Review – Data, Driven: Spotify Under Surveillance

Angus Batey at The Quietus has written one of the best and most interesting reviews of or book, Spotify Teardown: Data, Driven: Spotify Under Surveillance. The book, it is argued, “contains a significant amount of material that needs to be fed into the wider debates around internet-enabled technologies in which the user is not the customer but an intrinsic component of the end product.” A particularly valuable insight from the book, Batey also states “is the authors’ gentle but sustained unpicking of the notion of a “tech platform”. This formulation, they suggest, is merely another means by which tech companies attempt to keep themselves more than a regulator’s arm length away from traditional media outlets. Describing themselves as “platforms” enables these businesses to insinuate that they should not be governed by the same laws that proscribe and regulate the activities of publishers. Like Facebook and Twitter, which use their “platform” status to avoid the responsibility for libel that a newspaper publisher has to accept, Spotify hides behind the designation when it wants to sidestep regulations that would apply to broadcasters – even though, by curating its playlists and presenting its service as an enabler to “music discovery”, it has long ceased to be a neutral connector of listeners and music.”