Spotify is the world’s most popular digital music service.
It gives people complete access to millions of songs and what not.
Apparently, that is not enough for some Spotify users.
Recent reports suggest that there are a lot of people who access Spotify services with the help of hacked applications.
What do they use hacked applications for?
Well, reports say that people use a hacked application in order to remove some of the most irritating restrictions that Spotify places on its free accounts.
Now, Spotify has recognized the issue.
And has started to send warning emails to users who are using these hacked applications to enjoy more content than they legally should.
These warning emails basically proceed in the same way.
They warn the user that the company has observed abnormal activity from the Spotify user’s software.
Now the company has also said that future breaches of a similar kind could result in the termination and/or suspension of Spotify user accounts.
With that said, it is unlikely that such warning messages would dent Spotify’s position as a fantastic audio service and a legitimate streaming service that more than 10 million users use from all corners of the world.
According to the figures that Spotify released last December, about 71 million users of the 159 million Spotify users are premium subscribers.
In other words, they pay for their audio content all the time.
That leaves us with 88 million of other Spotify users.
These Spotify members are basically free users.
By free users, we mean that they use Spotify for free by taking advantage of the company’s free tier system.
The free tier system is different from the premium system in the sense that Spotify shows its free users ads.
And in return for being subjected to advertisements, Spotify users get to use the service for free.
The free tier system does come with some other limitations as well.
These limitations come in the form of the lack of ability to skip tracks and shuffle-only play.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what Spotify is trying to do there.
Basically, they are rolling on with the idea that they would provide users with a free service and then offer them some more.
When the user feels the decent level of Spotify service, then Spotify holds the experience back for a bit.
Spotify does that with small irritations.
These irritations usually do the trick of pushing users to jump to Spotify premium subscription model.
And perhaps that is the logical step at one point or another.
There are some things that these millions of free tier Spotify users don’t know.
Things like, modified Spotify Apps.
They do exist.
What do they do?
They allow users to remove most of the free tier restrictions that Spotify applies to free Spotify user accounts.
So what does the user have to do in order to have access to the free tier Spotify subscription account but without all the limitations?
Well, first the user has to sign up for a free Spotify account.
That part is obvious enough.
Then the user has to download just one of the many available hacked Spotify apps.
We say apps, but these are just installation files.
They are available freely on the internet if one knows where to look for them.
After getting those installation files, free Spotify users have to input their usernames and passwords.
Then, they just have to enjoy content on Spotify without many of the restrictions that originally came with their free tier accounts.
But exactly how many Spotify users make use of this technique is unknown.
There is no media source that can confirm the number of people who are taking advantage of these hacked Spotify app versions.
In fact, it is still a mystery as to why the company hasn’t really done something about these free tier users utilizing hacked apps.
This has started to change in the past couple of days.
The company has now shown enough signs that it has noticed the problem and that it had a plan to start the crackdown.
Reports say that Spotify has sent an official email to an unknown but, for sure, a significant number of free tier Spotify users.
In the email, Spotify has informed these users of the recent emergence of modified apps.
The company has also told them that it has started to notice these free tier users consuming content beyond their legal rights.
Spotify has also hinted that the company could make people who tried to subvert the Spotify system face consequences.
The email from Spotify to its users usually starts off by informing the user about the problem.
Reports say that the official email first informs the users that the company has detected rather abnormal activity on the Spotify app that the user has installed.
It also informs the user that the company has decided to disable the app.
After that, Spotify informs the user that they don’t need to worry about anything as the user’s Spotify account is safe and sound.
After the initial description of the error and why Spotify has disabled the app, it gives the user the good news.
What’s the good news?
The good news, according to Spotify, is that users can indeed access their Spotify account again.
All they have to do is to uninstall their current version of the official Spotify app.
As mentioned before, this isn’t really the official version of the Spotify app.
The users receiving this email are only receiving it because they have used a modified and/or unauthorized version of the Spotify app.
Regardless, via the email, the company advises such users to download and install the correct version of the official Spotify app.
