To make sure subscribers aren’t abusing Spotify’s family plan, the streaming music giant has started checking in on where they live. Over and over again.
It’s all in the Premium Family program’s terms of service that Spotify updated in August. A single sentence outlines this new policy, which explains why the change went unnoticed until CNET spotted it Friday.
Premium Family subscribers must provide a home address using Google Maps or enable locations services for Spotify when signing up, information the company now vets periodically.
Up to six people can share Spotify’s Premium Family plan. While its guidelines maintain that those six people are supposed to all live at the same address, apparently enough subscribers were saying “screw that noise” and sharing their account details with whomever to get in on that sweet, sweet $18 per month deal that the company felt the need to put its foot down. Considering six separate Spotify Premium subscriptions would cost four times as much, I’m not exactly shocked.
Until now, Spotify didn’t have any procedures for assessing whether its subscribers were doing right by its terms of service, so it wasn’t exactly difficult to get around this rule. Then last year, the company began asking its subscribers for their GPS information as part of a pilot run, one that apparently did not go over well given today’s increasingly data-conscious culture, according to TechCrunch.
But I guess Spotify wasn’t deterred by this since the company now ask subscribers to confirm their home address “from time to time” to remain on the plan thanks to these new TOS.
Gizmodo reached out to Spotify to get an idea of how often that is exactly. I mean, are we talking “time to time” as in how often I change my water filter, or how often I (should) call my parents?
Spotify didn’t immediately respond to our request, but the company did provide the following statement to CNET about the location data require with this new policy:
“This data is encrypted and can be edited by the plan owner as needed. The location data that is collected during Premium Family account creation is only used by Spotify for that purpose.”
Unfortunately, at the moment it seems that families that want to get in on that discounted Spotify rate but don’t all live at the same address are simply SOL.