A company devoted to data, Spotify just got a lesson in how wanting to know everything about its customers can be a liability as well.
Most of the terms that raised eyebrows go hand-in-hand with new features Spotify is banking on to distinguish itself as competition ratchets higher. Though its streaming music service is the most subscribed of its kind in the world, Spotify is hoping features like music that matches the pace of your running will give it an edge over the likes of Apple Music, which the technology giant launched in June.
"We should have done a better job in communicating what these policies mean and how any information you choose to share will -- and will not -- be used," Ek said in a blog post titled "SORRY."
For most elements that sparked popular worry -- access to photos, location, voice controls and contacts -- Ek said repeatedly that Spotify would never access those features without a customer's permission. To decorate a playlist or change your profile picture, the company needs permission to your photos, and to personalized recommendations, location data helps, he said. Voice controls, like telling Spotify to skip a track, need to employ your device's microphone, and one way of finding your friends on the service is by letting Spotify cross-reference with your contacts list, he wrote.
The exposure of private digital behavior has been an attention-grabbing topic recently. The flare-up over Spotify's terms comes the same week that privacy hackers dumped the names of people who were customers of Ashley Madison, the online dating company for married people.