Trying to cancel a Spotify account

I’ve used Rdio for about a month now. Earlier I wrote how much I love the service. I still do, it’s tremendous. When Spotify launched in the US I figured I’d sign up for their premium account and give it a shot for a month.

After a few weeks of using the service it’s clear that it’s not for me. I don’t like how Facebook determines the entire social graph. 1 I don’t like how it automatically crawled my iTunes library without my approval. 2 Mostly though I just didn’t like the service as much as Rdio.

Since my premium account was $9.99 a month I wanted to cancel it while it was fresh on my mind. Turns out Spotify makes it pretty difficult to do this. You first have to head to your subscriptions page. There you see this:

Silly me for thinking I’d find a nice “Cancel” link on that page. You have to go all the way to the bottom where you’re able to view your options for leaving. Okay, that’s not terrible. A bit obtuse of a UI, but I’ve seen worse.

That “View your options” link then takes you to this screen:

Alright, that’s just lame. I’m trying to end my paid subscription. I clearly already know what a premium subscription to Spotify offers because I already dealt with all the marketing copy when signing up. Bombarding me with the bullet points again seems desperate.

There’s still no cancel link though. I guessed that it was the “Why do you want to leave?” bit all the way down at the bottom. Turns out you have to go to this page where you then have options for telling Spotify why you are cancelling.

In contrast, Rdio has a Subscriptions tab in my account settings. There, right at the bottom highlighted in red text is a button that reads “Cancel subscription.” Simple. Easy. Intuitive.

When paying for web services trust is a huge factor. It may seem counter intuitive, but the easier you make it for users to leave the more likely they are to stay. They’ll simply trust you more for being upfront with them. Rdio understands this. Spotify clearly does not. Don’t hide vital account functions like cancellation behind tongue in cheek questions like “Why do you want to leave?” I know why, just let me do it and get out of my way.


  1. A Facebook account which I don’t have.
  2. That part definitely wasn’t cool, my local drive is separate from your web service, keep your hands off of it.


Ian Beck says:

Actually, your local drive is not separate from their web service. Spotify serves the majority of its content using P2P.

Interesting read, I didn’t know about the tech that lies behind it. I think that’s something they should make more clear with the installation process.

Matt Pearson says:

It’s a very interesting read indeed, and I look forward to getting to the technical paper they mentioned, whenever I manage to eat deep enough into my reading queue.

There’s some really cool tech going on that is clearly benefitting them, would greatly benefit all manner of other software, and absolutely should be disclosed to every Spotify user. IMO, it should probably be a preference that is ideally not turned on by default. Of course, such a thing would put users’ interests before Spotify’s.

A middle-ground would be for Spotify to only make use of their app’s local cache for P2P traffic. If Spotify plays something, a copy goes in the cache. If a Spotify peer requests a file that your Spotify client hasn’t played, it wouldn’t be in the cache, thus wouldn’t be available from your machine.

It’s true that your local drive and Spotify’s “cloud” are one in the same as far as they’re concerned, but Spotify’s assumption that they can use your private library as a cache in addition to building their own is not okay. This is a great example of “it’s not the technology that’s sinful, it’s how it is used that is.”

This is a great exam­ple of “it’s not the tech­nol­ogy that’s sin­ful, it’s how it is used that is.”

Exactly. Well put.

Jan Ecker says:

I think it is OK that you want to leave, but I have used Spotify for a long time and I haven’t enabled Facebook (and it works great) and all my MP3s are clear of Spotify as well think its a setting…
So my recommendation is read and understand how things work before posting. The part about cancelling I agree, it should be easier. The easier it is to leave the easier it is to re-join.

And a last comment: Are you sure about the P2P networking? I use Sonos and Spotify and to my knowledge Sonos is not a P2P hub.

Paw says:

They must have changed how to cancel your subscription because I can’t find those links anymore.

Certainly possible. I haven’t looked into whether they’ve changed things since posting this.

Lori Allred says:

No, there is NOTHING to allow you to cancel a free account. I believe it allows your to cancel a paid account. I finally sent a strongly worded message. We’ll see…

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