Spotify is cracking down on users pirating Premium-like service

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Spotify is cracking down on users who run modded versions of the software that remove some of the restrictions of free accounts, as reported by Torrent Freak. The company has been sending out emails over the past few days to those with the hacked accounts, saying it has “detected abnormal activity on the app” and disabled the account in question. Spotify hasn’t deleted these accounts outright, and users can reactivate them once they uninstall the illicit software and download the official Spotify app.

Around 88 million accounts are registered for the free version of Spotify, which injects advertising and imposes limitations like shuffle-only play. However, many sites offer downloads of doctored Spotify installation files that make free accounts act — to a degree — like Premium accounts. All one has to do is register for a free account, then download the modified version and enter their credentials. This hack doesn’t change accounts from free to Premium (for example, it doesn’t provide access to higher-quality streaming) but enables some Premium features like unlimited skips.

It’s unclear how many of these modded accounts exist or how much of a problem it is for the company, which is gearing up to go public. Spotify counts 159 million users around the world, and 71 million of those accounts are paid premium subscribers, but it has still struggled to turn a profit given the paper-thin margins of streaming.

Image: Torrent Freak


I think the shuffle-only, limited skips on the phone apps led to the rise of people using modded software. Before, people using the free version would tolerate the ads because at least you could play a specific song if you wanted to. I think if Spotify reverses course on the shuffle-only phone apps they will see piracy/modded app usage decline significantly.

Using that logic, they could just disable the free service too.

Spotify never used to let mobile phones stream at all

Good. Piracy hurts the industry no matter how much people feel entitled to consume other peoples stuff. Same with film, tv and gaming.

Exactly. And $9.99 is not expensive at all. And $14.99 for a family plan really makes it worth it. I would honestly find the service worth $19.99 with how much I use it. I likely use Spotify 9 hours a day. Far more than any video streaming service I subscribe to.

This is why I’m a libertarian.

Good. Spotify is already an insane deal, I don’t even think twice about paying for premium.

Especially there Family plan. 5 accounts for $14.99.

My friends are big fans of the family plan indeed.

Well.. Groove Music was 100$ per year. and not 120$ from Spotify, for the same amount of music, and powered by a better app. Heck, you could even sort new releases by genre. Not to mention the insane deals of 30 or 50$ promos per year that it sometimes had. But I guess that is why it failed in the end. It wasn’t sustainable for Microsoft. And I guess the constant renaming, rebranding, focus in and out on its mobile app, didn’t help, and regions coverage wasn’t the same… but hey it was cheaper. Oh well.

The issue with Groove music was content and the fact they never really marketed it that heavily at all.

Groove was a great app and service, but my guess is they couldn’t get enough users to give them any leverage in negotiating rates with the content owners.

And as a student, I get it half off.

I listen to unlimited choose-any-song Spotify on PC in my web browser ad-free with a simple ad-block plugin and have been for years. This still works.

People like you are part of the problem. Hopefully Spotify can path up whatever allows you to do what you do.

Artists still get paid their £0.005 per stream which is what really matters, it’s Spotify themselves that are missing out on SirMaster’s ad money.

As for where that money that "really matters" comes from, it is well established to be:

Spotify needs to make money also.

And people wonder why iOS gets developed first.

The other day I saw someone in the forums promoting a modded Android APK for Spotify.

Ironically Spotify++ for iOS still seems to work

What kind of ass hole is stealing from Spotify…

Stealers gonna steal…

It’s $10 a month to listen to whatever the heck you want to. $15 for a family. If you’re stealing this, you’ll steal anything, and it doesn’t matter what they charge.

So if I choose not to listen to ads… that’s piracy by omission?

I think the cat just ate the mouse.

View All Comments
Back to top ↑