Spotify Threatened Researchers Of Upcoming Tell-All Book Not To Reveal Its ‘Pirate’ Past


Spotify legalAn upcoming book, “Spotify Teardown – Inside the Black Box of Streaming Music,” aims to tell the company’s history including some secrets’ that the globe’s biggest music streamer would apparently rather not share.

______________________________________

Rasmus Fleischer

Author Rasmus Fleischer

A five-person research team, funded by the Swedish Research Council, was tasked with an exhaustive study of Spotify’s beginnings and how the streamer works.  Now, one of the team’s members, early Pirate Bay co-hort  Rasmus Fleischer,  has co-written a book that reveals early practices and secrets that Spotify prefers were never be shared publicly.

“Spotify Teardown. Inside the Black Box of Streaming Music” will be published by MIT Press in 2018. But during its research, a Spotify lawyer tried to stop the team. 

One apparent reason for the attempted cease and desist was the researcher’s discovery that early versions of Spotify from May 2007 to October 2008, allegedly streamed unlicensed tracks.  Another were the researchers experiments into whether or not Spotify plays could be manipulated. “For example, some hundreds of robot users were created to study whether the same listening behavior results in different recommendations depending on whether the user was registered as male or female,” Fleischer told TorrentFreak.

“On May 19, our project manager received a letter from Benjamin Helldén-Hegelund, a lawyer at Spotify. The timing was hardly a coincidence. Spotify demanded that we ‘confirm in writing’ that we had ‘ceased activities contrary to their Terms of Use’,” according to Fleischer .

But the Swedish Research Council disagreed and will continue to fund the research.

“It must be acknowledged that Spotify’s threats have taken both time and power from the project. This seems to be the purpose when big companies go after researchers who they perceive as uncomfortable. It may not be possible to stop the research but it can be delayed,” Fleischer says. “Sure [Spotify] dislikes people being reminded of how the service started as a pirate service. But instead of inviting an open dialogue, lawyers are sent out for the purpose of slowing down researchers.”