A team funded by the Swedish Research Council are writing a book about Spotify’s history, but ‘Spotify Teardown: Inside the Black Box of Streaming Music’ is already creating controversy in the service’s homeland.
The book is due to come out next year, the tenth anniversary of Spotify’s commercial launch. The controversy is less about the researchers’ claim that Spotify used ‘pirate’ MP3 files as a source in its early days, and more about the team’s attempts to understand Spotify’s recommendations by creating hundreds of fake ‘bot’ users, as well as to experiment with manipulating the system.
Now the researchers are claiming that Spotify has ‘threatened’ the project by writing to the Swedish Research Council about its methods, portraying this as an example of “when big companies go after researchers who they perceive as uncomfortable”.
Spotify has a different view. “Spotify has not urged The Swedish Research Council to withdraw funding. However, Spotify has brought to The Council’s attention the fact that the research project violates our Terms and Conditions of Use,” a spokesperson told Music Ally.
“The research group has admitted in the media to using methods that explicitly violate Spotify’s terms and conditions of use and applied technical methods to conceal these violations.”