Review of Spotify book in the American Book Review

In the latest issue of American Book Review, Robin James at UNC Charlotte, has written a longer review, “Financial Music” about our book Spotify Teardown. I have lost count on the numbers of reviews our book has received (which does not happen frequently with academic books). James, however, is one of few reviewers that focuses on the research ethics our book addresses. “The book is not so much a nuts-and-bolts analysis of how Spotify works so much as a critical account of why it works the way it does today. The book’s answer to this why can also help unpack the main question the authors address in the conclusion: though in violation of Spotify’s Terms of Service (ToS), was this research project unethical? … Spotify exists in its present form because of decisions made to make it valuable in a specific kind of (financialized) market. From its origins in music piracy to its current use of user data in programmatic advertising, these decisions often involve Spotify asserting a property right over stuff that doesn’t belong to it. For example, the ToS is a contract that creates a property right: Spotify owns data recording user behavior. Perhaps the authors violated that property right, but it’s clear the property right is itself unjust and exploitative.” A PDF of the review can be downloaded here: James Spotify Teardown Review ABR

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