Spotify will require family plan members to prove that they are all living at the same address, in a revived initiative to prevent abuse of the subscription option.
The Spotify Premium Family Plan, which goes for $15 per month, allows up to six accounts to enjoy the perks of premium membership, including ad-free listening and on-demand playback. The family plan is equivalent to $2.50 per member, which is much cheaper compared to an individual subscription for $10 per month.
It is not a secret that some friends form groups to avail themselves of the family plan’s cheaper cost. Spotify, apparently, wants to stop that from happening.
In Spotify’s descriptions for its premium plans, the Family plan is said to be “for families residing on the same address.” To enforce this, the music streaming service’s updated terms and conditions for the family plan, uploaded in August, state that Spotify will, from time to time, ask members to verify that they are all still living in the same house.
This is not the first time that Spotify has tried to limit the number of people subscribing to its family plan. Last year, the music streaming service asked certain members to confirm their location by giving their GPS coordinates. The pilot program was abruptly ended due to privacy concerns.
Spotify’s requirement for family plan members to provide location data is apparently back on, and its addition to the updated terms and conditions suggests that this is now permanent. The concerns about user privacy have also returned, and Christopher Weatherhead, technology lead for U.K. watchdog group Privacy International told CNET that there may be worrying implications.
Spotify, however, claimed that the location data that it will require will be encrypted, and will only be used for the purpose of verifying family plan subscriptions.
It remains unclear, however, how strict Spotify will be in enforcing the location data requirements, and if it will really cancel family plan accounts that are found to be in violation. The move also overlooks certain scenarios of families living apart from one another, such as separated parents and students living in dorms for college.
Spotify is hoping that the crackdown on family plans will urge subscribers to sign up for individual memberships. There is also the possibility that they instead switch to other music streaming services that are more lenient with their family plans, such as Apple Music.
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