Spotify Finally Launches In Germany — And Immediately Hits Data Protection Problems
from the one-thing-after-another dept
The music streaming service Spotify has adopted a rather unusual pattern of launches around the world. Founded in Sweden, it spread gradually to various parts of Europe, and only later arrived in the US. The main reason for this slow rollout seems to have been difficulty striking licensing deals with the major recording companies.
That’s also why Spotify has only just launched in the important market of Germany. The main problem is the notoriously unhelpful German music collection society GEMA. Surprisingly, Spotify still doesn’t have a license, but it turns out that’s only one of its problems in the country. Via Twitter, Arjan points out that Germany’s Federal Commissioner for Data Protection, Peter Schaar, and Berlin’s Data Protection Commissioner, Alexander Dix, are both unhappy with Spotify, since it seems to be incompatible with Germany’s data protection laws (German original.)
The problem arises from the fact that Spotify requires users to have a Facebook account to sign up. That means it is not possible to use the service anonymously or pseudonymously — as required by German law. It’s not yet clear what the data protection commissioners intend to do about this — Dix, for example, is simply recommending that Spotify changes its business model to render it compatible with German laws.
It’s rather appropriate that when Spotify launches in Germany, a country well-known for its concerns about privacy, it should encounter problems in this area — just as it was probably inevitable that soon after its arrival in the US, Spotify was sued for alleged patent infringement.