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A Note about Spotify Transfers (songshift.com)
402 points by davidbarker 43 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 170 comments

Seems like an obvious and sane target for antitrust legislation - compare with e.g. the mobile number portability directive in the EU way back in 2002.

Related opinion piece:

> Data portability: An antitrust weapon for the digital economy? (Le Monde, 2018)


> In concrete terms, what would portability in the digital economy look like? Let us imagine we could easily transfer our playlists between online music platforms (Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music, etc.), our files between cloud service providers (Google Drive, DropBox, OneDrive, etc.), our purchase records between online retailers (Amazon, CDiscount, Zalando, etc.) or our social graph between social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc). By limiting platform lock-in, such measures would significantly intensify competition within these market segments.

The irony is that Spotify is a partner in the app store fairness coalition (https://appfairness.org/).

I consider their developer platform[1] to be an app store of sorts, and they do not play fair when it comes to holding onto their market power in certain areas.

Anyone have a contact in the App Fairness Coalition to raise these points with?

[1] https://developer.spotify.com/community/showcase/

Yeah, seriously. There isn’t some higher ideal — every company is in it for themselves and then works on justifying the policy that will further their interests through such coalitions.

No doubt that the same company that sends a cease and desist to a developer who provides an export feature would act the same way as Apple if they were in its shoes.

According to Spotify’s own site [0], their users have

> ...the right to request a copy of your personal data in electronic format and the right to transmit that personal data for use in another party’s service...

[0] https://www.spotify.com/us/legal/privacy-policy/#s3

Why can’t a transfer service just use that file?

Perhaps, it doesn’t include playlists or liked artists/albums/songs?

I've just requested my data. When I get it I'll take a look and see if it contains playlist information and either edit this comment or post a reply to myself if the edit window has closed with the results. They say it can take up to 30 days to process.

Here's a previous discussion of someone getting the full dataset: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17681289

Tried the GDPR data export from Spotify. By default, you get like 6 JSON files with almost nothing. After many emails and complaining and a month of waiting, I got a 250MB archive with basically EVERY INTERACTION I ever did with any Spotify client, all my searches. Everything.

I got the results. It contains playlists.

> They say it can take up to 30 days to process.

What the heck...

My current day-job is a multi-tenant SaaS system - every single entity in any of our heterogenous databases is tagged with a tenant identifier (it's also used in composite PKs/FKs in RDBMS databases to prevent incorrect inter-tenant references). Every database system we use (MSSQL, MySQL, Cassandra, etc) has some way to query itself (INFORMATION_SCHEMA, system_schema, etc) which allows for query-generation to generate queries that will reliably dump all data we have associated with any tenant (and by extension, any user) within seconds, even if there's been some ad-hoc or unplanned database design changes (this is the only time I use "SELECT *" in production code!) - this is from a weekend project where I wrote a simple web-application that generates and runs those queries and dumps data to CSV files for tables and JSON for document-stores, shoves them into a zip and uploads them to Azure Blob storage. I didn't build it for GDPR compliance but actually to allow me to undo any unintentional data-deletion without needing to do a full database restore.

My operation's scale is nothing compared to Spotify - but if a tool I built in a couple of days can reliably dump all data about a subject across multiple independent cloud databases within seconds - what's Spotify's excuse?

It's obviously not a technical problem. The 30 days comes from the GDPR legislation. Spotify is just behaving like an obnoxious child that needs a good smackdown from the EU. Howevever the GDPR also stipulates that this needs to happen without "undue delay".

I'm not a lawyer specializing in EU law, but I think this wording was put there for the precise reason of being able to punish companies that behave like that.

They'll get to them eventually.

I don't think that's fair. If the law sets the limit at 30 days, there is no reason to do it sooner than 30 days. It is obviously a money-losing proposition to do it quickly, and the only reason it's an option at all is because of the law. I guess that makes it a reasonable compromise -- everyone is equally unhappy, but the world is a slightly better place.

The reality is that "30 days" translates to "someone will run a script manually once a month" whereas something like "100 milliseconds" would force you to have automation. It's a reasonable tradeoff for rare events. There is a lot less engineering effort required, and that makes it cheaper.

> there is no reason to do it sooner than 30 days

There is. Any tiny issue puts you past 30 days and invites a slap from the regulator. There's a lot of space between 100ms and 30 days. If you can't run your monthly process twice a day instead for example, you're most likely delaying on purpose - that's the "undue delay" part.

There's a company I know which decided not to pay any invoices until the last possible moment - which one day resulted in the electricity being cut to an office building with hundreds of people. Do you think that was a good decision in the end?

You are reacting on just one part of the directive, even though I just told you about you another part. Seriously? What's the point?

This seems like an extraordinarily hostile inference to draw from Spotify's statement about the maximum amount of time it'll take. Do you have some specific reason to think Spotify is engaging in undue delay?

As someone else mentioned, there's a legal maximum, and I think a company is also held to their quoted timeframe (and they may be required to quote a timeframe as well).

Additionally, having a delay can be useful to make it harder for someone to take over your account, and grab all your data; especially if there's sensitive data that might not be otherwise accessible or enumeratable through the UI or API.

The 30 day figure is likely derived from the legal limit under GDPR for a Subject Access Request (one calendar month).

Why commit to a tighter SLA than you legally have to?

Exactly. I’d be surprised if it actually takes 30 days, but there’s no point to them quoting something faster.

This is a very naive view "If I can do <X> in Y time, why can't <insert some company>?".

