Spotify asks family plan subscribers to prove they are family

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Spotify app now playing screen
Don’t comply and you may lose access.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Spotify’s family plan makes it cheaper for multiple users to enjoy its premium music streaming service. But don’t try sharing it with friends.

Spotify is now asking family plan subscribers to prove they are indeed family by confirming they all live at the same address. “If you don’t confirm, you may lose access to the plan,” it warns.

Just like Apple Music, Spotify lets up to five people share its family plan, which is priced at $14.99 a month. It’s significantly cheaper than paying for individual plans at $9.99 apiece.

Spotify states on its website that all users on the same plan must live at the same address. Naturally, many ignore this and share a plan with friends to reduce the cost of access. Now Spotify is taking steps to prevent that.

Spotify asks users to prove where they live

The company has started asking users to confirm their location with GPS data. “In order for us to offer a Premium discount, we need to make sure all family members live at the same location,” Spotify’s email to customers explains.

“Spotify will only use your GPS data to verify your location and nothing else. By confirming your location, you get to enjoy Spotify Premium for Family, and help to pay artists fairly for their music.”

Spotify warns that “you may lose access to the plan” if you don’t agree to confirm your address.

Is Spotify being fair?

It’s understandable that Spotify would want to prevent its family plan from being abused, but is this rule really fair? After all, not all families live under the same roof.

Some might share accounts with parents who are separated. Some might spend much of their time away from home for college. Others might share with family members who live abroad. Should they be left out in the cold because of that?

Either way, it doesn’t look like users have a way around this for now. It’s unclear if Spotify has already started revoking access to those who don’t confirm their location — but it has made that threat.

This email has been distributed to family plan subscribers in Germany only so far, according to Quartz. You can probably expect to see it rolling out in other market soon.