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Data Value Map of Spotify

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Information Technology
Wordcount: 2309 words Published: 23rd Sep 2019

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Describe the focus of the data value map, which could include (but not restricted to) one of the following: a data problem, a data project plan, an existing data process, or a data strategy/vision.

I decided to focus my data value map on the existing data process of Spotify who are a “digital music, podcast, and video streaming service that gives you access to millions of songs and other content from artists all over the world” [1].  Although it was mentioned to use our Final Year Project to complete this assignment, I didn’t feel I would gain a real understanding of the value my project’s data had, and therefore I decided I wanted to challenge myself by looking at a multinational company like Spotify who very much value their user’s personal data because as they said “your privacy and the security of your personal data is, and will always be, enormously important to us” [2].

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On 25th May this year the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect and that is a “regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA)” [3]. The export of personal data outside the EU and EEA areas is also addressed. The aim of this new regulation is to allow individuals to have control over their personal data and to “simplify the regulatory environment for international business by unifying the regulation within the EU” [3]. Spotify on their website outline their privacy policy that came into effect on the 25th May in line with the GDPR to ensure three things. Firstly, that we as users understand what personal data Spotify have collected on us, and the reasonings behind why they collect it and what they use it for, as well as who they share it with. Secondly, Spotify want to explain to us the way they use our personal data that we share with them in order to give us a great experience while using the Spotify Service. Lastly, they want to explain our rights and choices in relation to the personal data Spotify collect and process about us and how they will protect our privacy. In addition to this, you can access all your personal data from Spotify at ‘https://www.spotify.com/us/account/privacy/’ where Spotify will prepare your data file in up to 30 days in a downloadable file that will be available for 14 days for you to download. Below is an example of the email I received when I requested my personal data.

After requesting your personal data file if you feel the information is inaccurate, incomplete, or incorrect you have the right under the GDPR to rectification, to erasure, or to restrict your personal data. I wanted to focus my data value map on Spotify to help me understand their existing data process because Spotify is an application I use daily and this assignment will and already has helped me better understand what exactly it is of my personal information I am sharing.

I.            Describe the method of how you used the Data Value Map.

Before I began my data value map I asked myself three questions outlined below about why, what, and when data is acquired, integrated, analysed or delivered? By asking and answering these three questions about data before beginning my data value map it helped me to understand the importance of data in the Spotify Service and made the data value map much easier to fill out when the answers were clearly stated in front of me.

Why is the data acquired / integrated / analysed / delivered?

When you use the Spotify Service, Spotify use a variety of technologies to process the personal data they collect on you for various reasons and it’s important to understand why. Firstly, Spotify want to “provide, personalize, and improve your experience with the Spotify Service and other services and products provided by Spotify” [2] such as providing customised, personalized, or localized content. “To understand how you access and use the Spotify Service to ensure technical functionality of the Spotify Service, develop new products and services, and analyze your use of the Spotify Service” [2] such as your interaction with applications, advertising, products, and services that are make available, linked to, or offered through the Spotify Service. Data is needed for payment purposes to prevent or detect fraud. Spotify use data for communication with its users either for Spotify Service related purposes or through one of their partners for marketing and research or promotional etc. purposes. Lastly, to provide you with information such as advertising or features based on your specific location.

What data is acquired / integrated / analysed / delivered?

Your personal data is collected by Spotify in many ways and forms, firstly when you sign up for the Spotify Service. This is information provided by you to enable yourself to sign up and use the Spotify Service such as basic information like your email address, birth date, gender, postal code, and country. You will also have the option to provide Spotify with additional information to make your account more personalized. If you use a third party like Facebook to sign up, Spotify will receive personal data via. that third-party service if you consented.

Personal data is also collected from your use of the Spotify Service which may include information about your type of plan, information about your interactions such as the time and date of songs you listened to, playlists created etc. User content you post to Spotify including messages or interactions with the Spotify Customer Service team, Technical data such as your URL, cookies, IP address, and devices you’ve being accessing or connecting to Spotify on. Monition-generated mobile sensor data required for the purposes of providing specific features of the Spotify Service to you.

Data is collected through permission granted access which enables Spotify to provide you with additional features / functionality. With your consent Spotify can collect additional personal data from your mobile device such as your photos, your specific mobile device location, your voice data, and your contacts to enhance your Spotify Service experience. 

