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Why does Spotify Wrapped want so many personal details?

Spotify Wrapped
Spotify Wrapped is a great feature, but what information are you giving up in return?

Spotify Wrapped is a nifty service that analyses all the songs and podcasts you’ve listened over the year to produce a bumper pack of audio treats.

First, there’s the curiosity factor. You’ll discover what you’ve been listening to, how many hours you’ve lost to the service and other curios, such as what device you’ve mainly listened to them on.

It also creates your own top 100. That is, the 100 tracks you’ve listened to most over the course of the year. And, being Spotify, it turns that into a playlist that you can revisit whenever you like.

spotify wrapped
Spotify creates your a playlist based on your top 100 songs of the year

I’m also fond of the “Tastebreaker” list. Here, it presents a playlist of tracks you’ve never listened to – possibly from genres you’ve barely touched.

How can you get Spotify Wrapped?

It’s pretty darn easy to get Spotify Wrapped. First, I recommend you log in to Spotify in your web browser.

This means you’ll already be logged in when you visit the SpotifyWrapped.com website, which will prompt you to connect your Spotify account.

Before you press the big green Okay button, though, take a look at the sections below on what information you’re giving away.

spotify wrapped privacyAssuming you are happy, press Okay, sit back and enjoy. Within the web browser, you’ll see a stylish multi-page presentation that shows what you’ve been up to.

spotify wrapped
Pick the biggest number. Trust me.

Oh, and when it asks you to pick between three choices for number of hours you’ve been listening to the service, just pick the highest figure. From my family’s experience, that’s always the right one.

What data do you give up to make this happen?

If there’s one thing that 2018 has taught us, it’s that we need to be careful with data. So what data are you handing over to this site? After all, this isn’t wrapped.spotify.com (or a subdomain of the main spotify.com site) but a new site called spotifywrapped.com.

The good news is that I did a check on whois.com and spotifywrapped.com is managed by Ports Group, which handles of all Spotify’s websites.

So what information are you giving away? In short, pretty much everything Spotify knows about you apart from payment and address details. It can:

  • Read your publicly available information
  • Access your subscription details
  • Manage your private playlists
  • Play music and control playback on your other devices
  • Read your top artists and tracks

We’re not big fans of the ambiguous “access your subscription details”. Is that my home address? Visa card details? Time to speak to Spotify…

The Spotify explanation

I asked Spotify’s support service what it meant by “subscription details” and received this response:

The reason why you’re seeing your subscription details whenever you try to view your Spotify Wrapped is because the web page requires you to log in, so it can gather your account information and produce your Spotify Wrapped.

I pressed on. Like Paxman, but without the passive aggressive anger. What do you mean by subscription details?

Your subscription details consist your type of subscription, whether you’re on Premium or Free, and your payment information.

Red flag alert. Why, I asked, would this separate website need to know my payment information?

Not specifically your payment information, but your account information. In order for Spotify to gather your account info, such as your streaming info, you’ll need to log in to the web page which is connected to your account overview page.

After some to-ing and fro-ing, it became clear that actually your payment information is kept safe. In fact, it just wants to check if you’re on a Free or Premium plan.

Why, I asked? Won’t it work for free accounts?

It will, but there will only be a slight difference on how the Spotify Wrapped will be presented for Free users depending on the account information relevant for the Spotify Wrapped gathered by Spotify.

And that’s where I left it. For both our sakes. But it’s always worth checking what data you hand over, even to reputable services such as Spotify.

READ THIS NEXT: Spotify web player: how can I access it and what does it do?

About the author

Tim Danton

Tim Danton is editor-in-chief of PC Pro magazine and has written about technology since 1999. He enjoys playing with gadgets, playing with words and playing tennis. Email tim@bigtechquestion.com

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