After Downloadify became available on Google Chrome Web Store for a brief time yesterday, the Spotify development team moved quickly to shut down access that allowed Spotify subscribers to download any of the 20 million songs available on the music subscription service. Specific to the Spotify Web player, the Downloadify Chrome extension, when installed, would display a simple prompt that allowed users to save a DRM-free version of the song that was currently playing. Google quickly banned the extension from the Chrome Web Store, but the extension was made available on GitHub as well.
According to the language in the Chrome Web Store developer agreement, Google does not approve of “the development or publication of Products, that…infringes on the intellectual property rights of others or enables the unauthorized download of streaming content or media.” Downloadify clearly violated that restriction.
While Spotify officials have not released an official comment on the exploit, the Downloadify Chrome extension installed from the Chrome Web Store and the software on GitHub does not work correctly anymore.
The Downloadify creator, Robin Aldenhoven of South Holland, has been active on Twitter and blames Spotify for a lack of encryption on the HTML5-based Spotify Web player. According to Aldenhoven’s recent tweets, he advocates paying for Spotify’s service, but created the Downloadify exploit to bring attention to the missing encryption. Aldenhoven doesn’t plan to continue development of the Downloadify application, but is leaving the software available on GitHub for the community.
As of March 2013, Spotify hit a total of six million paying subscribers and is collecting between $30 to $60 million par month from the subscriber base. Spotify also has an additional 18 million users listening to music within the free version of the player and serves advertisements to those users. Regarding music content, the company is currently in negotiations with two of the three major labels in regards to renewing their licensing agreement this year.
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