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.