Lastly, Spotify collect payment data when you sign up for a free trail or purchase of a paid subscription.  You may allow permission to participate for contests, surveys, sweepstakes or marketing data. 

When is the data acquired / integrated / analysed / delivered?

Spotify collect personal data in just four different ways as previously mentioned. When you sign up for the Spotify Service, though your use of the Spotify Service, personal data collected that enables Spotify to provide you with additional features / functionality, and from third parties such as advertisers and partners Spotify work with.

Understanding the why, what, and when of Spotify’s personal data allowed me to create this data value map.

II.            Create a visual of the analysis.

III.            Describe the resulting impact (e.g. immediate reaction, future planned action).

The data value map clearly outlines the benefits to the data creator – Spotify, and to the data user – Spotify’s users. Spotify’s main purpose of collecting data for the user is “to provide, personalize, and improve your experience with the Spotify Service and other services and products provided by Spotify” [2]. Your personalized experience is provided to you though a selection of hand selected playlists that are “curated entirely by a machine learning algorithm that analyzes other users playlists finding commonalities between tracks to create a playlist just for you” [4].  Each user has a category in their library called ‘Make For You’ that comprises of

  • Discover Weekly
  • Release Radar
  • Four Daily Mixes
  • Your Time Capsule
  • Your Summer Rewind
  • The Ones That Got Away
  • Your Top Songs of 2017

Discover weekly was Spotify’s first and most popular personalized playlist that automatically appeared in users accounts every Monday. It analyses users listening history, focusing on the music they have recently played and compares that insight to the playlisting behaviours of others. “Scanning millions of playlists, the system finds tracks that are commonly listed alongside music with which a user is already familiar, and then groups those tracks together into a new, personalized playlist. It essentially takes the tried-and-true “people who like that, also like this” logic of collaborative filtering and applies it to the process of making a mixtape” [5]. Release radar is updated every Friday with new music from artists you listened to as well as new singles picked just for you. Daily mixes “comprised of songs you have saved or added to playlists, tracks by the same artists, and new music you may not know” [4]. These playlists are bottomless and ever-changing and impact the way Spotify users listen to music and what type of music they listen to.

Although the benefits for users are huge Spotify have learned so much through the use of their user’s personal data. Spotify is a data-driven company who uses big data, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning to drive their business success. Spotify to date have acquired 13 organisations with the most recent being Loudr in April 2018. Spotify is one of the most used music applications all over the world with over 100 million users they benefit from the large knowledge they have to personalized customer experience while also having millions of artists songs and albums available to listen to.



[1] Spotify. (2018). What is Spotify? – Spotify. [online] Available at: https://support.spotify.com/is/using_spotify/the_basics/what-is-spotify/.

[2] Spotify.com. (2018). Music for everyone.. [online] Available at: https://www.spotify.com/ie/legal/privacy-policy/#s6.

[3] En.wikipedia.org. (2018). General Data Protection Regulation. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Data_Protection_Regulation.

[4] Poreca, S. (2018). How Big Data Shows Big Results with Spotify – Level Blog. [online] Level Blog. Available at: https://www.northeastern.edu/levelblog/2018/04/27/big-data-shows-big-results-spotify/.

[5] Fast Company. (2018). Why Spotify’s Discover Weekly Playlists Are Such A Hit. [online] Available at: https://www.fastcompany.com/3054176/why-spotifys-discover-weekly-playlists-are-such-a-hit.


Why is the data acquired / integrated / analysed / delivered?

  • Personalize and improve your experience
  • To understand how you access and use the Spotify Service
  • Communication / communication for promotion
  • Payment
  • Location specific information (e.g. concerts)

What data is acquired / integrated / analysed / delivered?

  • Email address, birth date, gender, postal code, country
  • Plan, your interactions with Spotify Service, user content, technical data, motion-generated mobile sensor data
  • With permission from your mobile – photos, location, voice data, contacts
  • Payment data, promotion data, marketing data

When is the data acquired / integrated / analysed / delivered?

  • When you sign up for the Spotify Service
  • Through your use of the Spotify Service
  • Personal data collected that enables Spotify to provide you with additional features/functionality
  • From third parties

Who acquires / integrates / analyses / delivers the data?

  • Spotify
  • Third party applications you connect to your Spotify account
  • Third party application you use to log into Spotify
  • Support Community
  • Your Spotify followers
  • Artists & Record Labels


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