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Spotify isn't music to their ears in the House of Representatives

Officials are worried about data protection, but a decision to block use of the service in House offices is still a curious one.

Spotify isn't welcome in the House of Representatives, but not because members of Congress should be working rather than streaming music.

Officials are worried about data protection, which is an important issue these days with hackers everywhere. But it seems rather silly to make Spotify a test case by banning its use in House offices. A hubbub has erupted over the decision.

Even though Spotify isn't a peer-to-peer site -- the likes of which aren't allowed on Capitol Hill so as to prevent illegal file-sharing and downloads possibly infected with malware -- the music streaming service has been blocked by the House's IT department, reports Politico.

"While Spotify is currently not authorized, the CAO has and will continue to work with outside vendors to enable the popular services that improve member communication capabilities," a spokesman for the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer told the website.

This particular service is undeniably benign, which makes the decision to block its use rather curious.

In the global scheme of things, the fact that 435 representatives and the staff who support them can't use Spotify probably isn't hurting the company, but rather is a good opportunity for it to toot its own horn. Any publicity is good publicity, as the saying goes.

"It is a sad day when a few bureaucrats can block our nation's leadership from enjoying free, secure access to over 20 million songs," Spotify told Politico. "Music is a common language that all political parties speak and should be used to bring the legislators of this great country together so they can solve the serious issues facing our nation."

Even the Recording Industry Association of America is siding with Spotify on this one.

RIAA CEO Cary Sherman wrote in a letter to the House's chief administrative officer that Spotify is a "licensed, secure online music streaming service" and that allowing access to it respects the contractual relationship users may have with these services, while also serving public policy goals.

The company says one of its goals is to "draw people away from piracy." The company, which has more than 5 million paying subscribers and more than 20 million active users -- many of whom use the service for free by putting up with ads -- says it has more than 300,000 labels signed and it has paid $500 million in revenue to rights holders since its launch in 2008.


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