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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Sept. 19, 2014

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Eyes off my Spotify.
Eyes off my Spotify.

Get outta my damned Spotify

Spotify is spilling my most clandestine activities to the world.

How do all my "friends" know I was jamming to Journey, belting out "Guys and Dolls" and balladeering The Carpenters?

Thanks to a "This is what your friends are listening to" toolbar that is integrated with Facebook, Spotify not only lets you listen to an endless catalog of music for free (pay for premium and you can enjoy the service in offline mode), but also broadcasts your sonic taste to pretty much everyone via that horrible timeline. (Because Gandalf FORBID anyone should do anything without posting it on Facebook these days.)

Changing your settings to "private session" may preserve your privacy. But, be warned – this feature only lasts for six hours, so be sure to make the effort to pull the virtual curtain each time you log in.

There is a personal element to listening to music that makes displaying what I'm listening to seem stalkertastic.

I don't choose to publicly share my music with the world and contribute to noise pollution by rolling down all the windows in my car while pumpin' the bass. I don't open the windows of my home with the stereo cranked to 11. I don't carry a boom box on my shoulder as I walk down the street, so why would I want everyone online to know the overture to my daily life?

Essentially, those who care now know exactly where you are because of the "location" and "check in" features on social media and can probably figure out exactly what you are doing there in relation to the music you are listening to.

While I totally appreciate the technology for the convenience it provides, in that I am not lugging or strapping an entire CD player and music library to myself when I go for a jog, I resent that it is invading my privacy.

I adore that I can "lease" music for a nominal fee each month, but I also don't like that it is enabling the Facebook world to discern my every move in relation to my playlist.

Specific songs provide the soundtrack to moments in my life and day that I'd rather remain sacred.

There are the tunes I listen to when I'm getting ready for the day.

The beats I primp to before I go out and party.

The soothing sounds that me feel better when I'm blue.

The ambiance melodies that set the mood ...

I now compulsively go into settings and assure myself that "private session" is checked. And if I really want to keep my playlist on the down low, I go classic style and use my mp3 player loaded with songs I own. No FB reports to splay my sonic choice across the net. Just my music and me.

For those sound wave spies who troll the Spotify sidebar, let me Lady Macbeth it for ya: "Get outta my damn'd Spotify! Out I say!"

Talkbacks

fatbinary | March 23, 2012 at 10:36 p.m. (report)

Another option if you'd like to collect the data on your timeline but not share is to: scroll to the bottom of Preferences, click Disconnect From Facebook, then click it again to Connect To Facebook, after the login screen you should see a selectable audience options menu under "Who can see posts by this app", select Only Me. You can now privately sift through all of your listening data without cluttering your friends' newsfeeds.

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