Any large company has a tens, hundreds, or even thousands of different teams who may own a system with some data that identifies you as a customer. Presumably, they're on the hook for serving you (the customer) all of this data when you ask for it. Honestly, I'd hate to be a legal counsel at a company having to sift through every attribute/data column trying to figure out what we "have" to return vs. what we can probably keep hidden as a trade secret, but I digress.

Anyway, there's no guarantee that even half of the systems storing this data were designed with GDPR (or whatever privacy-related) compliance in mind.

Consider a system that's storing nested JSON blobs with customer-identifying data several layers deep. You happen to be on a team that owns this mission critical system. Your legal department gets you to prioritize some dev work to build a system to quickly extract this data.

You'll (probably) do it in the most cost effective manner – it might mean rearchitecting your system if the cost of extracting that data is very high. It could be that you have the tools to extract this data very quickly and so you just need to plug and play. Or there's at least one more scenario where such an operation is so expensive (and impacting on your main business function) that you accumulate a bunch of requests (i.e. 30 day window) and run some ETL to get all the customer data and respond on the compliance requests. So with that approach it's definitely not a real-time or near real-time response.

And my example scenarios here are actually pretty simplistic for a large company. Imagine the scenarios where you have N customer records with some loose notion of an evolving schema over the years. You're not even sure how to query that data or transform it... or your automation works 98% of the time to pull the customer data but 2% of the time it fails, and so you have to time (legally) to manually have an engineer fix that edge case (depending on how expensive that work is) or the engineer manually goes and pulls your data, accounting for whatever edge case that was discovered.

The more data you store about a customer, the "harder" this would get.

I would probably use data retention policies to drop as much data as I can, although I'm sure at a large company, your business customers push back: "Oh we've never had to use that data set, but we want you to keep it because we might use it to build features for some new ML model in the future or to solve other problem <Y>".

You’re not wrong (and I’ve upvoted you too) - but given the importance of complying with the spirit of the GDPR and other consumer-first regs - especially given that Spotify is HQ in the EU they should be doing more. You do set-out a reasonable explanation for non-immediate data-dumps, but from the evidence I believe companies like Spotify and many others intentionally drag their feet and do the bare minimum, at least in-part, to discourage requests. Of course that also makes it bloody obvious too. More telling is the fact that they aren’t being transparent about it either. If they posted a simple statement explaining in-not-too-much-technical-detail why it takes so long that would be a start.

I've done that. Ignoring that it takes a few days to receive a dumb, what you get is just a subset of data.

I've been a Spotify user for over half a decade, but the oldest date I could find in the dump was a little over two years ago.

I then contacted their support asking for all data, but I've made a mistake of contacting them with a wrong email address (which lead to them being unable to find my account) and I haven't bothered since.

In the best case scenario, I'd say it takes a week to get the entire dump, which is not very convenient for switching to a competitor.

I haven't tried doing so with Spotify, but basically it's typically too complicated and slow (see other comments) to be practically useful for the typical consumer of today.

It doesn't include any standardized/machine-readable identifiers.

For example, the Spotify API track-level responses always contain the ISRC [1], but the JSON files contained in the GDPR request don't.

Spotify clearly does only the bare minimum required by the law and even actively frustrates GDPR requests by taking the maximum allowed time to respond to them.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Standard_Recordi...

Also, it runs afoul of sections of GDPR.

I don't agree that Spotify has to let users transfer Spotify curated playlists as that is a business strength. Songshift seems to show Spotify curated playlists on their homepage like Discover Weekly so I can see why Spotify won't like this.

But if my understanding of GDPR is right they have to allow users to transfer playlists created by themselves.

Right. Forgot that.

Regarding GDPR and data portability:

In practise you can expect to receive a (link to a) zip file via email with a bunch of XML documents after going through a convoluted dance. Also, it often takes some time (days) to receive the data. Basically, nothing that can easily be automated by a third part service - you need user auth of the requesting user to access the data.)

"You must comply with a request for data portability without undue delay and at the latest within one month of receipt of the request"

I guess it's because data portability isn't trivial, and it was wasn't the key aspect of GDPR.

As a contrast: The EU mobile number portability legislation says: max 1 working day.

Carriers pay to port numbers to a neutral third party that maintains the Number Portability service. In the US, that used to be $6 per number port (which is basically just a DB row update operation) but a new vendor has reduced it by more than half. Carriers view that expense as pocket change as subscriber acquisition cost is well over $100 in total.

Without a legislative mandate and a third party integration partner that assures the port is successful, seems unlikely that a market leader like Spotify would ever allow them to exist.

Yeah, data portability is hard to define as a strict standard as it is extremely product specific.

Even when we implemented it for my last company, we did JSON exports on signed S3 paths. I thought structured data was the easiest way for any competitor or user to use their data.

I feel they could have included a clause that would let a designated third party access the extracted data on the requester's behalf in an automated way.

I think it could have worked pretty well to keep it as vague as that. (The auth aspects would need more detail, obviously.)

I don't think data format fragmentation is a big issue (just implement adapters for the top five competitors in your market...), but rather the impossibility of doing it in a quick and seamless manner on behalf of someone wanting to migrate their data to your service from some other service.

> I feel they could have included a clause that would let a designated third party access the extracted data on the requester's behalf in an automated way.

Yeah, this would have been nice. I am not sure if legally you could enforce that as automation itself is vague and depends on the source and target both.

> I don't think data format fragmentation is a big issue (just implement adapters for the top five competitors in your market...), but rather the impossibility of doing it in a quick and seamless manner on behalf of someone wanting to migrate their data to your service from some other service.

I think if companies were being honest in their efforts for data portability, as a first step they would not try to reap the benefit of the 30 day window by as much as they can.

