October 17, 2022 at 1:36 p.m.
- Like most modern operating systems, Microsoft Windows dynamically pushes updates without the end user’s consent.
- Starting in September of 2022, Microsoft partnered with Spotify, installing the music streaming app and adding its icon to the taskbar.
- Many users, including Appledystopia staff, believed hackers compromised their laptops, as they didn’t directly install Spotify.
- Microsoft may be legally entitled to install software on an end user’s system without their permission.
- After signing a $100 million deal with controversial podcaster Joe Rogan, Microsoft’s inclusion of Spotify is offensive to many users.
- Spotify is one of the few music subscription services that doesn’t offer high-fidelity audio.
Why Is Spotify Installed on My Windows Computer?
I returned from vacation a few weeks ago and booted up my Windows laptop. Before I left, I carefully drained the battery to 50% and shut down my machine, as I was leaving for two weeks. When my laptop booted up, I saw a highlighted Spotify logo on the taskbar, to my dismay.
Someone had stolen my credit card number a few months back and used it to purchase a Spotify subscription. (I’m still working on my refund!) I was horrified to find Spotify on my Windows laptop. I already subscribe to Apple Music, and although it’s not perfect, it’s much better than Spotify. My first impression was that someone got my card number, yet again, and used it to buy Spotify.
Upon further inspection, I discovered that Microsoft installed the full Spotify app, not just a stub, as some netizens suggest. The complete package takes up a whopping 228 MB of data.
If you are wondering why Microsoft installed Spotify on your Windows PC, it’s not the act of a hacker. You didn’t accidentally install it after you came home from an inebriated night at the club. Microsoft pushed the app onto your PC as part of a deal with Spotify. They didn’t ask your permission.
Can Microsoft Legally Install Software Without Your Consent?
Some claim that you gave Microsoft permission to install third-party apps when you agreed to the terms of service (TOS) and end-user license agreement (EULA). Others say this is not the case. After studying both legal documents, it appears this is a legal gray area, and Microsoft may see a rash of lawsuits stemming from the move.
Most Windows laptops come with trialware and bloatware. Some of these apps are useful, but most just take up space. Users often delete these apps to free up storage space. You can delete Spotify. We’ll cover this later in the article.
In my 25 years of using Windows, I’ve never seen a third-party app, like Spotify, appear spontaneously. Windows updates often install new Microsoft apps and tools. You can expect this behavior with any operating system.
Because Windows is often so buggy, I never allow automated updates on my system. (I also do this with macOS.) That’s what’s so upsetting about this. I explicitly told Microsoft Windows NOT to update my operating system without my consent.
Microsoft installed Spotify independently of any Windows update. They just pushed a 228 MB app onto my laptop without permission. It’s easy enough for me to delete it, but in my research, many users aren’t sure how to do this. So they soldier on with Windows, losing a quarter of a gigabyte of storage space because Microsoft cut a deal with Spotify.
How to Remove Spotify From Your Windows PC
It’s easy to uninstall Spotify if you know what you’re doing. Unfortunately, many Windows users are unaware of how to uninstall an app. I stopped using Windows for about a decade and returned to the OS when Apple stopped making decent MacBooks. (I own a Mac Mini but am reluctant to buy another MacBook or iMac.) It took me a little effort to discover how to uninstall an app because, on macOS and iOS, it’s elementary. Windows obscures this capability to some degree, but it’s easy to uninstall an app once you know how.
If you don’t want to subscribe to Spotify and want 228 MB of storage space back, here’s how to do it:
- Use the Windows Search bar to find Spotify, but do not click on the app, as this will open it. Typing in “Spotify” in its entirety will display information about the app in the right panel, along with a link to uninstall the app.
- Click on Uninstall and follow the on-screen instructions.
Spotify is Offensive to Many People
Like many people, I’m not too fond of Spotify. First and foremost, they don’t offer high-fidelity music. As an audiophile with expensive stereos, I will not use a music subscription service that offers mediocre sound quality. If you’re using a laptop speaker or some cheap headphones, Spotify may suffice. One of my stereos is a Bang & Olufsen, and my other setup uses high-end digital studio monitors. Suffice it to say Spotify’s audio quality isn’t up to snuff.
Spotify’s partnership with right-leaning podcaster Joe Rogan further distances me and others from the once-ubiquitous music streaming service. Even I subscribed to Spotify five years ago when they were better than the competition. Times have changed, and Spotify’s embracement of misinformation and right-wing conspiracy theories is a definite turnoff.
