Recently I posted about how the streaming services are losing subscribers through family plans, when a user invites people into a plan from outside the family. This is especially the case for Spotify, who reportedly is suffering from this problem more than other streaming services. Now the company has taken the unusual attempt to stop what might be called “unauthorized” users by asking the main subscribers to the family plan for their GPS location information.
The company has sent an email out to some of its US users stating that “If you don’t confirm, you may lose access to the plan.”
Spotify clearly states that the two to five users on a family plan must live at the same address. The problem with that is that many families are spread out, with children who might be living in a home with one parent while another parent in a different location pays the streaming bill.
People are also up in arms with the privacy nature of providing a GPS address, although that’s relatively easy for Spotify or any online service to determine through IP address and other methods anyway.
Still, this is souring the user experience for many Spotify users, and could lead to a migration away from the service to another one. With Apple Music gaining market share in the US as it is, that company could be the main beneficiary of disgruntled Spotify family plan users.
That said, Spotify did not roll its GPS plan out to all US users, and this may be just a toe in the water to gauge the reaction. Don’t be surprised if the company pulls back on asking for location info considering the blowback.
But if you want to support your favorite artists, remember that it’s still best to have your own streaming account rather than cheaping out being a fake family member.