For most, it should take mins or hours to get the export yet the best turnaround I have seen from any service has been from Tinder, it was I think 3 days.

This really depends on the service. In my experience, Netflix and Facebook took only a few hours to export the data.

> just implement adapters for the top five competitors in your market

Is there anything to prevent the export file format from shifting regularly? You know, for ongoing product improvement reasons, naturally.

Which ones? GDPR guarantees "right to data portability", not "right to an open API". I'm sure they could give you a CSV if you personally write to them and still be compliant.


tpmx 43 days ago [flagged]

Lol. A jingoist.

I’m pretty sure it’s a violation of community standards to use a person’s country of origin as an insult or slur. Are you intentionally trying to denigrate a people group?

I apologize. I edited the comment accordingly.

jtbayly 43 days ago [flagged]

Lol. Nice.

Anyway, let me know when the GDPR actually helps with something instead of just making the internet more of a usability train wreck.

I'm pretty sure it has helped a lot already.

The key part is the "the don't keep data around forever just because you can" part.

Sure, the GDPR got a bit bloated, but I honestly believe most europeans lives got a little bit better because of it.

Edit: I think you're thinking about that horrible cookie warning law. That one needs to burned to the ground.

It's not even just European lives that got better because of GDPR, we're all benefiting from having big companies forced to comply with it. I have used the "Right to erasure" multiple times with American companies just by saying I'm from Europe.

Awesome hack :) How are they going to begin to validate the you're a EU citizen?

It's probably easier for most companies to just comply with all requests than to bother with verifying the citizenship of each requester.

This one is clearly anti-competive and I hope someone will help them out and pick it up. This is the most obvious requirement for the future of preventing these monopolies. The ability to get your data out.

Keep in mind this doesn't actually "copy the files" but creates songs and playlist entries in another service, so nothing nefarious is happening. Spotify is just salty there's a service that allows to quickly find the same songs elsewhere.

Somewhat bemusingly, Spotify has an IFTTT applet that does nearly the same thing called "Automatically add your saved tracks in Spotify to a Google spreadsheet".


Songshift could allow users to add their own API keys to allow transfers at their own risk.

...and spotify would then sue SongShift. Because why not? Even if you can empirically prove that SongShift is in the right and the API keys belong to the end users, Spotify would only need to litigate long enough for SongShift to give in, settle and disable such a feature again. That's how this game works.

Not everywhere.

I mean, wouldn't this worldview imply that literally any company with cash will be able to cause any company with less cash to do whatever they wanted?

The golden rule: he who has the gold makes the rules.

Looks like not old saved tracks so no bulk export.

Playing devil’s advocate here. But, I think it can be bad for Spotify if the user copies the playlist that’s being curated by Spotify to another streaming service. It’s good for them if they could add some friction to it by, you know—manually copy it and doesn’t let it update automatically every time they make a change to the playlist—by shutting down the API for this kind of request altogether.

It’s not about “allows user to quickly find the same songs elsewhere”, because if you’re not ready for that then you shouldn’t probably be in this business in the first place.

This is exactly what I use SongShift for :D

Apple's "New Music Mix" is absolute shit compared to Spotify's "Discover Weekly". Most of the stuff Spotify suggests to me are either complete bangers or listen-worthy at worst.

Apple's stuff though... It's like they don't have ANY intelligence in the system at all. I listen to 80's gangsta-rap once, then I get modern mumblerap shit for months and months.

BUT I do love how Apple Music integrates with my iOS devices and I think the sound quality is better. So I just use Songshift to sync the discovery playlists to AM (semi)automatically.

Apple Music is shit. Period. I rage quit the 6 month free trial the other day after “Siri, play the US top charts” resulted in “Sure, here’s the top charts in Serbia”. I’m not in Serbia. Their discovery is crap, YouTube has better music recommendations, most EDM is missing. No value in it at all.

I quit the trial because the web app was totally broken. Not only was it super slow, it was buggy. Clicking a song would often play a different one in the list and it would regularly get stuck trying to play a song.

> “Sure, here’s the top charts in Serbia”. I’m not in Serbia. Their discovery is crap

That's exactly the sort of unexpected "music discovery" I'd be looking for. ;-)

Yeah. I thought everyone knew Apple Music is shit wrt their recommendations.

I don't understand how many people seem to praise Spotify for their "Discover Weekly", it's been consistently shit for me for the past 2 years if not more. there's about 10 german songs in one of my playlists and I consistently get german tunes I don't care for and it doesn't seem to stop. On the other hand, I have a fair bit of French songs in about 3 or 4 playlists and yet have never gotten a recommendation of French stuff...

I've tried to understand how the algo somewhat works to suggest stuff but with no luck... I keep hitting the don't like this song or artist and yest somehow I still manage to get dreadful recommendations each week :(

Btw, I wish Spotify would expand further on Discover Weekly/Release Radar:

- a builtin weekly personal archive of DW/RR

- a "get me more more interesting music in this style based on other peoples recommendations" button


It's not exactly what you're asking for, but a few years ago I started creating a new playlist at the start of each month, naming it "<Month> <Year>", and I add any songs I'm enjoying that month.. Most of them come from Discover Weekly or Release Radar, but sometimes for other sources.

It's an easy and interesting way to go back in time and see what I was listening to etc..

I have a "house rule" where I never remove any songs from them after the fact. If I added it, then it stays.

At the end of the year, I try to pick 2 songs from each month to make a curated "Best of <Year>" and then compare that to the algorithmic one that Spotify sends me.

Anyways, it's been a really fun thing and a reasonable substitute for DW/RR archives.

