Spotify Asks Some Family Plan Users to Prove They Live Together Using GPS

September 28, 2018, 5:27 PM UTC

Spotify is cracking down on users who may be taking advantage of the “Premium for Family” discount by requiring some to confirm that they live in the same household.

The music streaming service sent an email to some family account users in the U.S. and Germany that said it wanted to confirm their location using GPS, Quartz reports. In it, Spotify claims it will “only use your GPS data to verify your location and nothing else,” but if you don’t submit the data, you may lose access to the plan.

Many users are angry about the request, arguing that people don’t need to live in the same household to be considered a family. Some may be separated, travel frequently, or work abroad, one user pointed out on Twitter.

Amid the negative response, Spotify may be forced to reevaluate how it defines a family, or perhaps rename its family plan to be more roommate-focused. The fine print does say the Premium for Family deal is for “you and up to five people who reside at your same address,” with no mention of familial relation.

The music streaming service’s request for location confirmation may be an effort to shore up a decline in average revenue per user (ARPU). The family deal gives up to six people premium access for just $14.99 per month, compared to $9.99 for individual subscribers.

According to Billboard, Spotify’s APRU dropped 12% in this year’s second quarter, compared to the same period last year. And the family plan’s popularity is huge: 30% of all new subscriptions are Premium for Family users.

In a statement to Quartz, Spotify said it is “currently testing improvements to the user experience of Premium for Family with small user groups in select markets.”

“We are always testing new products and experiences at Spotify,” read the statement, “but have no further news to share regarding this particular feature test at this time.”