’s library as soon as it comes out. To successfully pre-save, one has to click through a bunch of terms and conditions (boring), before they are granted the chance to pre-save.

Let’s rewind for a second. Those terms and conditions are big labels seeking permission to be granted a generous amount of access to a user’s personal information.

Such access includes the chance to monitor what track the user is listening to, the autonomy to change what artists they follow and the ability to control their streaming habits remotely.

Ok maybe the words “grave peril” were a shade too dramatic, but you would agree that we’re in concerning territory. If you agree to Universal Music’s terms and conditions, you may be conferring power onto them to “create, edit and follow private playlists”, and add and remove items in Your Library”. So this how liberty dies, with thunderous applause…

John Tinker, a media analyst told Billboard: “There’s nothing they’re doing that’s illegal… it’s just that no one ever actually realises when they sign off on these things what they mean.”

Frank Pasquale, a Law Professor from the University of Maryland provided an ethical perspective on this development:

“These permissions strike me as expansive and beyond what a reasonable consumer would expect”

“On the other hand, the larger picture is that as the Facebooks, Googles and Amazons of the world get so much data about people, every other company is just going to do the same. I can see why [the labels are] doing it: because they fear if they aren’t as aggressive as Google and Facebook they’re going to lose a competitive advantage.”

It’s a curious time for Spotify, who have also been in the news for wanting to chase artists for overpaid revenues.