All the Ways Spotify Tracks You—and How to Stop It

Gandalf_The_Grey

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FACEBOOK AND GOOGLE are the web’s biggest advertising powerhouses. But Spotify has ambitions to rival them. And it has all the data it needs to do just that.

Each day hundreds of millions of people use Spotify on their phones, tablets, and desktops—most often remaining logged in as they move from one device to the next. With each track played, playlist created, and podcast listened to, we all feed more information into Spotify’s big data machine. More than 100 billion data points are created every day.

Each one gives Spotify a little more information about our lives. “Spotify has a crazy amount of data about us,” says Bryan Barletta, author of Sounds Profitable, a newsletter about audio and podcast advertising. “We've always known that what you listen to, how you listen to it, and the activities you do around listening to it are some of the most intimate things that we do. They are doing some really clever things in audio.”

Spotify knows the value of this data and uses it to help drive the advertising it sells. “These real-time, personal insights go beyond demographics and device IDs alone to reveal our audience’s moods, mindsets, tastes, and behaviors,” Spotify’s advertising materials say. Of Spotify’s 365 million monthly users, 165 million of them subscribe to not listen to ads. The other 200 million put up with them. So how much does Spotify really know, and how can you limit its data collection?
 
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