Although this probably doesn't work for me (see entire post) I really like this idea.

I still got my Starred playlist from back when you couldn't like. Been using dual like and Starred ever since they added like list. Since Starred playlist still contains dates, I could retroactively do what you did. However there would be some months with a lot and some with (almost) none and I have a tendency to hyperfocus on certain genres/artists for a while which might split but not on exact start of month.

I think you just gave me a new project idea!

I’ve used IFTT successfully to run a weekly sync from the current Discover Weekly into a special DW Archive playlist so I don’t lose each weeks suggestions. It’s gotten the job done well.

Yeah, Spotify has even contributed offical IFTTT triggers:


I think this functionality belongs in the core experience.

Tidal auto makes a “most listened” playlist for your all time, for each month, and for the year. It’s a neat feature.

>Most of the stuff Spotify suggests to me are either complete bangers or listen-worthy at worst.

Can I ask you how many songs are in your Liked playlist? It's a lucky week if I find 3 songs that I like in my Discover Weekly. The rest are forgettable at best, often terrible. I think I am not using Spotify the way I'm supposed to, because i find it really hard to discover new music I like.

My Discover Weekly was really garbage awhile back until I made an effort to listen to a bunch of music of different genres that I'm into for a week or two. Also make a point to favorite stuff you'd actually like to listen to again.

It really improved after that and it's typically pretty great (with some weeks being exceptions). For reference, I've got 1,272 tracks in "Liked".

This is actually a fine thing for Spotify since you’re still paying for both.

Now that they’ve threatened songshift they’re forcing you to make a choice (or manually sync).

Hopefully you won’t choose Spotify.

Couldn't you do this on the Spotify free tier?

There’s a simple solution to this, and that is to only allow playlist-level API access where the playlist author matches the account making the request. Users can transfer out any playlists they created, while Spotify keeps Rap Caviar or whatever exclusive to the service.

I think this will push me to finally just jump to Apple Music (even though it’s worse and will now be harder to do, plus I’ll miss discover weekly).

Spotify’s attack on podcasts with exclusivity and trying to destroy the open standard really bothers me: https://stratechery.com/2020/dithering-and-the-open-web/

Now with this I just don’t have much respect for them.

When paired with their complaining about Apple’s policies being unfair it makes me really dislike them, they don’t care about their users or what’s best for them. It wouldn’t surprise me if soon I have to call and beg them to cancel my subscription like Sirius XM.

FreeYourMusic also still works, so if you want to do this download it quickly before Spotify forces them to break the feature.

Hi, founder of FreeYourMusic here. It will still work, Spotify tried to block us just the same two years ago. We then switched to different method of integration to not be legally bound via SDK agreements.

We are still operational and have Spotify export working. If they won't let you through doors, we get in via window. ️

We do not expect any platforms to be limited on FYM.FM in near future.

I just switched to Tidal in protest of Spotify’s support of that nonsense app alliance and their constant attacks on the podcast ecosystem.

I really miss when they were laser focused on music. If they drop their bad business practices, I will switch back. For now I’m really feeling the need for competition.

Heads up, Apple Music doesn’t sound as good as Spotify, unfortunately. Tidal is better overall in my experience and as far as I can tell they’re not being anticompetitive in any way.

I switched to Tidal about 8 months ago (from Spotify) and I have to say about the only thing it has going for it is the slightly better sound quality.

Otherwise it is completely inferior to Spotify in each and every way, starting with the core functionality that is a train wreck, at least on macOS. I regularly have issues with the scrobbler getting out of sync, recently playback stops after ~5 seconds when waking my mac from sleep and I have to restart it. The experience is just a mess.

On top of that it is 2x the price of Spotify. I am seriously thinking switching back to Spotify just because the SQ difference is not worth the disaster that comes with it.

For what it's worth, Tidal pays its artists a whole lot more per stream than Spotify does.[1] That's the main reason I'm subscribed to Tidal.

[1] https://www.dittomusic.com/blog/how-much-do-music-streaming-...

That’s fair, Tidal is definitely not as good as Spotify in terms of software quality. It hasn’t affected me too badly, but I definitely miss Spotify connect and CarPlay has been spotty.

I’m fully making the switch as protest of business practices, not because Tidal is already better. I hope Tidal gets there but if they don’t I’ll have to reevaluate eventually. I hope Spotify just apologizes for being shitty so I can go back to them.

The one alternative that no one is discussing here is to abandon music streaming and go back to owning our own collections. Yes, it's more work to go through and buy tracks or albums, but once you've done it, you're completely free to listen to them however you want. That also seems to be the best deal for artists that aren't superstars.

> Heads up, Apple Music doesn’t sound as good as Spotify, unfortunately

That's funny, just a few comments up there's someone saying that Apple Music sounds better than Spotify

I've tried both and... don't actually hear much of a material difference between the two. If I understand correctly, Apple's using their old standby of 256Kbps AAC and Spotify uses 320Kbps Vorbis, so Spotify is slightly better on the technical merits -- but they're both at sufficiently high quality that audio nerds would be demanding anyone who claims a definitive difference do some blind ABX testing to prove it.

I ended up sticking with Apple Music after my Spotify Premium trial ran out, but I suspect that's largely because it's what I'm used to. I've seen lots of "Apple Music's recommendation engine is crap," but that's not actually been my experience -- their "New Music Mix" isn't great, but the whole of their "For You" page almost always has stuff I'm interested in and I really like digging through their curated playlists. It's been a much more rewarding service for just digging around exploring in than either Spotify or Tidal have been for me. (Although Tidal undoubtedly has the best sound quality if you're willing to pony up for the lossless/MQA tier.)

