The Privacy Probe

Findaway Voices' New Terms of Service Explained

On the 15th of February, Spotify updated the Terms of Service for their audiobook platform, Findaway Voices.

The initial update was met with widespread criticism because of a new clause granting Spotify an extremely extensive license to do basically whatever they want with user content.

Long story short, Spotify released a statement that read:

"Earlier today, we shared planned updates to our Findaway Voices by Spotify. Terms of Use that are set to take effect on March 15, 2024. Our goal was to introduce language that would allow us to offer authors innovative features, improve discovery, and provide promotional tools such as share cards while assuring authors that you “retain ownership of your User Content when you post it to the Service.”

In the hours since, we’ve received valuable feedback, and we understand that there is confusion and concern about some aspects of this language. We want you to know that we hear you and are actively working to make clarifying updates to alleviate your concerns.

We are deeply committed to your success on Spotify. In the meantime, please stay tuned for more details."

Many pointed out that there was no 'confusion' with the new terms - they were simply unacceptable.

This aside, they delivered on their promise and updated their Terms of Service once again on the 16th of February.

We created a color-coded summary of Findaway Voices' new Terms of Service, to help you understand them without digging through the legalese:

  • badMandatory arbitration clause limits your ability to take disputes to court or join class action lawsuits.
  • badSpotify can remove user content without notice.
  • badYou grant Spotify a non-exclusive license to use your content.
  • badRoyalties from distributed content may be subject to fees.
  • badSpotify can withhold payment if it suspects fraudulent activity.
  • badSpotify disclaims all warranties and limits its liability.
  • badClaims must be filed within one year of the cause of action.
  • neutralMust be 18 years or older to use the service.
  • neutralService may be modified, suspended, or discontinued at Spotify's discretion.
  • neutralSpotify is not liable for third-party services linked through their platform.
  • neutralYou are responsible for keeping your account details confidential.
  • neutralYou must comply with Spotify's User Guidelines and Content Policy.
  • neutralSpotify may monitor and remove user content but is not obligated to do so.
  • neutralYou are responsible for backing up your own content.
  • neutralBrands must be transparent about endorsements and comply with laws.
  • neutralService use must comply with export control and sanctions laws.
  • neutralSpotify has a repeat infringer policy that may lead to account termination.
  • neutralIndemnification clause requires you to cover Spotify's legal costs for your breaches.
  • neutralTerms are governed by the laws of Sweden or New York, depending on your location.
  • goodYou retain ownership of content you post on the service (but grant Spotify a license to use it).
  • goodYou may terminate your agreement with Spotify at any time.

Now, users grant a license that is less extensive, and a bit more 'standard' for these types of ToS (although standard doesn't mean it's good).

Essentially, users retain ownership over their content, but Spotify have the right to distribute it in line with their service requirements, and use the content in promotional materials, AI model training etc.

This license is different because they are limited to what they can do with your content, where previously, they were able to do anything they want, without limits.

They also added a section allowing you to request that they cease distributing your work, though it will still be provided to users who purchased it prior to your request.

Download - it's free!

Finally understand what you're actually agreeing to online.