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.
@Spotify Why do you need my GPS location to continue offering me a "Premium discount"? I pay for the family plan and it should not matter where my family lives. Will you cancel my account if my family gets too far from each other? #wtf #fail pic.twitter.com/HauQtHXSUA — suck (@unaligned) September 18, 2018
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.