“Let me be crystal clear here: If you don’t want to share this kind of information, you don’t have to. We will ask for your express permission before accessing any of this data – and we will only use it for specific purposes that will allow you to customize your Spotify experience,” Ek wrote.
In short, Spotify has built some new or upcoming features, and access to this data will be necessary for those features, but users still have complete control over whether they want to enable access. Don’t want more personalized recommendations based on your location? No problem. Don’t want to look up friends to follow by using your contacts to search for them? You don’t have to.
The one thing, however, that’s not new — and Ek clarifies this too — is sharing of user data with some mobile networks and advertising partners. Because some users sign up for Spotify’s paid tier through their mobile carriers (and even Apple, although there’s a way to avoid paying the extra fees), it shares some data with them as part of the agreement, and always has. It also shares some data with marketing and advertising partners, but Ek insists that’s anonymous.
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