256Kbps AAC and 320Kbps Vorbis both comfortably exceed the threshold of audibility for 99.999% of people 99.999% of the time. If you somehow cared about the difference between either of these (or uncompressed, for that matter) then you're not listening to music properly.

The days of 128 Kbps MP3s encoded with L3enc or Xing with horrific pre-ringing and squelched cymbals is long gone.

I commented on another post below, but tldr I suspect Apple is heavily optimized for earbuds and cheap speakers rather than higher end audio equipment which I typically use (if you count ~$150 headphones as high end).

I’m not exactly an audiophile but Apple Music sounds noticeably bad with my headphones to the point I thought they were broken. Then I thought it was my PC but it sounded just as bad on a MacBook Pro.

> Heads up, Apple Music doesn’t sound as good as Spotify, unfortunately.

Why would that be?

When I started using Apple Music (I tried them before Tidal) the music sounded really tinny and sharp - sonic equivalent of an over sharpened image. At first I thought my headphones were broken.

I listen with WH-1000XM3 and ATH-M50x and the Apple Music encoding sounded really, really bad to my ear. It’s not the bitrate, which should be fine, it’s the sound of the audio which is totally different from other services.

I suspect they have optimized for low quality devices like AirPods and earbuds; I expect the oversharpening might be rated as better on those devices.

FWIW Tidal and Spotify sound the same at their standard premium tier. I can’t hear the difference between Spotify and Tidal HiFi on my Bluetooth (AptX) Sony headphones, but I can hear the difference with my wired ATH-M50x.

I recommend listening to the services side by side, preferably with desktop client to compare. In Spotify you may want to adjust the streaming quality to high from auto, as I always do, to be sure it’s a fair comparison. Sadly Apple doesn’t seem to give a choice in quality, but based on reading my understanding is they always default to high - I could be wrong.

Amusingly enough, I think the podcast move was a realisation that like Netflix they will need their own content to prosper in the long run when faced against goliaths like Apple, as big players will just throw money and platform advantages at their services.

It doesn't help Spotify's image though.

No. It was an attempt to coop free content and profit off of it at the expense of the destruction of the ecosystem.

So yes but also private podcast feeds are a thing. There are plenty of podcasts where you can get credentials to a private feed (maybe it’s ad free, maybe it has bonus content, etc.) by paying them money. Having podcasts that you have to pay to access entirely isn’t that weird.

Nothing wrong with that. The problem is that Spotify is doing its best to break the creator-consumer relationship in order to rent seek in the middle.

And you literally cannot do what you described with Spotify if you are a podcaster. Spotify can decide to do it, but you can’t.

FreeYourMusic works and will work. Our app doesn't use the official Spotify SDK. Thanks to this we are in the clear.

Btw, we offer a 42.069% discount on all plans with the code SPOTIFYSUCKS ;) Apply the promo code at https://freeyourmusic.com/en/pricing

Apple is known for making similar moves to keep people locked into their services. You won't be any safer there. Might as well use Soundcloud, Jamendo or Bandcamp. They are much more open than those 2 services.

Does Apple actually offer any of the services Spotify is banning via ToS? This feels like both companies are clearly in the wrong for engaging in the same sort of bad behavior.

As far as I know these apps can still export from Apple Music and I haven’t heard of any threats to remove support.

Apple has also been a good steward of podcasts and keeping the open standard.

Well you can transfer your playlists out with songshift into whatever else, and some of those playlists can be generated by apple music themselves

I just used a similar service to move from Apple Music to Spotify. Now I'm thinking I should move back before Spotify tries to hold my playlists hostage.

Spotify Developer Platform Team, if you're listening: you're imbeciles for doing this and you're putting customers back in a buying position when they were happy to keep giving you money forever.

starts looking at alternatives

As far as I can tell, Spotify doesn't really have a Developer Platform team, just a legal department enforcing their ToS. All of their various SDKs are poorly maintained with zero points of contact. I think it's just a handful of engineers who care, working in their spare time at an organization that doesn't have any interest in giving them actual resources.

For example: their web playback SDK has a provision about "contact us to use for noncommercial purposes," and there's a long-standing GitHub issue specifically about how no one has ever gotten a reply back when they email about this.

Meanwhile, when I had a problem with MusicKit JS - the Apple Music equivalent - I actually got a reply back within a few weeks from an Apple engineer about it that helped me resolve it. Obviously not the shortest timescale, but at least there's clearly some effort being put into it. It helps that they actually are using MusicKit JS to power their own Apple Music web player, while Spotify's playback SDK is a separate codebase, which is why it's missing features like Safari playback that are present in the web player.

Spotify's new mobile SDKs are also unusably awful, and can't do basic functions like "playing a single song and stopping instead of autoplaying onwards." They also have deprecated and killed off several past mobile SDKs that were far more feature-filled. I saw a new Spotify-powered radio app that launched recently (Station Rotation) appears to be using the legacy undocumented SDK for playback because of this - can't imagine that app will have much of a future if Spotify ever decides to finally break that SDK.

Honestly, I expect Spotify to completely kill their public APIs and SDKs within the next two years. They clearly see no value in them, or they would have invested in maintaining them.

They also slowly, semi-silently killed off libspotify without ever providing a proper replacement (despite promising such), taking down several open source clients in the process.

It's baffling. They could've had a distinct advantage being one of the only developer-friendly (and thus highly flexible/adaptable) streaming services on the market, but they instead decided to toss that in the garbage bin and push usage of the official client, which sees constant frustrating UI changes for no good reason.

