Spotify Wants Family Plan Members to Share Their Location Data ‘From Time to Time’

Spotify will require family plan members to provide their location data "from time to time" to prove they're all living under the same roof, in an effort to curb subscribers who abuse the offer.

The Spotify Premium Family Plan has been hugely popular among users of the music streaming service, since it offers families up to six accounts under one plan for a single price of $14.99 a month, as does Apple Music's equivalent.

It's no secret that friends sometimes gang up together to share the spoils of subscribing to Spotify's cheaper family plan, even though they don't live together. If six people share a plan then the cost of Spotify Premium works out at $2.50 per person.

The streaming service officially requires that fellow family plan members live in the same household, but Spotify has historically been fairly lax about checking up on where people live, so it's easy to see the appeal.

However, according to the streaming service's terms and conditions, updated in August, family plan users will be expected to share location data "from time to time" in order to prove that everyone on the plan is in fact living in the same residence.

First spotted by CNET, the new requirement does raise privacy concerns, but Spotify has moved to allay those fears by issuing the following statement:
"The location data that is collected during Premium Family account creation is only used by Spotify for that purpose.... once verification of a family member's home address is completed, we do not store their location data or track their location at any time. This data is encrypted and can be edited by the plan owner as needed."
It's not clear how aggressive Spotify will be in checking user's locations, but it has tested the policy before – though it ended shortly afterward after complaints of privacy violations.


Regardless, existing family plan subscribers who don't like the change have up to 30 days to cancel their subscription after the new terms come into effect. Depending where they are though, subscribers may not have as much time as they think. The updated family plan terms rolled out first in Ireland on August 19 and in the U.S. on September 5.

Tag: Spotify

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Spotify Premium Extends Free Trial Period to Three Months, Matching Apple Music

Spotify today announced that it is extending its free-trial period for Spotify Premium to three months, up from the previous one month that users would have to try out the paid service. With this extension, Spotify and Apple Music now offer the same amount of free trial time before customers have to pay for the music streaming services.


In its blog post on the announcement, Spotify confirmed that the offer will last for the foreseeable future and is "not limited time." Users across the globe will gain access to the three month free trial period, including Individual and Student Plans, all starting today.

The three month free trial is only open to new users, and is not available to those who have already tried Spotify Premium. You can find more information about the announcement in Spotify's blog post.

Tag: Spotify

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Spotify Adds Parental Control Feature to its Family Plan

Spotify is launching a new content filter feature for its Family Plan to give parents and guardians better control over what their children listen to.


The owner of the family plan master account will be able to set an Explicit Content Filter on individual sub-accounts, which will prevent the user from playing anything in the Spotify library marked as explicit.

The filter is accessed from a new Family Hub, where the master account holder can add and remove family members and update the family address. The ability to set the content filter will be password protected to add an extra layer of security.

Apart from the new content filter, Spotify is also introducing a new Family Mix feature, which gives the whole family access to personalized playlists. The changes are rolling out today in Ireland and coming soon to other regions and territories where the family plan is offered.

Spotify's $14.99 Family Plan allows up to six people to jump on board the same subscription to the streaming service, although Spotify does expect all members to live under the same roof.

Apple Music also offers a family subscription for $14.99 for up to six people to use via Family Sharing. Parents can also use Apple's Screen Time feature to set content restrictions remotely for their kids' devices.

Tag: Spotify

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Spotify and Apple in Talks to Let Siri Play Spotify Content

Spotify and Apple are in talks over a potential "truce" that would allow Siri to play songs, playlists, and albums from Spotify via voice commands from iPhone users, reports The Information.

Apple in iOS 13 is introducing SiriKit changes that will allow Siri to play music, podcasts, audiobooks, and radio from third-party apps, which seems to be the feature that the two companies have been discussing.


The SiriKit changes will let Spotify and other developers build Siri support into their apps, letting users control audio playback with Siri commands. Users will be able to use commands like "Hey Siri, play Fleetwood Mac from Spotify" to access Spotify instead of Apple Music.

Apple has similar Siri features for third-party messaging apps, allowing Siri commands to be used to send messages using WhatsApp and other apps instead of the Messages app. Siri commands also work with third-party ride sharing, workout, payments, photo, and VoIP apps.

Should Apple and Spotify come to an agreement about the new feature, Apple Music is expected to remain the default music streaming service on Apple devices when users ask Siri to play songs, according to one of the sources that spoke to The Information.

A mockup of what Spotify's Siri integration could look like

The conversations between Apple and Spotify come following a March antitrust complaint from Spotify in the European Union, where Spotify claimed that Apple's App Store rules "limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience."

