"Spotify-attack on free and independent research”

shyghostsSpotify recently launched an attack on free and independent research. A research team from Umeå University in Sweden were minding their own business and conducted research within their project "streaming heritage". They mapped Spotify's algorithms by creating a large number of profiles and then studied the music recommendations for these profiles. Spotify didn't hang around a long time. They contacted the project leader, a professor, and questioned the working methods. Howwever, Spotify would not agree to meet and discuss the matter. Instead, they contacted the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), a public agency under the authority of the Ministry of Education and Research who funded the study. Spotify tried the language of force. Their spineless laywer wrote: "Spotify is particularly concerned about the information that has emerged regarding the research group’s methods in the project. The data indicate that the research team has deliberately taken action that is explicitly in violation of Spotify’s Terms of Use and by means of technical methods sought to conceal these breach of conditions. The research group has expanded, among other things, to artificially increase the number of gigs and manipulate Spotify’s services using script or other automated processes. Spotify assumes that the systematic breach of conditions has not been known to the Swedish Research Council and is convinced that the Swedish Research Council is convinced that the research undertaken with the support of the Swedish Research Council in all respects meets ethical guidelines and is carried out reasonably and in accordance with applicable law." Why the high pitch? Maybe because one of the researchers was insensitive enough to point out the fact that an early version of Spotify was built upon pirated mp3-files. This stain doesn't fit the untruthful storytelling of Spotify. Anyway, media soon picked up the story and Spotify was accused of threating free and independent research. The Spotify lawyer made history when he without any inhibition mixed terms of service, research ethics and national law. Spotify later claimed that the threat was a misunderstanding. And how did the Swedish Research Council react? Basically, they told Spotify to go home and "gratify" themselves.



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