Spotify and Facebook Tied Up – Literally!

Posted by | Oct. 10, 2011 | 23,467 views

The fact in the US if you are a new user to Spotify you have to also have a Facebook account in business terms for Facebook is a great limiter of consumer choice – which to date has been Facebooks Modus Operandi. TMV asks what if I was a user who has decided to only use Google plus? Whether that may be for ethical reason’s and Facebooks very clear anti-privacy agenda or just for the fact I like Google+ or even Twitter better? If I want access to Spotify’s user friendly music streaming service why should I be forced to also sign up to Facebook?

In TMV’s view this is a serious step backwards for consumer choice in both the digital music streaming and social media space. TMV does understand the business opportunity for Facebook and Spotify with such a move. However, we do question whether it also now signals Spotify’s intention to follow Facebook’s lead and head down the slippery slope of being anti-privacy?

Exclusive tie-ups are never good for consumers and just end up restricting choice. American consumers have already witnessed this with the iPhone AT & T exclusivity tie up – which led to consumers being tied in to use the United States abysmal mobile operator AT & T if they wanted to use the iPhone (until very recently so for four years).

What is not clear is if you are a MOG or Rdio user that you also need to be locked into Facebook as well…If not then there is a prime opportunity to generate a closer relationship with Google+ and its locker music service.

In the medium term this tactic of exclusivity ended up contributing to Apple losing smart-phone market share and only helped to ensure Android became the dominant mobile OS in America and globally. TMV would suggest this will most likely be the same in terms of this Spotify marriage to Facebook. If I was MOG or Rdio for that matter I would be cosying up to Google now and putting together the best social music competitor to the Facebook Spotify union.

On another front, both Facebook and Google love to talk about empowering you the user to exert control over your privacy settings, rather than what they are going with all the information they collect from you and who they are selling it to. TMV does wonder how long it will take for the majority of ‘joe public’ to understand that they have willingly surrendered our identities to faceless corporations that have no regard for individual privacy whatsoever.

Interestingly, the outgoing US privacy commissioner Pamela Jones Harbour declared it was no longer acceptable for social media companies to “throw it against the wall, see if it sticks – and if not, we can always pull it back”. Social sharing is good, especially for music, but TMV still does believe user privacy needs to be enforced more robustly than it currently is.

Digital Music News outlined an interesting overview on automatic social sharing of music “people felt naked! They limited their sharing, or worse, cringed after accidentally oversharing”. The backlash experienced by Spotify was so bad that they quickly rushed out an application upgrade that enabled users to turnoff their sharing.

The fact the application was launched without even giving users the option to turnoff sharing in the first place is appalling, and just goes to reinforce how little respect for user privacy these companies have. Just because the technology is available to pirate music it does not make it right. The same applies in the social media space and respecting privacy.

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Posted by on Oct 10 2011. Filed under Digital, featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

8 Comments for “Spotify and Facebook Tied Up – Literally!”

  1. Jim

    I will not use spotfiy if I have to use a facebook account. I HATE facebook. I do not like selling out my friends list every time someone wants to me to use facebook as a login. I don’t like them tracking my moves or people I care about. I do not want them to know what music I enjoy.

    Frankly, I couldn’t care less what music my friends listen to it either. I don’t understand the need some people have for 24/7 external validation from their 300 closest friends and family. The very idea of 300 friends is insane!

    There is NOTHING free about your PERSONAL data being sold to anyone with a dime.

  2. Adam

    How much money do the top 5 people on Spotify make? I am talking *inside* Spotify, not artists + labels…

  3. John Jackson

    @enzothebaker The thought that Facebook is “free” shows how little you know about the social media sector. They make money off of users’ data…a lot of money. There’s nothing “free” about it. This article isn’t attacking Spotify had you taken the time to actually comprehend what you read before spewing your noise; but rather the continued disrespect that Facebook shows users every single time they post an “update” in terms of privacy. Facebook is posting user actions automatically without consent which is in fact a step backwards in what social media is about. Get a clue then come back and join the grown up conversation.

  4. Zach, yes I do believe that whilst the tie up may work for Facebook at what cost did ti come to Spotify? As Michael Robertson pointed out in his post today “By agreeing to turn over their user data they effectively give Facebook complete control over their business. Facebook owns the user not the music company. Facebook owns the data. Facebook in fact controls the entire experience and can demand changes anytime they wish. They can even demand a monetary payoff in the future or shutoff the service. This is not theory. Facebook did this to the game company Zynga where they extorted 30% of all their revenues by threatening to block their service. If a digital music company experiences any level of success on Facebook they can expect the same demands.”

