Spotify is rolling out a fix for its desktop app after subscribers complained that the app was wearing out their solid state drives (SSDs). Customers have reported that Spotify is writing "excessive" amounts of data to their drives – in some cases up to 10GB an hour – even while the app is idle, threatening to drastically shorten their life span.
The issue has affected Spotify subscribers as far back as June, although users claim Spotify has yet to offer an explanation as to what could be causing it. The problem appears to be a caching issue, in that the app tries to write song data to the SSD every time a track is played.
A user by the name of Koutasn ran tests on the app and noticed that Spotify would attempt to cache each song as it was being played, even if it was the same song played on loop. "I recently noticed that something was writing a lot of data to my SSD so I started looking through what could be causing it, and Spotify ended up being the culprit. It was writing close to 10GB an hour to my drive at one point," they said.
"I checked the I/O write data with the S.M.A.R.T data on my drive and it wrote 28,305,469,806 bytes (28.3GB) of data in about two and a half hours. I've also noticed that it only writes the data when playing music...I just reinstalled and tested again, and got it to use 1GB in 17 minutes...this is a heavier use case than I would typically present to Spotify."
Each cell in an SSD's memory bank can only be written to and erased a limited number of times, meaning heavy use will wear them out more quickly. They're fairly expensive too, meaning it's not something you want to have to replace regularly.
Fellow user Firef reported similar issues: "I've recently been trying to track the excessive writing going to my hard drive and it appears the culprit is Spotify. In the attached image I was listening to music for a couple of hours and Spotify has already written 15GB to disk.
"This is incredibly excessive and will kill drives over time. I've tracked nearly 100GB of writes in the course of a day if I'm using Spotify actively."
Caching songs isn't unusual in itself: doing so means that if you suddenly lose internet connection, your music won't cut out mid-song. But this doesn't explain why the app is writing such a huge amount of data, with one user reporting nearly 100GB of writes over the course of a day.
The issue only appears to have affected customers using the desktop version of Spotify on a machine with an SSD, and even then the problem appears to be limited.
A spokesperson told IBTimes UK that a fix would be delivered in an ongoing update. "We've seen some questions in our community around the amount of written data using the Spotify client on desktop. These have been reviewed and any potential concerns have now been addressed in version 1.0.42, currently rolling out to all users."