By David Meyer
March 6, 2018

Spotify, the major music-streaming service that’s about to launch an unusual initial public offering, is cracking down on services that give its free users access to premium-level features.

According to Spotify’s official figures, calculated at the end of last year, it has 159 million users, 71 million of whom are paying subscribers. Those who don’t pay can still use the service to listen to music for free, but they have to deal with annoying audio ads, as well as restrictions on the mobile app that stop them from listening to an album in its proper order.

However, certain modified apps are available that allow Spotify’s free-tier users to bypass these restrictions, when they log in with their Spotify details.

Now, as first reported by TorrentFreak, Spotify has been emailing some of these apps’ users to tell them that Spotify has disabled their apps, so they need to download the official app to continue using the service.

“If we detect repeated use of unauthorized apps in violation of our terms, we reserve all rights, including suspending or terminating your account,” the email goes on to warn.

“The users in question were accessing Spotify through an unauthorized app, so we have disabled access through such apps,” Spotify said in a statement. “Anyone affected can continue to use Spotify by downloading the official Spotify app from the Google Play Store and logging in using their existing account credentials.”

TorrentFreak also noted that Spotify sent a copyright takedown notice to the computer-code repository Github, demanding that it remove a Spotify mod called “Dogfood” that removes ads from the listening experience.

It seems that the company is preparing for its IPO by ensuring potential investors that it’s not running a leaky ship. That’s not surprising, given that Spotify lost $1.5 billion last year (or $461 million on an operating basis, as opposed to GAAP.)

This article was updated to include Spotify’s statement.

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