    So essentially as a user your Data is owned by Facebook not Spotify…how do you as a music fan feel about that? For me that is NOT alright!

    But thanks for your input and thoughts as this is a platform for open debate and we respect everyone’s right to have their own view – I certainly do not expect everyone to agree with me. Life would be pretty damm boring if everyone agreed with each other and it would certainly lead to a homogenous digital music services field…

  5. Dear Mr. Mathews,

    I enjoyed reading your blog post and found it to be a very interesting view on the recent integrations between Facebook and Spotify. Personally, I believe the partnership between Facebook and Spotify is a beneficial and necessary step for the development of Spotify, Facebook and the future of music. It is clear to see that with the increase in popularity of music streaming services like Spotify, music consumers are looking for access and not ownership. Users want to be able to discover and play music wherever they are, whenever they want. Similarly, this accessibility has also occurred in the realm of social media sites like Facebook. It seems only fitting that the two companies, Facebook and Spotify, would partner up as they are both keen on access and giving users the opportunity to create their own experiences. While you state that this partnership for Facebook is a “great limiter of consumer choice,” I believe that it serves as an opportunity for users to discover music in a whole new way. The music industry needs a partnership like this as it provides music consumers with an interactive approach to experiencing new music.

    Aside from our different opinions on how this partnership impacts consumer choice, from a business standpoint, wouldn’t you agree that Spotify is greatly benefiting from its association with Facebook? For Spotify, the new level exposure to Facebook’s enormous user base was created to drive paid subscriptions and increase brand awareness. Since launching its tie-in with Facebook, Spotify has reportedly added 250,000 new users every day. Facebook’s current online community of over 800 million users proves the value for Spotify joining the Facebook community, as opposed to Google+ and Twitter, as Facebook can reach a greater audience at once, which will directly effect how users find and listen to new music. I find your comparison between the Facebook/Spotify partnership and the iPhone/AT&T partnership to be extremely relevant. While I agree with you that it is inconvenient for non-Facebook users to create an account in order to gain entry to Spotify, I believe it is a smart approach by both companies because it makes the service more exclusive. When you have a unique product in high demand like the iPhone or Spotify, consumers are willing to go to great lengths in order to gain access to that product. It also allows Spotify to monitor the integration’s effectiveness and popularity. You ask if other music streaming sites like MOG and Rdio require a Facebook account. After further research, I found that MOG does require a Facebook account while Rdio does not. However, both companies have associated and advertised their connection with Facebook’s new music platform. The exclusivity factor and access to the massive user database propel these companies to work exclusively with Facebook

    The other criticism with the Facebook/Spotify partnership that you mention is the lack of privacy. I agree with you that user privacy needs to be enforced. Spotify must have finally agreed with this idea too as it recently added a “private listening” mode to counter complaints about the automatic sharing of playlists on Facebook. This is an essential step in letting the user customize and control their experience in regards to sharing music. Like you mentioned, music sharing should be controlled. The Science Daily reported that, “researchers found that people make active efforts to control the image their online profile gives of them, especially when their music listening is published automatically.” This improvement in privacy control should increase the usage of Spotify as users will not have to worry about what they listen to and how it will be perceived on their profile.

  6. I find it incredible but sadly typical to what lengths people will go to complain about products and services that are free. Spotify is free. Facebook is free. If you don’t like it, don’t participate. Oh, and STFU.

  7. Bhavna

    matt : are you sure your friends “chose” to publicly share their music? :)

  8. seems like a great feature to me.

    i’ve had spotify for about 4 months now and couldn’t be happier with the free service. i have the app installed on my android and load up music every day before running.

    let’s be realistic. who doesn’t have facebook these days? whether you love it or hate it, it’s a part of more than 850 million people’s lives in some way or another. hell, the bottom of this post is lined with facebook, twitter, MYSPACE and several other sharing options, so let’s not sit here and moan about the cool features with facebook. we all know the social media giant has failed in several aspects, from cell phone publishing to annoying event notifications.

    integrating spotify with facebook shouldn’t be another thing to complain about, especially when you can easily click through your friends’ shared (meaning, they chose to publicly share) music. i think that’s cool. sorry if you don’t.


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