Spotify's desktop music streaming app has been accused of putting an unnecessary burden on users' machines by continuously writing massive amounts of data to local storage, even when the app is idle.
Over the last five months, multiple users have posted about the problem in Spotify's official support forum, as well as on Reddit, Hacker News, and elsewhere. Users claim the Spotify app has been writing inordinate amounts of data to their drives while running in the background, in some cases writing up to 10GB every 40 seconds.
Reports of tens or hundreds of gigabytes of data being written in an hour have become commonplace, said ArsTechnica, which was able to replicate the problem on Macs running the current version of the Spotify app. The data writes appear to occur regardless of whether songs are set to be stored locally or if music is actually being played, potentially significantly reducing the life of users' storage drives - particularly SSD devices, which have a finite amount of write capacity.
"This is a *major* bug that currently affects thousands of users," Spotify user Paul Miller told Ars. "If for example, Castrol Oil lowered your engine's life expectancy by five to 10 years, I imagine most users would want to know, and that fact *should* be reported on."
Spotify eventually responded to ArsTechnica's requests for comment and said "any potential concerns have now been addressed" in version 1.0.42 of the app, which is in the process of being rolled out, but which reportedly remains unavailable to many users.
According to some reports, the data writes are thought to involve playlist-related database files with titles that include the string Mercury.db. Several manual workarounds to stop the writes have been suggested in the forums, but the best short-term solution for concerned Mac users may be to use Spotify through their browser until the app update becomes available and the issue is independently confirmed fixed.