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Spotify may be killing your SSD

If you use Spotify and its music streaming service you may want to reconsider, at least for now. Users have reported that the company’s software has been writing absurd amounts of data to local drives for no reason whatsoever. This bug is particularly serious given that many users today have solid state drives. While you wouldn’t think a single music app could possibly write enough data to cause hardware problems for a solid state product, the figures may surprise you.

Spotify users have been complaining for five months that they were seeing 20-30GB of data written while playing the app for relatively short periods per day. Ars Technica tested the application itself and confirmed Spotify wrote between 5-10GB of data per hour. Leaving the app running for over a day resulted in a per-drive write of up to 700GB. There is no reason any application should be performing that kind of write volume. If you streamed music at 10Mbps per second (an utterly absurd rate for audio), you’d still only manage to stream 108GB of data over an entire day. Either Spotify accidentally slipped a few decimals when it encoded its video library, or it’s got a world-class bug. That’s where the anger comes in — the community has been telling Spotify about this problem for months, and Spotify hasn’t yet fixed it.

The good news is, Spotify is claiming to have already fixed the issue in the 1.0.42. The company’s full statement reads:

The bad news is, many people, including the Ars author, haven’t seen the update yet and in the meantime, the existing version of the application continues to chew through SSD storage at an alarming rate. Process Explorer can be used to monitor how much data Spotify is writing to disk if you have any concerns. Users with versions of the app prior to 1.0.42 should probably check and see that it isn’t behaving badly before continuing to use it. And if you have a third-party utility from your drive manufacturer that checks drive health, you might want to pull it out and let it check things out. If you’ve used the app for the past few months, you could be looking at hundreds of gigabytes of writes — and while SSDs can typically live well beyond their listed write speeds, this kind of overage could push them into dangerous territory.

And Spotify, for the record: Shame on you. Writing hundreds of GBs in garbage data to people’s SSDs isn’t just “some questions.” And taking at least five months to acknowledge a problem and create a fix isn’t “addressing any potential concerns.” By this point, you’ve created concerns.

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