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How to stop Spotify sharing your personal data

Even the paid version of Spotify collects and sells your data. Here’s how to limit that.

spotify logo blurred background
Image: KnowTechie

When you consider companies that harvest user data for profit, free-to-use services, such as Google and Facebook, may come to mind. But even paid services, like Spotify Premium, collect and sell your data.

Collecting user data can be highly profitable, and even some pay-to-use services can’t resist the urge to share our personal information with advertisers and other interested parties.

The music streaming platform seems content to capture whatever user data it can to ostensibly conduct research, improve products, and target ads. While these reasons are fair, they connect to a larger goal: to make money.

Seeking profit doesn’t make a company evil. But sharing user data in order to make more money from a paid subscription service is a little sketchy.

READ MORE: What is Spotify Live and how does it work?

Let’s discuss the type of data Spotify collects, what it does with that information, and how to adjust your privacy settings to reduce oversharing.

What user data does Spotify collect?

spotify on macbook
Image: Unsplash

When it comes to user data, Spotify collects pretty much everything you could imagine, including:

  • Contact information
  • Date of birth
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Device information
  • Most interactions with the platform, including search
  • Network information
  • IP addresses and cookie data
  • Device sensor information
  • Voice data
  • Payment and purchase information
  • Additional data collected from third-party sources

Granted, much of the information Spotify collects is necessary for improving products and running a streaming service.

However, the company’s privacy policy leaves a lot of room for interpretation on the topic of sharing data with other parties.

Who does Spotify share user data with?

spotify app on two tablets
Image: KnowTechie

READ MORE: Spotify wants to share your listening habits in real-time

While improving its own products is one reason Spotify states for harvesting user data, it also shares information with third-party recipients, including:

  • Various service providers
  • Payment processors
  • Advertising partners
  • Marketing partners
  • Academic researchers
  • Law enforcement and other authorities

To advertisers, marketers, and researchers, your user data is digital gold that’s worth a lot to whoever holds it. And, sadly, you don’t have a ton of control over it when using online services.

Unfortunately, even opting to pay for the service won’t prevent Spotify from collecting and sharing your personal information. You can, however, take steps to limit the amount it shares.

How to stop Spotify from sharing user data

Here’s how to adjust privacy settings to prevent Spotify from processing some user data:

  1. Go to the Spotify website and log in if necessarylog in screen on spotify

  2. Click Profile and select Account. If Spotify has launched the web player, click your Account name instead and select Accountaccount menu on on streaming service

  3. Click Privacy settingsspotify web page privacy settings

  4. Switch off Process my personal data for tailored adstailored ads toggle for music streaming service

You may also want to switch off Process my Facebook data to prevent the platform from collecting information from your social media account. But, ultimately, it is a drop in the bucket of data Facebook collects.

How to avoid Spotify sharing any user data

Evidently, Spotify’s privacy settings are weak and offer little control over how the company uses your data. Unfortunately, effective solutions are limited. But the steps above do help a bit.

If you’re concerned about oversharing, the only realistic options are to either boycott the platform or campaign for more user control.

But your data is worth a lot to certain people. And tech companies are unlikely to give up their golden goose without a fight.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Matt is an Australian writer with a degree in creative and critical writing. Prior to commencing his studies, he worked in tech support and gained valuable insights into technology and its users. He is also an editor and author coach at Dean Publishing.

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