Should I Use my Real Name on Spotify?

Keeping your personal information private on Spotify is pretty difficult. Anyone can view your account and see your activities just by searching your name. But you can protect your activities by using Spotify’s privacy features.

More and more the conversation on personal data protection is taking up a big chunk of the discussion whenever it comes to social media. Apps that were originally intended to allow people to communicate with each other and widen their circles are becoming the stuff of nightmares. Now, people are beginning to wonder how much information is too much to put out there.

You'd think that in this conversation, a music streaming website like Spotify would go unmentioned in this inquiry but that is not the case. The comments in the community forum of Spotify users reveals a shocking level of harassment and use of personal data.

But why is this so? How could people possibly feel unsafe on a music streaming platform?

Two words – Spotify’s policies.

Spotify has some policies that users are beginning to point out as worrisome. For instance, the lack of a blocking feature and the ability of people to have access to the profile and activities of users on the platform makes users feel very insecure and unprotected on the platform.

As a matter of fact, the community forum on Spotify is filled with complaints of users who say their ex-boyfriends have been monitoring their activities on Spotify, gauging their mental state and using the information to harass them.

There is no shield or protection of your personal data on Spotify, so a simple name search can reveal all the activities of any user on Spotify.

These complaints birth the important question – Should I use my real name on Spotify?

Before I answer, here’s something you should know first. You don’t have to use your real name on Spotify. That being said, using your real name or not on Spotify is dependent on you.

Can you handle the thought of your information and activity logs out there for anyone with your name and a thirst for information to find? Would you like your personal life to be separated from your Spotify account? If you do, then simply use any other name you fancy to create an account. While creating your profile, you can use a different date of birth and change up other important information that could point to your true identity.

This way, you can enjoy Spotify without exposing yourself to anyone’s harassment. If you choose to use a false name, remember to manually create your profile as opposed to linking your Facebook account to your Spotify account. unless your Facebook account doesn’t contain your true information, don’t link them and if they are linked, you can un-link  them by following the guidelines on Spotify’s support page.

But what if you don’t want to use a false name on Spotify? Are there ways you can keep you and your data safe from people?

Yes, there are. Spotify has a few features that can protect your data and your streaming activities while using the app and they include the following;

  • Secret Playlists
  • Private Session

Private Sessions

You can hide your activities from people on Spotify by using the Private Sessions feature. The private session feature allows you to be incognito on Spotify for however long it is activated. The incognito mode makes it impossible for friends and followers to see what songs and playlists you listen to. However, it also makes it impossible for Spotify to log your activities as well so any songs you listen to can’t be added to Spotify’s algorithm for new music recommendations for you. if there are songs you’ll love to see in your daily mixes and other playlists, you’ll have to listen to them again when you have disabled the private session.

This feature doesn’t protect your name from being publicly accessible information but it prevents third parties from having access to your activities on Spotify. Since your activities are the information they are after, you can restrict their access to it.

While using the Private session feature, make sure you can always see the blue padlock on your username that indicates that you’re having a private session. This is because a private session reverts to public after 6 hours of no usage or  if you exit the app while you’re still in private session. If you want to stay in a private session for a while, ensure the blue padlock indicator is still on when you come back to Spotify.

How to enable Private Sessions on Spotify

The process is slightly different depending on the device. On a mobile device whether Android or iPhone, use the following steps:

  • Open the Spotify app on your phone or tablet.
  • Go to the “home” tab located at the bottom of your screen. At the top right corner of the home page is a gear-like sign indicating “Settings”. Click on it.
  • It’ll take you to the Settings page. When you get there, scroll down to and tap “Social”.
  • A page would open with different options. On top is the Private Session option. Toggle the switch feature button on till the indicator shows a green button.
  • Check to see if the blue padlock is on your username indicating a private session.

On a computer whether Windows or iOS;

  • Open the Spotify app on your PC or Mac to the homepage.
  • On the upper right corner of the screen is your name. click on the arrow next to your name. A menu containing “Private Session”, “Account”, “Settings”, and ‘Log Out”  would drop down. Note that your name is a permanent fixture on any Spotify page when you’re using Spotify on your computer.
  • Click on Private Session. The icon would turn green to indicate that the feature has been enabled.

To disable the private session on the computer or mobile device, follow the instructions above and click on ‘Private Sessions” and the indicator would turn white for mobile devices and black for PCs.

Secret Playlists

Are you going through a hard time and would like to keep your music selections private? Do you want your account public while also wanting to keep a few songs private? You can have the best of both worlds by using Spotify’s secret playlist feature.

You can create a secret playlist on Spotify that no one has access to but you unless you share a link to someone else. The secret playlist would only be accessible to you and would not show up on your public feed even with a search. Unlike the “Private Sessions” feature, the secret playlist feature doesn’t revert after any set time. Once a playlist has been made private, it’ll remain private unless you change the settings.

Note that you can only make playlists that you created secret. If you like a particular playlist, you can recreate it and make it secret.

How to make your playlist secret on Spotify

For mobile devices:

  • Open the Spotify app on your mobile device.
  • Create a playlist if you don’t currently have one. if you do, open the playlist you’d like to make private. You can find the playlist in the “Your Library” tab.
  • On the upper right-hand corner, you’ll see three dots. Tap them and tap on “make secret”. A pop-up message would appear confirming that the playlist has been made private.

For PCs and MacBook

  • Open the Spotify app on your PC or Mac.
  • Open the playlist you want to make private.
  • Click on the three dots located next to the green “Play” tab
  • Click on “Make Secret”

To disable this feature, follow the same steps and choose  “Make Public” instead.


Privacy is difficult to come by in this day and age of social media. It is even more difficult to protect your information and activities from people on Spotify due to their policies. Personal information like your name, date of birth and pictures are easily accessible to anyone on Spotify. In the light of this, whether or not you should use your real name on Spotify is entirely up to you. However, you can keep your activities private using the Private sessions and Secret Playlist features.