Spotify “Cracking Down” On Family Plan Subscribers

If you’ve been including some, shall we say extended family, in your Spotify family plan subscription, a reckoning could play out soon.

Spotify is contacting some subscribers to its Premium for Family plan, asking them to confirm the family members all reside at a single address via GPS, according to multiple media reports and social media posts.

“If you don’t confirm, you may lose access to the plan,” the emails say.

The streaming service began offering the family plan four years ago, letting subscribers add up to five more users who reside at the same address for $14.99 monthly. Those users get the service as do individual subscribers to the $9.99 monthly Premium plan, which has no advertisements and lets you skip tracks and download music for offline listening – significant upgrades over Spotify’s free service.

But some family plan users have recently gotten emails from Spotify asking them to confirm their home address using GPS, according to posts on Twitter and reports in Quartz and Spiegel Online.

Many users posting about the situation brought up the fact that not all families live in the same home, with many having some members who live in different locations, even overseas.

Such a location-based requirement, should it be permanently enforced, could be seen to run counter to a recent agreement with Ancestry.com to encourage users to listen to music based on their DNA – an experiment that could collate music from across the world.

Some said the decision could make them consider Apple Music, which has a similar family plan at the same price. “Pretty aggressive,” is how Philip Battin, an executive at Google, characterized Spotify’s move on Twitter in his post showing the notice from Spotify.

For its part, Spotify is not confirming the process and offered this statement in response to a query about the family plan situation.

“Spotify is currently testing improvements to the user experience of Premium for Family with small user groups in select markets,” it said. “We are always testing new products and experiences at Spotify, but have no further news to share regarding this particular feature test at this time.”

Follow USA TODAY reporter Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.

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