Spotify demands Facebook membership in order to join

26 Sep 2011

Music service provider Spotify has made a controversial decision to only allow users to sign up if they have a Facebook account. Does Facebook now own Spotify’s soul?

The news last week that music provider Spotify was among a dozen other music providers who got into bed with Facebook to supercharge its new digital entertainment hub appears to have mired by this latest controversy.

Effectively Spotify’s future is linked forever with Facebook. In fact, Facebook may as well have bought Spotify, in a strange way perhaps they have?

Visitors to Spotify’s home page are being told they need a Facebook account in order to register for the music service, which has 10m users.

Ticker tapes

At F8 last week Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg took the lid off Timeline, a new way of sharing your life and experiences with your Facebook friends.

At the same time it took the mystery out of its new Ticker feature, which is designed to turn your Facebook experience into a digital entertainment hub where friends share music, books, media and more.

However, how high have various digital media providers such as Spotify have had to jump in order to be part of this compelling new movement in media? Will other providers like Rhapsody and Rdio implement similar rules?

Did Facebook demand a pound of flesh or perhaps Spotify sees a more logical, technological reason for this new departure.

Either way it seems tickled pink with its new friendship with Facebook and wants to be the soundtrack to most of our social lives.

In addition to the new rule about having to have a Facebook profile to use Spotify, the company has also announced that it is eliminating Spotify Open.

“Everybody who listens to Spotify for free will simply have a Spotify account,” the company said in a blog.

“All Spotify accounts come with a  six month time-limit honeymoon! During this time, there’s no limit to the amount of ad-supported music you can enjoy. After six months, you’ll be limited to 10 hours of streaming a month and a 5-play limit for any individual track. Unless, of course, you’ve subscribed by then!” Spotify said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years