Rogan is most notorious for telling younger listeners not to get vaccinated against COVID-19 because it’s too risky. “I don’t know, man,” as Rogan would suggest. That’s because he’s not a doctor. People died because of Rogan’s advice. Due to his large audience, it’s fair to say that many people died following a college dropout’s medical advice. A healthy person in their 20s may fare well with a COVID infection; however, they may also spread this to others. Countless studies show that people of all ages are considerably better off with the vaccine. Even healthy people in their 20s died on a ventilator during the pandemic because they failed to get vaccinated. They also spread the disease to others, some of whom got extremely sick and died.
The White House admonished Rogan for spreading misinformation about the vaccines. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a fixture on CNN, sat down with Rogan to discuss his misinformed views. Unfortunately, nothing has dissuaded the popular host from issuing dangerous medical advice. The fact is, even a healthy person with asymptomatic COVID can spread it to others. Rogan’s advice claimed lives and delayed worldwide recovery from the virus. It’s been about three years since COVID emerged, and it’s still a problem globally and in the United States. Although not all of this rests on Rogan’s shoulders, instead of helping, he decided to gain more fame and wealth by defecting.
Spotify added some disclaimers to appease the masses. This isn’t an improvement. It shows that Spotify is well aware that Rogan is misleading the public but will allow it for profit. I simply can’t give this company a dime.
If this isn’t enough, Rogan’s fascination with alt-right conspiracy theories and groups helped popularize the Proud Boys, who were instrumental in the January 6, 2021, insurrection. His views on transgender individuals also align with conservative values. Needless to say, although millions of people enjoy Joe Rogan, myriad others wish he would go away.
Spotify is like the FOX News of music streaming services. Appealing to conservatives and the right doesn’t seem like an ideal strategy, as it turns off at least half of their potential customers. I would never subscribe to Spotify at this point. Even if they dropped Rogan and donated billions to COVID relief, I’d stick with Apple Music because it sounds better. If Spotify ever gets high-fidelity music, I will still avoid the service because of how it undermined efforts to control a deadly pandemic.
You may not be upset because you didn’t die or get sick. But you paid for every COVID death and hospitalization through health insurance premiums and taxes. Joe Rogan and Spotify, by defecting, increased costs to taxpayers globally while walking off with the loot.
Spotify Losing Market Share
Many tout Spotify’s success and the music streaming service continues to add new users; however, the pace is slowing. After the deal with Joe Rogan, a #CancelSpotify campaign emerged, with doctors, activists, and even rock legend Neil Young joining the fray.
If you look at Spotify’s growth curve, adding Rogan’s content didn’t help. The company saw considerable growth before the move. Furthermore, other music streaming services are gaining ground. The entire market is growing in leaps and bounds; however, Spotify’s market share is in decline.
Market share is different from growing the subscriber base. Spotify has continued to add new users, albeit at a slower pace after the Joe Rogan deal. The problem for Spotify is the same that erased Netflix’s gains — competitors. While Spotify is gaining ground slowly, Apple Music and others simply have better offerings. Apple Music is about as good as it gets if you want high-quality music. Amazon also offers an excellent HD music service.
Rumors suggest Spotify is on the brink of releasing a “platinum” tier with HD music. The move is too little, too late. Most of the prominent music subscription services have offered high-fidelity audio for years. Apple even features 24-bit lossless audio that sounds about as close to the master as any mortal will experience. As Apple Music and other competitors gain more subscribers, we expect to see Spotify decline in the next few years.
More to Come?
In 25 years of using Microsoft Windows, I’ve never witnessed an app forced on end users like Spotify. As the US is on the brink of recession, tech companies are looking to cut costs and forge lucrative deals. Unless Microsoft faces legal recourse, I expect the Redmond, Washington-based company will continue to install and push third-party apps on end-users’ systems without consent.
Remember when Apple forced that U2 album on its customers? Clearly, Microsoft must have forgotten this. Most likely, they don’t care. Apple can be a little forceful with its music subscription service, and I don’t like that. But I have yet to see macOS or my iPhone install a third-party app without my permission. In fact, Apple doesn’t install a lot of first-party apps anymore for the sake of saving users’ storage space.
One of the main problems with Microsoft’s approach is that it takes up storage space and bandwidth. I remember my laptop was running very slowly before Spotify appeared. Downloading 228 MB of data and installing it in the background will slow down the user experience, and I remember this. Furthermore, they’re taking up a lot of storage space for an app I never requested.
I dislike Spotify, its values, and its business practices. I never want to see their crappy logo on my desktop, iPhone, or any screen I own. This experience may see me leaving Windows altogether. Everything I need to accomplish can be done on a Mac. Beyond this intrusive aspect, Windows still looks and feels so chintzy.
I purchased a Windows machine because I had many problems with MacBooks. I love this laptop, but I don’t like Windows. If Microsoft continues to head down the path of forcing bloated, right-wing apps onto users, I will cease using Windows entirely.