On a more serious note, Adobe Flash Player 10 comes equipped with P2P streaming meshwork, which is enabled by default and which will cause the exact same bandwidth bleed as described in article. Being behind NAT or a firewall is not enough to prevent one from being a relay node as it includes fairly sophisticated NAT traversal logic and NAT-to-NAT connectivity stuff. The only way to NOT donate bandwidth with FP10 is to disable "peer assisted networking" in Flash Settings, which in itself is done by loading a Flash applet from Adobe's site. This also makes using FlashBlock in a browser pretty much a must have.
Skype isn't riddled with ads.
I don't care how cute or clever the author was in picking a title. I want to know what the damn thing is about so I can make a good decision whether or not to spend time reading it! A good HN title should efficiently communicate to me why I should click on this link.
The original title was interesting. This one is not: the only reason I clicked on it again was because it had a high number of votes and comments.
I'm a premium subscribed now but I used the free service up until they limited the amount of plays per song and how long per month you could use it, and for me it's worth the $18~ I have to pay to get access to the music I want to listen to anywhere. Even if there is some bandwidth usage if I keep it running. It's never so much that I notice it in any way and it "gives" when other applications demand more bandwidth.
How often do you actually have Spotify running without listening to music anyway?
News to me. I've seen a lot of ads and reviews for them and I don't see this mentioned at all, or at least prominently.
I also noticed something strange when removing it with CleanMyMac (similar to AppZapper). There's a separate dock icon file for Spotify, and removing it restarted Dock.app. I think that might be to cover up Spotify running in the background somehow.
If you are running MacOS X Lion, then the OS might keep the underlying OS process around in case you start it again -- this is by design. I have not been able to observe this personally, however.
All the author is advocating is for software companies to be up front about what their software is doing.
(ii) Spotify has a right to allow the Spotify Software Application and the Spotify Service to utilize the processor, bandwidth and storage hardware on your computer or other relevant device for the limited purpose of facilitating the communication and transmission of content and other data or features to you and other users of the Spotify Software Application and the Spotify Service, and to facilitate the operation of the network on which the Spotify Software Application and the Spotify Service runs.
Granted, it's not listed as a "feature" but you agreed to the possibility of it.
This is the point of the post - there is a cost to "free" as we all know, and here is one good example. There's nothing wrong if a service is p2p, it should just tell you. Barring that, users of any "free" service ought to keep in mind that it might cost them in other ways.
(I suspect N is rather large)
Also fun fact: "In total, during the measurement period, 8.8% of data came from servers, 35.8% from the peer-to-peer network, and the remaining 55.4% were cached data"
I'm in Halifax, and the ISPs here seem pretty decent. Bell Aliant doesn't have caps at all - they used to be a distinct entity from Bell, IIRC, and are still sort of separate from the Bell that's often mentioned - and Eastlink caps at 250GB, or were planning to a few months ago anyway, but that's only for their 50 and 100 Mbps plans. The normal, standard-in-a-bundle plan is 20Mbps and is uncapped. I've been pretty pleased.
I do find it curious that the most densely populated region is the one with the worst service.
I completely agree with the poster who said that this is an acceptable price to pay for the awesome UX we're getting.
I mean it's got all the music player basics (playlists, search, etc), but there are almost no music discovery features and the social stuff is pretty lacking.
And by awesome UX I was mostly referring to nearly latency free track skipping.
this is only a true statement if the value of your current service is infinite or your risk aversion is. to make any kind of realistic logical statement about this you need to calculate how much bandwidth is being used, user limits and isp switching costs.
a nice insight turned into fear mongering - this is how a lot of bad memes start.
If spotify is silently operating a P2P client, even when it's not being directly used, then that's an issue for people with bandwidth restrictions. It's trivial to get distracted by something, forget an application is running when you leave the house, and end up using much more bandwidth than you intended. It's worse still that as bandwidth increases, usage limits don't stay proportional. You suddenly have the ability to share faster, reaching your limit sooner.
As I said, I agree that the statement is hyperbolic, but I don't consider the issue trivial.