In its complaint, Spotify called out Apple's 30 percent fee for third-party apps in the App Store, which Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said gives Apple an "unfair advantage" for Apple Music. Ek also complained about Apple's "experience-limiting restrictions," locking Spotify and other competitors out of services like Siri.


Spotify's complaint has resulted in a formal investigation of Apple's App Store practices by the European Competition Commission, which is ongoing.

On its "Time to Play Fair" website that outlines its dispute with Apple, Spotify recently changed wording reflecting the SiriKit changes in iOS 13. It used to read as follows: "Apple won't allow us to be on HomePod and they definitely won't let us connect with Siri to play your jams."

After an update, the website now says the following: "Only recently, Apple announced that it will let us connect with Siri to play your jams...but fails to mention our name ("I want to play [X] on Spotify") and your HomePod will default to Apple Music." The wording changes suggest Spotify will indeed implement Siri support, but the company still seems to be unhappy with the inability to set Spotify as the default music service on Apple devices.

Related Roundups: iOS 13, iPadOS
Tag: Spotify

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AT&T Unlimited &More Premium Wireless Plan Bundles Spotify Premium at No Extra Cost

After partnering with Hulu, Spotify today announced that it will bundle its Premium plan with AT&T's most expensive wireless offering. Specifically, if you pay for AT&T's Unlimited &More Premium plan, you'll have the option to get a Spotify Premium monthly subscription at no extra cost (via Variety).


AT&T's Unlimited &More Premium plans start at $80 monthly per line, and if you are an existing Spotify Premium customer who has &More Premium, you'll be able to keep your current Spotify account when signing up for the offer.

Spotify is one of seven options in AT&T's entertainment bundle, and customers can also choose one of the following as their free add-on: HBO, Cinemax, VRV, Showtime, Starz, or Pandora.
“We continue to build relationships with world-class partners like AT&T to bring our Spotify Premium product to new audiences in the U.S. and across the globe,” Marc Hazan, Spotify’s VP of premium partnerships, said in a statement.
AT&T will also offer select wireless customers a six-month free trial of Spotify Premium. According to AT&T, this is the beginning of an "ongoing collaboration" with Spotify, which just reached 108 million paid subscribers around the world as of June.

The new AT&T entertainment bundle with Spotify Premium will be available from tomorrow, August 6.

Tags: Spotify, AT&T

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Spotify Grows to 108M Paid Subscribers Compared to Apple Music’s 60M

Spotify today announced that it has grown to 108 million paid subscribers globally as of June 30, 2019. That number is an increase from 100 million paid subscribers, which the company reported in April.


In total, there are 232 million monthly active users on Spotify, including the ones on the free version of Spotify. This is an increase of 29 percent year-over-year.

Comparatively, Apple Music was reported in June to have 60 million paid subscribers. Despite the difference in paid subscriber counts, Apple Music in early 2019 reportedly surpassed Spotify's paid subscriber total in the United States. Apple Music at the time had somewhere around 28 million U.S. subscribers, compared to Spotify's 26 million.

Spotify now predicts that it might have as many as 125 million paid subscribers by the end of Q4 2019.


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Spotify on iPad Now Supports Slide Over and Split View Multitasking

The newest version of Spotify for iOS, released yesterday, quietly added support for Apple's multitasking Slide Over and Split View feature on the iPad.

As noted on Reddit and highlighted by The Verge, you can now open and use the Spotify app alongside another app in Split View, or open it up in Slide Over to quickly access Spotify controls without having to close the current apps you have open.


Apple's Split View and Slide Over multitasking features were first introduced in 2015, so it's taken Spotify quite some time to implement support for the functionality.

Tag: Spotify

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Spotify Stations iOS App Gains CarPlay Support

Spotify has added CarPlay support to its standalone Stations app, allowing users to control radio playback from their in-car infotainment systems and dashboards.


Spotify Stations' support for Apple CarPlay was spotted by a Reddit user

Released in the U.S. in June, the app lets Spotify account holders stream music from curated, radio-like stations. In that sense, Spotify Stations has similarities with Pandora, offering personalized stations or playlists based on the user's Spotify history.

Music starts playing as soon as you launch the app, then you can choose from a list of several preset stations. Like in Spotify proper, premium subscribers get unlimited skips and ad-free listening, while non-paying listeners can use the free ad-supported version which comes with limited skips.

Aside from the personalized content, the Stations app also serves popular playlists from the main Spotify platform, including Discover Weekly, Favorites, and Release Radar.

