Spotify Launches 'Private' Mode in Response to Facebook Backlash
Spotify Launches 'Private' Mode in Response to Facebook Backlash

Some longtime Spotify users are hopping mad about the service's new requirement that all Spotify users must now log in via Facebook in order to listen, even if they want no part of Facebook's new media-sharing functionality. A message board on GetSatisfaction about the policy change has attracted hundreds of responses, and now, a link to that board has surfaced atop Hacker News, which will surely lead to more attention being paid to Spotify's new Facebook-requiring policy. Here's a representative sample of what these folks are saying (from Victor):

I do not agree with Facebook's policies. I haven't for years, I cancelled my FB account in 2009 due to their nefarious activities and their constant data disclosure flubs. I have vowed to stay away from them. By strongly pairing yourself with them, requiring an account there to sign up, you are now in league with a company I strongly distrust with my data and you will therefore get no more from me. I could understand [requiring a Facebook log-in] for free users or something, but for your paid premium customers, this saddens me greatly. You [will] not get another cent of my money with this policy.

Making matters worse, once you log-in to Spotify using Facebook, all of your listening activity seems to get automatically shared to your Facebook friends -- even if you don't explicitly enable that feature. So much for keeping those guilty pleasures to yourself. contacted Spotify to give see what the company has to say about its the policy, including a link to that message board, and heard back via spokeswoman Deanna Davis:

To us, this is all about creating an amazing new world of music discovery. To make this as good and simple as it possibly can be, we've integrated Spotify login with Facebook login. By adopting Facebook's login, we've created a simple and seamless social experience.

So, there you have it: Spotify says it requires a Facebook log-in to help people discover more music in the simplest way possible. Spotify's response dances around the main reason it made this move: Because by requiring a Facebook log-in, it knows who its users are, which makes them more valuable. As a result, Spotify eliminated some of the limits to its free service today. (We saw MOG do something similar, although it does not require a Facebook log-in.) On the bright side, it's certainly true that this policy will lead to more music sharing on Facebook, which is something both Facebook and its Spotify pals want -- and besides, it lets Spotify give away more free music. On the other hand, those who value privacy or distrust Facebook aren't likely to be satisfied. To them, the answer is simple, as it has always been for matters involving Facebook: If you don't like it, don't use it. Good luck with that. For the rest of us, trading away privacy and control in return for the clear benefits of using Facebook and Spotify together is just part of the deal.

Update: Spotify sent over an updated statement:

"To us, this is all about creating an amazing new world of music discovery. As most of our users are already social and have already connected to Facebook, it seemed logical to integrate Spotify and Facebook logins. We already use Facebook as part of our back-end to power our social features and by adopting Facebook's login, we've created a simple and seamless social experience.

"From today, all new Spotify users will need to have a Facebook account to join Spotify. Think of it as like a virtual 'passport', designed to make the experience smoother and easier, with one less username and password to remember. You don't need to connect to Facebook and if you do decide to, you can always control what you share and don't share by changing your Spotify settings at any time.

"We're constantly trying new things, always looking for feedback and we're always going to listen to our users, making changes based on this feedback wherever we can."

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