Spotify could terminate accounts of listeners using ad blockers

Bad news for those who use an ad blocker to get rid of the famously annoying adverts on Spotify — the company has updated its Terms of Service to explicitly ban ad blockers. And there are potentially serious consequences in place for users found circumventing the rules, including suspending or terminating your account.

According to the new Terms of Service, “circumventing or blocking advertisements in the Spotify Service, or creating or distributing tools designed to block advertisements in the Spotify Service” is prohibited. This is in addition to previous anti-ad blocker methods employed by the company, like detection measures to pinpoint users who are manipulating their streams.

These new terms of service haven’t been put in place yet, but they will be going into effect on March 1, 2019. So if you have been using an ad blocker on Spotify in the past, best to switch it off now before the enforcement takes place. According to Gizmodo, Spotify customers were informed of the updated terms of service in an email that went out last week, and that the company would assume that users had accepted the new terms “if you continue to use the Spotify service after the effective date.”

Ad blockers have been a problem for Spotify and other streaming services which make their money from subscriptions. The free version of Spotify is supported by ads, although according to an interview that Spotify CFO Barry McCarthy gave to Digiday, the ads are also important to “[offset] the cost of new-user acquisition.” Spotify estimated that about one percent of its user base, or around two million people, are blocking ads.

Spotify has also had issues in the past with unauthorized apps which gave users access to Spotify premium features like unlimited track skipping or unshuffled play functions. Spotify began cracking down on these apps last year by sending out emails informing users that the apps had been disabled due to abnormal activity.

The version of Spotify without ads, called Spotify Premium, is a subscription service which costs $10 per month. However, there are some ways to get the Premium service for cheaper, like a student discount, a family plan, and offers with partnering companies. If you’ve been on the fence about a premium account and are sick of the ads, now might be a good time to shell out for a subscription.

Home Theater

Google brings ad-supported YouTube Music to its Google Home speakers

Hot on the heels of Amazon's announcement that it's adding a free version of its Amazon Music service to Alexa-powered speakers, Google is adding a free, ad-supported version of YouTube Music to Google Home smart speakers.
Gaming

Mortal Kombat 11 DLC characters reportedly leaked: Who’s next after Shang Tsung?

A datamine on Mortal Kombat 11 reportedly revealed all the DLC characters that will be added to the game's expansive roster. The leak corroborates the hint that the anti-hero Spawn is on his way to joining the fighting game.
Home Theater

Amazon’s free Spotify competitor is here. Just ask Alexa

Just ask Alexa to play your favorite song. Amazon has launched a free, ad-based music streaming service to compete with Spotify's free tier on its popular Echo devices, aiming to bolster subscriptions to Amazon Music Unlimited.
Mobile

Spruce up your Lenovo smartphone with the best Moto Mods for the Moto Z-series

Moto Mods, the snap-on accessories compatible with Lenovo's Moto Z-series smartphones add a lot of value without adding a lot of bulk. Looking to try one out? Here are a few of our favorite Moto Mods.
Home Theater

Keep those albums sounding great by converting your vinyl to a digital format

There are all sorts of reasons for ripping records and storing them digitally, but what's the best way to do it? We cover the different types of equipment and software available for ripping records at any price in this guide.
Emerging Tech

Even a true rock god can’t smash this unbreakable 3D-printed metal guitar

Rock stars love to smash guitars. Geeky engineers love to build things using the latest high-tech tools. What happens when both parties meet? This "unbreakable" 3D-printed metal guitar.
Music

Amazon rumored to be launching free music-streaming service

Rumors are swirling that Amazon is planning to take on Spotify by launching its own free, ad-supported music streaming service. This seems to be a move aimed at Echo users in particular.
Home Theater

Celebrate Record Store Day in style with the best vinyl setups

From simple and affordable to sleek and swanky, these are our recommendations for incredible vinyl setups that will allow you to listen to your favorite records with outstanding fidelity and take your collection to the next level.
Home Theater

Record Store Day is here! Here's how to build a killer vinyl collection

Feeling the vinyl vibe? You're not alone. If you're interested in starting your own record collection and listening to tunes the analog way, we're here to help. This guide will take you through everything you need to know.
Home Theater

Surface Buds? Microsoft might make AirPods competitors, joining Amazon and others

Microsoft is reportedly hard at work developing its own true wireless headphone model to compete with top offerings from Apple, Samsung, and others. It's aiming to take on the AirPods and Galaxy buds with its own pair of portable in-ears.
Deals

You can get V-Moda’s excellent wireless over-ear headphones for just $100

In the market for a pair of Bluetooth headphones? You can get a pair of V-Moda's first-generation Crossfade Wireless for a third of their original $300 list price, a fantastic deal for a pair of great-sounding headphones.
Home Theater

Sony releases wireless turntable, new soundbar amid slew of 2019 audio devices

Sony has announced pricing and availability for its 2019 home audio lineup, including a brand-new wireless turntable, a new soundbar, and a slew of Bluetooth speakers that range from small and portable to huge and cupholder-laden.
Movies & TV

From comedies to biopics, these are the best movies about music and musicians

The best movies about music range from hilarious comedies to powerful and informative biopics that illuminate the world of sonic expression from all possible angles. Here are our current favorites.
Home Theater

Puro’s kids headphones don’t just sound great, they help prevent hearing damage

Puro Sound Labs' PuroQuiet headphones are a pair of noise-canceling over-ears that are designed for young listeners, allowing them to jam out to their favorite tunes, but limiting volume to avoid long-term hearing damage.