Stations is a free download for iPhone and iPad available from the App Store. [Direct Link]

Related Roundup: CarPlay
Tag: Spotify

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Apple Says Spotify Only Pays 15% Fee on About 0.5% of Subscribers in Response to App Store Complaint

Apple has filed a response to Spotify's anticompetitive complaint about the App Store in Europe, noting that Spotify pays Apple a 15 percent commission for only about 0.5 percent of its paying subscribers, according to CNET.


That figure equates to around 680,000 users who subscribed to Spotify through its iOS app, via Apple's in-app purchase system, between 2014 and 2016. This is because Apple only collects a 30 percent commission for the first year of a subscription, at which point the fee drops to 15 percent.

Apple's response comes three months after Spotify announced it had filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with the European Commission over unfair App Store practices. Spotify took particular issue with Apple charging a 30 percent "tax" on App Store purchases, calling it "discriminatory":
Apple requires that certain apps pay a 30% fee for use of their in-app purchase system (IAP) – as is their prerogative. However, the reality is that the rules are not applied evenly across the board. Does Uber pay it? No. Deliveroo? No. Does Apple Music pay it? No. So Apple gives the advantage to its own services.
Apple only charges a commission on in-app purchases tied to digital goods, which is why apps like Uber and Deliveroo are exempt.

Apple also forbids Spotify and other developers from alerting users that they can sign up for a subscription or complete a purchase outside of its iOS app, and disallows Spotify from advertising deals to its customers in the app or by email, as these practices would circumvent Apple's in-app purchase system.

Apple has faced increasing scrutiny as of late over the way it runs its App Store. In response, Apple said the App Store "welcomes competition," noting that it was created to be "a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps" and "a great business opportunity for all developers."

Apple previously labeled Spotify's complaint as "misleading rhetoric" and claimed that "Spotify wants all the benefits of a free app without being free."

European Commission regulators will now review Apple's response as part of its probe.


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Some Spotify Users Frustrated With Recent Update, Moving to Apple Music Instead

One week ago today Spotify launched a revamped "Your Library" tab that the company said was "designed to get you to the content you want faster." According to Spotify subscribers on r/Spotify, this update has done the complete opposite and made navigating large music libraries nearly impossible, with the main purpose apparently made to promote Spotify's burgeoning interest in podcasts.


On r/Spotify this week, over a thousand users have gotten behind a post asking for the "old" Spotify to come back, with a few hundred comments discussing the various problems with the update. People have a lot of different thoughts on the update, but the consensus on what went wrong appears to be that Spotify stripped features in Your Library to make room for the new Podcasts tab.

In the process, the Songs tab was removed and the recently played section has been moved and downgraded, showing fewer artists and songs and removing some of its customization features. We've linked some of the Reddit users who provided specific complaints about the update below:
u/TehCrag: "Basically they removed the Songs tab and the Recently played section. And the albums tab only shows full albums that you have saved, so if you have 3 songs from the same album, they would be in the ‘liked songs’ playlist instead... which doesn’t have an alphabet scroll bar.

Also there’s a giant podcast tab next to music. They’re pushing them hard."
u/Skippin101: "There is no alphabetical "scroll bar" on the right side of the liked songs, artists, or albums pages. If I want to play a song that starts with "Z", I have to manually scroll all the way to the bottom instead of tapping the "Z" letter on the right side like before.

The recently played tab is a huge downgrade. It's now on the homepage, features far less artists/playlists, isn't customizable (i.e. you can't remove an artist or playlist from it or re-arrange it), can't be used in offline mode, and, worst of all by a country mile, when you click on a recently played artist it takes you to their artist page instead of showing you which songs you've saved by that artist."
Due to these changes, a thread recently began on r/AppleMusic welcoming Spotify users who are moving over to Apple's streaming service instead, which appears to be quite a lot. Some Spotify users pointed out that they moved from Apple Music to Spotify for features like the recently played section in Your Library, which let them quickly jump back into the albums they had just listened to.


Now that this and other features have been removed, talk of canceling Spotify and moving to Apple Music has increased. Even on Twitter, searches for "Spotify update" lead to numerous tweets about users frustrated with the UI changes and asking Spotify to revert the update.

There have been a handful of controversial app updates over the past few years, including platforms like Snapchat. That app's November 2017 update, which was aimed at getting users to more clearly see the distinction between friends and celebrities, was so disliked that Snapchat ended up reverting some of the changes. The company still lost millions of users in the process.

Spotify has yet to comment on the reaction to the new update.


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