I do agree with all of this. But I would say that despite all the screw-ups, missed opportunities and general incompetence, I think Spotify still offer the best features/API for developers. Which is a sad state for us.

Yeah they've been on the "Twitter path" with their developer tools..

As they mature and double-down on value extraction from their existing customers, they are cutting off more and more interesting third-party services that helped them grow but are now seen as competitors or detriments to their revenue.

Time to fall back to scraping. In the event scraping is prevented, notify regulators (GDPR, CCPA).

I really hope Spotify is listening and prepared to be responsive. I was loyal for years and convinced a few friends to sign up, but now I’m sending people to Tidal or really any other alternative. I prefer my music providers to not be actively malicious.

It's bad for Apple to take a cut of our money and to compete with our service and it's best for the users if they can't do that.

We don't want the users to be able to easily shift from our platform to anyone else's, though. That's bad!

(Obviously the corporate interests only align with the consumer interest when it serves the bottom line of the corporation.)

I'm on Google Play Music and won't move to Youtube music because it's awful, and Shopify was my preferred destination until today. But seeing how hard they make it for users to move out, I'm not interested anymore.

At least Google Takeout allows me to export my GPM data very easily.

What's wrong with YouTube Music in your opinion? I haven't tried it out much but YouTube has a really good video player and an extensive library of music videos and music in general so I'm surprised you'd say it's awful.

It hides all the songs you had in GPM behind another menu for a start.

the app and overall design of the service is, like many Google entertainment products, half-baked at best

I use iBroadcast instead of Google play music.

This is so anti-user. A similar service offered by Spotify is how I moved from Apple Music to Spotify. The playlists belong to the user - this is vendor lock in of the worst sort.

Spotify doesn't want Apple to squeeze them with App Store fees and a competing service, but when it comes to restricting the free flow of data out of their service to other services then is fine to be anti-competitive.

I'm a happy Spotify user but this is plain hypocrite. You cannot claim to be against the power of larger corps while you as a big corp are doing the same to smaller companies.

Unsurprising, for core business reasons, for sure. But, it is still customer-unfriendly behavior from Spotify. And probably anti-competitive too.

Boy, as one of the very few people who switched over from Spotify to Apple Music, I’m hoping that the Spotify vs. Apple lawsuit turns on Spotify’s head over this

I still wish Spotify wins the Apple lawsuit but Spotify needs to change their stance here.

They curate some really good playlists, so they can restrict them but they should allow user created playlists to be exported.

Yaaaassss! Spotify has such a good recommendation system! I loved every new artist I discovered through Spotify. I only wish they’d let me port all that over to Apple Music. Oh well. Fingers crossed, I guess.

In EU the almost only thing that stop you from building up other software is copyright. Legal restrictions (as Spotify terms) to stop you is null and void, as the Database directive states: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELE... Reevaluation of the directive (2018): http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/ST-8466-2018-IN...

To count as copyright there have to be a substantial manual effort into production of the data. Also byproduct of your ordinary business is not copyright (called “sui generis”).

On page 15 there is also about the “horse race” case taken to the court, that state the same.

They should just start web-scraping then.

Have the user open the playlist and copy & paste, or use an extension, user script or bookmarklet, to extract the information.

And of course post a warning against maintaining your playlist in Spotify, prominently recommending competing services instead.

Is there something that will let me convert a Spotify playlist into a list of e.g. YouTube videos without having a Spotify account?

I use Tidal and I'm very satisfied, the catalog is huge, and the playlist are really well curated, plus their music suggestions are always spot on.

I would suggest anyone using Spotify to switch. On the plus side, Tidal also pays musicians a four times what Spotify does (last time I checked, I can't find the link), which I think is in itself a good reason to prefer it.

I can't support Tidal's endorsement of MQA[1] - an audiophile scam and an attempt to lock music into yet another proprietary format. While they still use it, I won't sign up and I'll continue to dissuade others from doing so.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master_Quality_Authenticated#C...

Bah! Based on other comments on this thread, I was strongly tempted to switch from Spotify to Tidal (mostly because Tidal apparently pays the artist more fairly and they’re not trying to appropriate podcasts). I had also just verified that Tidal support Last.FM scrobbling and that I can use my Squeezebox devices to stream music from Tidal. I was just about to investigate how I might export my Spotify list of artists and albums.

However, as a supporter of open, non-proprietary standards, promoting MQA would really put me off. I don’t have time for “audiophile” nonsense and hadn’t heard of MQA until now but it seems like another attempt at building a walled-garden for rent-seeking opportunities [1]. MQA is not something I want to support and while I don’t know if it’s a complete deal-breaker with respect to Tidal, I won’t be switching today.

Thanks for the info.

1. https://www.linn.co.uk/blog/mqa-is-bad-for-music

I also switched to Tidal after 12 years as a Spotify user. The sound quality is far superior and I much prefer the UI of both the mobile and desktop apps. The only reason I still have the Spotify app installed is to share links to friends as most are still using Spotify.

If you subscribe to Spotify Premium and change few default settings, the sound quality is the same as Tidal's.

It’s not - Tidal Hi-fi is FLAC and Premium Spotify is 320kbps MP3

Last time I checked, Tidal had absolutely no public API. In this regard they are way behind Spotify so keep that in mind if thinking of switching.

They seem to have a developer program but it requires an application (according to the site).

I used a website to transfer my Spotify playlist to Tidal before this recent change.

I hope Tidal is prepared to take advantage of Spotify’s customer loyalty bonfire. Not having a strong developer offering isn’t a great look.

