At F8, Facebook and Spotify hooked up. As reported by TechRadar, the seeds were sown last year, when deep Facebook integration was offered. However, the latest changes include a Facebook Music app that prominently features Spotify in your sidebar, and the ability to play music, for free, directly from your Facebook page (if Spotify itself is open). Naturally, you’ll be able to examine your friends’ terrible taste in music through the service, while tutting wildly that they don’t all listen to your favourite tunes.
Spotify outlines the service’s ‘social side’ on its website, extolling the virtues of sharing your libraries and playlists. However, the company has also made a much bigger and, for some, less welcome change: to sign-up for a new Spotify account, you must now use Facebook. On Get Satisfaction, Spotify employee ‘Darran’ confirmed this to be the case. “Unfortunately you will need a Facebook account to access Spotify from now on, unless you already have an account set up,” he said. “This does not stop you creating the Facebook account adding nothing to it and making it totally private as the Facebook account does not have to be actively used. [sic]”
We reached out to Spotify’s press department for reasoning on the change, and UK PR manager Sally Whatley told us: "To us, this is all about creating an amazing new world of music discovery. As most of our users are already social and have already connected to Facebook, it seemed logical to integrate Spotify and Facebook logins. We already use Facebook as part of our backend to power our social features and by adopting Facebook’s login, we've created a simple and seamless social experience. From today, all new Spotify users will need to have a Facebook account to join Spotify. Think of it as like a virtual 'passport', designed to make the experience smoother and easier, with one less username and password to remember. You don't need to connect to Facebook and if you do decide to, you can always control what you share and don't share by changing your Spotify settings at any time."
Developer Sean Reilly considers this move a “terrible idea”, arguing that he doesn’t want other services linked to his Facebook account. “My conspiracy theory is that they must have some kind of deal with Facebook. Unless Spotify is getting some kind of payment or customer referrals then I think they are crazy to require the Facebook login,” he adds. Independent web developer Andrew Dean thinks similarly: “I happily pay money to Spotify and use their service daily, but I’d rather make an investment in MySpace or Google+ to not have them use my details”. He considers that were he new to Spotify, he'd feel compelled to create a bogus account: “I sure as hell don't want a company like Facebook to have all my details.”
Feedback on Get Satisfaction and the wider web appears similarly unfavourable, but, for now at least, existing Spotify users can continue to avoid Facebook, although it remains to be seen if that’s permanent. Given the limitations on Facebook accounts for minors and concerns over privacy (not least with Nik Cubrilovic revealing that logging out isn’t enough to stop Facebook tracking your web-page visits), it also remains to be seen if the move will adversely affect Spotify’s business. If it does, Whatley hints other changes may be made: "We're constantly trying new things, always looking for feedback and we're always going to listen to our users, making changes based on this feedback wherever we can."