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What data do music apps collect from their users?

Image Credit: Benjamin Sow

Apple now makes it easier for app users to know how much of their personal data is shared with third parties – but where do music and audio apps rank in the privacy sharing rankings?

Sharing your personal user data is an inevitable part of Internet life. This is something that almost everyone is familiar with but generally accepts because using apps is a must. Going without music and audio apps, which among other things do an incredible job of bringing the music of independent artists to the ears of potential fans, is unimaginable.

This does not mean that you are wrong to be outraged about the sharing of your personal data on the Internet. But every time you download an app and hit agree on the terms and conditions (which, let’s face it, hardly anyone reads), you choose to share the information they collect about you. This is the compromise to access billions of hours of music.

The good news is that there is more transparency available on who is sharing what data about you when using an app. Apple has a new privacy policy which means apps must share information about how much data they collect about users. New labels on the App Store make it clearer where your data is being collected.

Using the new information, a study by pCloud searched the App Store to find the worst offenders for sharing private data with third parties. It revealed that 52% of the 50 most popular apps in the App Store share data with third parties.

Instagram is a particularly bad offender, gobbling up information about its billion monthly users. It shares 79% of that user data, including browsing history and purchase data. Facebook sells just over half of user data, or 57%.

What about music and audio focused apps? What percentage of data do they collect and share with third parties, and where do they appear in the ranking?

Third parties access user data to target ads, which is why it’s common to see an ad for a business appear when you’ve recently viewed it on the app. All apps have a responsibility to protect your data, and there is probably nothing more malicious than spamming you with ads to try and get you to buy something from a brand.

Arguably, online ad targeting is what allows companies that offer free services, like YouTube and Spotify, to survive; and this is how these companies generate income for the artists whose music is on the platforms. This is the price to pay to be able to access free music.


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