Edit: I had no idea Skype worked like that as well. And I have the same reaction I did when I found out through personal experience that Spotify did that -> ⌘Q - Quit Spotify. I don't need to open my connection to the world and let a program suck up all my bandwidth just to listen to some music I can get from another source. I'm not the only person using my connection and I have other devices that I want to be able to use as much bandwidth as they need. The fact that I can't control that bandwidth consumption at all is bothersome and enough of a negative in my opinion that I won't use the service.
Do you really disagree with the p2p model that provides you with good services essentially for free, or are you getting carried away on the bandwagon? The Spotify and Skype EULAs [1,2] both disclose that they will use your bandwidth to provide the service.
The services provided by Skype and Spotify are way more valuable to me than the value of the bandwidth, and I expect this is the same for the overwhelming majority of people.
 http://www.spotify.com/us/legal/end-user-agreement/ (search for "bandwidth")
 http://www.skype.com/intl/en-us/legal/terms/tou/ (also search for "bandwidth").
Having sad that, the docs could be a bit more clear.
For example, Spotify says quite clearly in sentence ii of para 14 of the end-user-agreement that "(ii) Spotify has a right to allow the Spotify Software Application and the Spotify Service to utilize the processor, bandwidth and storage hardware on your computer or other relevant device for the limited purpose of facilitating the communication and transmission of content and other data or features to you and other users of the Spotify Software Application and the Spotify Service, and to facilitate the operation of the network on which the Spotify Software Application and the Spotify Service runs. You may adjust the level of usage that the Spotify Service makes of your computer in the settings of the Spotify Software Application."
: BTW, you can do this on all devices.
I only use it when I need variety that's not in my iTunes.
I have no issue with the idea of P2P - it saves Spotify money, which is hopefully transferred to me - and is essential for instant or near-instant playback of music.
That much was well known, but never has a "cloud service" meant that the users were the cloud. That's P2P, a completely different paradigm.
It's space your not using now. What if the user has no idea Spotify is caching that heavily, then checks their Free Disk Space (maybe they are about to transfer lots of data)? Nasty surprise ...
Why not just download a huge bunch of songs using bit torrent and pretend to be using Spotify? No partially cached songs, no proprietary anything, etc.
I've been running Spotify since early beta, and monitor the network usage of all my application, both when it comes to traffic and when it comes to what it accesses (littlesnitch is a great tool!). Spotify hardly uses any upstream bandwidth, and if it were using a lot, I should've seen that. I see a lot of downstream network usage.
This is just another blogger to piss on Spotify for some strange reason, to the point where they make up stuff. And it does not make sense to enable the user to not have any caching, then the network usage of the entire swarm would've quadrupled. I feel that 1GB minimum and standard at 10% of free diskspace (!!!! free, not total) is a good middle road.
(For those interested, Skype uses a boatload more bandwidth than Spotify. We've had problems with network congestion because so many clients on the network had Skype open and they routed so many calls through our network.)
And speaking as a paying customer ($20/mo so my wife and I can each have mobile access), it would be really nice if I could at least choose a limit on the P2P bandwidth so that I wouldn't be forced to close it altogether.
Actually he discusses his reason, right there in the post. Spotify used a lot of his bandwidth with no way to throttle (as others on this thread have discussed), in a way that he didn't feel was disclosed up-front.
It's great that you love Spotify and get value from it, but don't jump on this board calling someone a liar and questioning their integrity because they don't get the same value from it.
But, to the point, he never said how much traffic he was seeing, so in his case /any/ traffic could be deemed "a lot". All services these days use your network connection to some extent, but I'm finding it hard to believe that it actually may end up congesting your networking connection, without seeing some serious proof.
I can to some extent see his point where this should've been clear from the start of, that Spotify will make use of your upstream network connection. Hopefully Spotify will make changes so that at least the US-market get notified that they might end up paying their service provider a premium, just for using Spotify.
Why do you assume that, just because upstream traffic is not high for you, it isn't for anyone else?