I applied a few years ago when it became available in my country but I'm still waiting for them to contact me with the outcome. So they failed the trial I gave their service. Perhaps you have to post some money along with your application. It's a shame, there used to be support in mpd for Tidal but since they won't share their API documentation it's now "defunct". I don't understand the game these streaming companies are playing. Is it some kind of security through obscurity or have they crunched the numbers and the costs outweigh the gains. They've had years to take advantage of Spotify's mis-steps so I won't hold my breath.

There are some reverse engineered API packages out there for Tidal. They might work but that's not what I'm looking for as a paying customer.

Songshift should get around this restriction by providing users a nice tutorial on how to become a Spotify developer and request an API key and secret themselves. This would be pretty much impossible to ban and detect.

Even better, make a tool that accepts your login and password and does that for you.

It's quite funny that tools like Deemix[1] let you download songs from Spotify[2], but there's no way to actually export them.

[1] I won't provide a link because of piracy.

[2] Deemix internally converts to Deezer, and then downloads from that.

Sadly, if they tried your first suggestion, Spotify would almost certainly lock down developer access like Twitter has for their new API, requiring an application and manual approval.

Login/password and scraping is a more interesting alternative, but then Spotify would presumedly block any server-side scraping. Really, best option I can come up with is browser automation that is entirely client-side (whether a browser extension or maybe wrapping Puppeteer).

I was already on the verge of switching because Spotify was handing millions to a Joe Rogan so he can keep poisoning the discussions around trans people we apparently must have. This sealed the deal. This is just Spotify outright saying that if someone is not fully convinced Spotify is the right place for them, it needs to to be much much less convenient for them to leave.

I'm happy with Spotify and tried to figure out what this story was about. I saw "SongShift Pro starting at 4.99 USD/month".

Do people go for a monthly pricing for this kind of service?

I mean transferring playlists from an old service to a new service sounds like a one-off thing. Does someone really need it continuously?

Until Spotify releases a proper Apple Watch app, yes. I really need to get myself off Spotify, but I have too much automation in place.

What kind of Spotify automations do you have?

The main thing is a cron job that scrapes a private music blog that I'm a member of and updates a playlist. Then another script that can tell when I've listened to a song on that playlist. If I favorited the song, it gets moved to another playlist (bands to further investigate). If I didn't favorite the song, it is deleted.

I’m not sure what the reasons for continuous sync would be, but SongShift will do a manual sync between services for free, and it sounds like I did so to move from Spotify to Apple Music just in time.

Both Apple Music and Spotify have a bunch of curated playlists, which are pretty good.

Super happy I already left Spotify then. Nothing worse than being held hostage to a service that doesn’t believe in making things easy for users. Maybe some users would come back if it was easy in/out?

I've used similar services multiple times (Spotify to Deezer to Tidal to back to Spotify) and was fascinated by the results. Not 100% able to transfer the entire library, but always in the 90% range.

Overall I think that music streaming services were probably the best services for switching platforms, and this is a blow that is surely gonna damage that reputation for me. Compare that to other markets that offer something similar (like ebooks or video streaming) where there's absolutely no chance for you to retain even 10% of your library if you decide to switch, so services like Songshift make no sense in those fields.

Having just three major music publishing conglomerates is both a blessing and a curse.

'Switching' in ebooks involves dumping them into drm-removed epubs or getting an equivalent from libgen. I'm not very aware of a 'spotify for books' that hasn't gone out of business. I think that's because books are far bigger investments than music or even TV.

> I'm not very aware of a 'spotify for books' that hasn't gone out of business.

How about libraries?

If anyone is looking for an alternative, I have had a good experience using https://github.com/SathyaBhat/spotify-dl

Really unfortunate that Spotify dictates what you do with your own playlist when you're not even ripping the songs off of their service.

That is not exactly what this is doing. A service to service playlist transfer service is what Songshift seems to does, I think it will be worth having an open source alternative to it.

I've started work on one now in Ruby (something I've been meaning to brush up my skills on) just out of spite for not letting users export their playlists. Will ping back here and on HN when I have a working prototype.

I did something like that - tool for transfering Spotify playlists to Apple Music [1] - 3 years ago. It was fun project. Not sure if it still works as I am staying as far from Apple software as I can...

And there was more projects like mine on Github at the time. Spotify2AM was good [2]...

[1] https://github.com/chew-z/Eumenes

[2] https://github.com/simonschellaert/spotify2am

You should do a 'Show HN' :-) I would love to use something like that and move away from Spotify.

That's fair. But for lack of a better alternative, I suggested this. I think just exporting a playlist should be the bare minimum that any service should allow. And this project seems to enable that

It seems Spotify are tightening up on multiple fronts. In June I believe they cut support for DJ:ing apps, which really sucks (especially for beginners who don’t want to invest too much, which those apps are generally geared towards). Apparently it was something about buffering multiple tracks at the same time. Possibly an understandable anti-piracy move, but stopping something like songshift is really just worsening the experience for the users. People have mentioned the curated playlists being an important part of their product, but people must anyways pay to get those.

Strangely, Spotify have also made their API a lot more powerful, even with embedable players on webpages. Kind of seems like a step in the opposite direction, although they might have tightened up that as well since last time I checked.

Another playlist migration service is https://soundiiz.com/

I've been really happy with it. They haven't implemented any restrictions around exporting from Spotify yet. Might be helpful if you'd like to jump ship

I don't see Spotify on that page.

