Want Spotify? Get a Facebook account [UPDATE; Spotify responds]

spotify hearts facebook

Spotify is hedging its bets on Facebook — not a bad choice, but still a controversial one. Since the music streaming service was first rumored to be making its US debut, Facebook integration has been touted as an included feature and part of Spotify’s growth strategy. But now that the two are more than a little intertwined, users are calling foul.

Now that Spotify accounts are open in the U.S., potential customers are flocking to site only to find out that a Facebook profile is required in order to sign-up for the music service. The same is now true for Spotify’s European side, which has been operating since 2008. If you’re going to tie your fate to any business, Facebook is definitely the right one — but that doesn’t mean you can avoid consumer outrage.

Those who don’t currently have a Spotify account will see a message reading “You need a Facebook account to register for Spotify. If you have an account, just log in below to register. If you don’t have an account, get one by clicking the ‘create an account’ link below.”

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Plenty of websites have instituted a must-have-Facebook policy, but usually it’s in regards to commenting or integrating a smaller service into your Facebook account. The difference here is that Spotify is a big name that undoubtedly has the potential to exist on its own–it is already a hit overseas. It’s obviously getting a huge helping hand from Facebook integration, but it almost seems like it’s cheapening itself to little more than a Facebook add-on by going this route.

What’s possibly more indicative about Spotify’s Facebook-only requirements is that the social network’s Open Graph agenda is working. The immense amount of user information you’re able to get from the developer platform upgrade is more than a little tempting, but it’s still surprising when a company like Spotify goes all in and banks on a fully-dependent Facebook partnership. It means that you have no choice but to make the music experience a social one as well, and while plenty of statistics and reports about Facebook user habits show we want this, the handful that don’t are being inadvertently directed toward Spotify’s competitors. Of course, it makes us wonder if there are other media distribution companies that will take this same route in the future and lead to Facebook establishing a control the likes of which we haven’t seen.

And those who will turn to a music application that doesn’t include a Facebook ultimatum will be able to avoid the listening ticker updates. Syncing your Spotify listening to a friend’s is one of the best new features the integration has brought to the plate, but at the same time it has managed to overwhelm and annoy some users. If you’re one of them (or just want to keep embarrassing playlists to yourself), follow these steps:

  1. In Spotify, find and select “Preferences.”
  2. Find the Facebook section.
  3. Uncheck “Get personal recommendations by sending music you play to Facebook’s Open Graph.”

Simple enough. It gets a little more complicated if you want to share with a handful of friends:

  1. Go to your Facebook privacy settings.
  2. Find “Apps and websites.”

Under there, you should see Spotify. Then head to “App activity privacy.” From there you can pick and choose how your listening history makes its way to Facebook.

[UPDATE]

Spotify has responded to criticism concerning the obligatory Facebook integration. See below.

“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.”

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.”

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