Magnus Boman on Mon, 9 Oct 2017 21:17:48 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Spotify Threatened Researchers Who Revealed ‘Pirate’ History

Most importantly, I can confirm the pirating part as I was using the Beta, and thought at the time it was a cool thing to do. Unlike Fleischer, I did not have my own music or stuff I produced pirated, but looking at the money I get from plays it would not have mattered much to the economy of my companies. But this pirating was only in Beta mode, mind you.
Inline, some nagging about your reporting  ->

On Fri, Oct 6, 2017 at 10:19 PM Geert Lovink <> wrote:

This story is about algorithmic transparency, and the way platforms have come to interfer in public opinion. 

Spotify attempted to shut down a publicly funded research project because it did not like the project’s findings. 
TF reports that Fleischer said:
“For example, some hundreds of robot users were created to study whether the same listening behavior results in different recommendations depending on whether the user was registered as male or female,” he says.
It seems the company only reacted to Terms of Use-violations, in letters to researchers and the council alike, so why "attempted to shut down"? The researchers ran hundreds of robots over VPN, so a pretty clear violation, no? Which Fleischer himself admits, it is in the Di reporting (in Swedish). Di also reports that Spotify stated that they were only complaining about this, nothing else. This is one of the most prestigious research council in Northern Europe, they do not listen to what industry thinks, normally. With this backdrop, your email title is a bit dramatic.
... The project strictly adhers to ethical guidelines and received the Council’s highest ranking for method innovation. ...
The council ranked the project application, not the project. (I am myself currently funded by that same council for part of my research, subject to the same rules as Fleischer et al.) 
For balance, no mention of the fact that the council is using Swedish tax payer money to fund a project that chooses to disseminate by publishing a book about Spotify on MIT Press in 2018 with the title "Spotify Teardown. Inside the Black Box of Streaming Music" - makes me wonder where the royalties will end up...I will stay tuned.

[Bias declaration: I have recently supervised a master student at Spotify for a data science project, and I have had research exchanges with their machine learning groups in NYC and Stockholm, for fun but not for profit.]
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