Hm right. I am fairly sure it was on the homepage. It's still inside the app and I managed to do a transfer out no worries. I would guess they are in the process of removing it? https://soundiiz.com/tutorial/spotify-to-apple-music

Sounds like Spotify is trying to make is as hard as possible for the coming exodus to Apple One as there is more perceived value in the Apple bundles than just paying for a single Spotify music subscription.

Practices like that are directly against the spirit of data portability under GDPR and CCPA. What's protecting Spotify here is that the user's data is accessed through an API not considered for that privacy control use case.

In principle, a tool for transferring of user's data could be operating on a GDPR/CCPA data export that has to be available for all Spotify users in California and EU. Those are just not exposes as easy-to-use APIs (yet).

In general, GDPR data dumps are provided in "as hard to parse as possible" file formats to discourage exactly that...

Imagine things like Facebook messenger chats being indexed by a person name rather than an account ID or phone number so there is a high chance "Chat with Dave" is ambiguous... Not the kind of thing you could start a lawsuit over, but it is enough of a barrier that re-importing exported data is near impossible.

This just gave me the incentive to switch off of Spotify now, that way it’s less of a pain 5+ years into the future. Thanks for showing your true colors, Spotify.

I switched to Napster when Spotify started to try hoovering up the podcast market. They've been getting increasingly poisonous, it seems.

100% love Spotify, was one of my favorite services. Family plan, wife and I get our own accounts, works with Sonos (each of us separately logged into different Spotify accounts on the Sonos so it remembers our playlists!)

Now with Tesla adding spotify, I've got a 3rd user that is only used on the car, only problem is manually syncing playlists from one user to another, but you can 'follow' another user now at least.

But, this podcasts business is madness. Their podcast integration has always been awful (you can't auto-download new episodes for example), and now they're shoveling millions into content I have less than 0 interest in.

Well there you are - I enjoyed Spotify too, but I wasn't going to carry on giving them my money while they tried to disrupt an industry which I dearly love in its current form.

they could open source the tool now that it's essentially worthless behind their wall.

For once, I'm starting to wonder if I can't just buy a music subscription somewhere else..?

I imported my playlist to spotify, it's mine, why shouldn't I be able to export it?

I hope to see a response from spotify, because I would prefer not to leave.

I started self-hosting most of my stuff for a while and had been putting off moving to MP3s and AirSonic for a while because Spotify seemed pretty good, and it always had the escape route.

Looks like this is what forces my move now :(

That’s it. I’m cancelling my Spotify subscription today.

So what is good that is not spotify and not apple music and would have homepod integration soon once audioOS 14 is officially released on the homepod?

What part of the TOS was violated, according to Spotify?

I'm guessing it was this paragraph in Section IV.1.H of the API terms of service found here: https://developer.spotify.com/terms/#iv

> h. Do not transfer Spotify Content to unauthorized third parties, including (i) directly or indirectly transferring any data (including aggregate, anonymous or derivative data) received from Spotify to, or use such data in connection with, any ad network, ad exchange, data broker, or other advertising or monetization-related toolset, even if a user consents to such transfer or use; or (ii) to another music service that competes with Spotify or the Spotify Service.

Interestingly enough it says these were last updated over 2 years ago, so they must have been not clamping down on this paragraph until now, or they added it recently and didn't bother to update the document version to hide it. Either way, this is very disappointing.

Ah yes, it looks like you're right. The corresponding definition of Spotify Content is:

> Spotify Content” means any content, data, information or material made available through the Spotify Platform, Spotify Service or by Spotify. This may include, among other things, sound recordings, short-form videos, cover art, musical works, artist biographies, song lyrics, metadata, playlists, and user data

So it seems that the list of songs that the user "likes" is considered Spotify Content. Does any body know how far this goes? What if one tool accesses the API to extract the list of user's songs into a CSV file, and then a separate tool is used to automatically "like" a list of songs from a CSV file in a competing platform?

Does Spotify really own the (Artist, Song) tuples that make up a list of songs?

well i guess i won't be moving my music to spotify: i'm on google play music right now, and so i'm in the market.

This is why, according to GDPR and CCPA principles (it is not written as is in the text) we need to include API neutrality for users, as the right to have an API access to 3rd party applications to exercise users' data portability regulations. All of this without the possibility of the company to revoke API access. Like the net neutrality, but for APIs. https://api500.tumblr.com/post/31465739810/what-is-api-neutr...

It makes sense for Spotify to do this from a business perspective. I've been paying for six years now for Spotify Premium and it's just hands down the best music service, and I will gladly continue to give them my money.

The Discord integration, cross device interoperability, UX are simply unmatched on all other music platforms.

Yes, their service IS great in a lot of areas... but between what they're doing with podcasts and now this bit with playlists, you have to ask yourself if you want to support a company that's pushing vendor lock-in so hard.

spotify early this year pulled out of all dj apps. as a user, i hate spotify for this. why wouldn't you let me dj with the music? it's not like i'm david gueatta, playing to 5000 people.

But of course it’s Apple who is evil in Spotify’s eyes...

Last time I used apple music I did not see any options for exporting playlists.

The publicly-documented Apple Music API lets you export playlists and does not, as far as we know, have a provision legally prohibiting you from moving to another service. SongShift still lets you get data both in and out of Apple Music.

Isn’t the playlist the ussr‘s product, not Spotify’s?

Blatantly anticompetitive. It’s sad to see the once underdog services you love turn into the “evil side”. I hope the US DOJ and EU competition commission go after them hard.

This, among many questionable practices is why I don't empathize with Spotify in their fight with Apple, where Apple slowly dismantles their presence on iOS.

What other questionable practices?

Particularly, paying per song versus paying per seconds of song delivered is bullshit

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