Spotify’s integration with Facebook may have been an almost unqualified success in terms of the number of songs shared via the social media site, but the deal led to two major consumer gripes – namely that new Spotify customers could only sign up to the service if they had a Facebook account and that Spotify users’ listening habits were automatically being shared to their Facebook pages, whether they liked it or not.

Both features provoked a massive outcry from Spotify users and the service swiftly introduced a Private Listening feature to deal with the second complaint. As for the first (and arguably more important) criticism, Spotify has resolutely stuck to its guns – until now.

News emerged yesterday that Spotify Germany no longer requires users to sign in with a Facebook account, with the company telling Digital Music News, “We are introducing this new sign-up option in order to offer non-Facebook-connected users in Germany a choice of ways to access Spotify… Spotify remains absolutely committed to our global strategic partnership with Facebook.”

The company’s reasoning behind the decision is currently not clear. Spotify told The Next Web that is has no plans to replicate the move in other territories so it seems likely that the decision is based on the particularities of the German market.

It is worth noting, however, that Facebook penetration in Germany is a lot lower than in the UK or US, at around 30%, compared to 50%+. The temptation, then, is to speculate that this has put off potential Spotify users in Germany, where the company only launched in March because of licensing issues with GEMA among others, thereby forcing the company’s hand.

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