James Thompson
Nov 6, 2015

Spotify’s sickening terms of disservice create a feeling of 'ek'

Allow me to propose a new word: ‘ek’, which means: “to feel queasy at the risk of being violated by an overpowerful marketing ploy”.

James Thompson
James Thompson

The word is inspired, of course, by Spotify’s CEO, one Daniel Ek.

To quote Spotify’s new terms of service: “With your permission, we may collect information stored on your mobile device, such as contacts, photos or media files.” Spotify also wants to track your location, see what you like and post on Facebook, and use all this “to make the user experience better”. Oh yes, and to target you with ads—perhaps they forgot to mention that part.

Spotify claims that “the privacy and security of our customers’ data … is our highest priority”. In a post-Ashley-Madison world, though, this promise means little. And the more data held, the more catastrophic the breakdown could be—first for individuals, and then for the company, which will most likely no longer be trusted.

Much has been written about the ability of today’s consumers to investigate the trustworthiness of brands. But for how much longer will this be true when firms can see, aggregate, share and sell data, all at the click of a box? It would take years to read all the terms and conditions so regularly ‘updated’ by our digital masters, so it is reasonable to assume that few people do.

It is surely time for a solid consensus to protect the real and perceived integrity of marketing, wherein consumers aren’t expected to submit themselves to intrusive scrutiny and potential misuse by online service providers, let alone potential unintended security disaster. Those of us who want the freedom to market responsibly in the future should fight against those whose overriding ambition makes us feel a bit ek.

James Thompson is global managing director of Diageo Reserve (Diageo’s luxury portfolio). Follow or tweet him @JamesThompson1

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