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Spotify kills test that required family plan users to share GPS location

Spotify Family Plans

Subscribing for Spotify Premium for Family with your friends sound like a genius move, but it’s also something the music streaming giant doesn’t appreciate. To prevent groups of friends from masquerading as families, Spotify is willing to pull some unusual moves, including asking you to confirm your home address by sending Spotify your location.

As you can see in the Spotify prompt below, Spotify seems to think that proving you live under the same roof with the other members of your Premium for Family is enough to confirm your identity.

Failing to confirm your home address — using your GPS data — may lead to losing your Premium subscription.

It seems that the prompt was part of a brief test and only affected some users. Spotify has stopped the test following backlash, but that doesn’t mean the feature is lost for good.

Spotify is wrong twice here. Some customers may be abusing the family plan, but that doesn’t mean all the members of a family that’s paying for Spotify Premium have to live in the same house. Surely, there must be a different way to prove it. Secondly, how does this move stop friends who’re actually living together from abusing the feature?

But Spotify does have clear but unrealistic rules that have to be respected. As Quartz points out, Spotify states that the two to five people on each family plan must live at the same address. So if those are the rules under which Premium family plans are sold then buyers should respect them.

What’s ironic is that friends who happen to live together can still pretend they’re a family under these rules. They may have to share their location with Spotify from time to time. The more problematic issue is that not all the members of a family that’s actually paying for a Premium plan will always reside at the same address.

As for the privacy aspect of the prompt above, asking customers to allow the app to track their location might not sound right. But the company only uses your location to verify your address. “Spotify will only use your GPS data to verify your location and nothing else,” the company says on its pages.

A Billboard report last month said that Spotify is worried about slipping revenues per users, family plans being one of the reason.

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.