Users can easily do so from places such as the official Google Play Store.
For users who need more help on the issue, the company recommends that the should see their support article on how to reinstall Spotify.
Spotify Users And Their Reaction
Naturally, Spotify users have taken it to the internet to respond to the Spotify email messages.
Some users have actually started to pop up on the official Spotify forums.
There they have asked other Spotify users questions related to why they have received the email from Spotify.
Some Spotify users seem to have this idea that they have actually done nothing wrong.
Of course, the fact remains the same.
According to the Spotify, only those Spotify users have received the email who have installed the modified version of the company’s app.
If a free tier user is making use of the modified software then it is likely that the company would send the user the error email.
Just like any technology company with a good head, Spotify ends the email on a good note.
The company thanked the user for choosing Spotify to consume audio content.
And being one of the many Spotify users.
But it also gives the free tier user a warning.
The email from the company warns the user that if the company detects repeated use of modified and/or unauthorized apps which violate the company’s terms then the company reserved all the rights including terminating and/or suspending the user’s account.
Now, this could present a huge problem for users who have made accounts with the company using their real credentials.
The company could easily identify such users and then ban them.
Or punish them with a temporary fine/ban.
But most of the users who have made use of the modified version of the Spotify app had made all the preparations beforehand.
In other words, they signed up knowing that things could go wrong at any time.
And hence they signed up with the company using a temporary or secondary email address.
Reports also say that such free tier Spotify users provided the company with false details.
No one can say for sure how far the company will go in order to rid its audio service of these kinds of problems.
The “problems” in this case are the users themselves.
Perhaps the company will introduce new measures which would ban accounts on a permanent basis.
But as for the actual response, that remains unknown.
For the moment, the effects of this Spotify email in order to crackdown on free tier users abusing the service seem mixed.
Folks over at TorrentFreak decided to do something about the new situation and spoke with these free tier Spotify users.
For clarity’s sake, they specifically talked to Spotify users who made use of modified versions of the company’s official app.
These are also the same free tier users who received the email from the company informing them of their “misdeeds”.
TorrentFreak also spoke to users whose installations seems to be working properly and without any problems.
The other thing that has become very clear in the last couple of days is that Spotify intends to take care of this issue.
And not just in terms of banning users who make use of these modified versions of the company’s app.
The company also wants to go after the creators of these modified apps.
About four days ago on March 01, 2018 Spotify wrote to the popular repository website Github and demanded Github to take down a very popular Spotify mod which went by the name of Dog Food.
Readers who want to read the full DMCA takedown notice should click here.
The company listed Dogfood along with several other Github forks as repositories that they wanted Github to get rid of.
As expected, Github complied and took down the said repositories.
People active in the Spotify mod community had seen signs as early as January of this year that the developer of Spotify Dogfood had to endure a lot of pressure in order to limit the effectiveness of the modified Spotify app.
The develop behind Dog Food also made an announcement back on January 18.
In the announcement, he mentioned that he would remove some of the functions from the app very soon.
The developer wrote that man other features would simply go away in the said mod.
Moreover, he said, the removed features did not mean anything if the user was a core and true consumer of his app.
Because he (the developer) would still come up with updates for the unauthorized app just like he had done so from the beginning.
It is unclear exactly where the development of the app will take place at this moment in time.
But one can rest assured that the developer won’t use Github for the app’s development moving forward.
Indeed, even a forum like XDA has had to endure increasing pressure from the likes of Spotify and others.
The site has received a DMCA notice from Spotify.
And the company has demanded XDA to remove several links related to the modified app.
The company has also demanded that XDA should close down the whole discussion regarding the company’s official app.
At this point in the time, it seems like Spotify wants to take it easy and get the job done in a nice way.
The company has shown that with its treatment of users who have utilized modified apps.
No one can say for sure if the company would continue in the same way.
In other words, right now their attitude is a relaxed one.
But again, it would be hard for anyone to not connect Spotify’s move against unauthorized use of its app when it wants to go public very soon.
The company’s valuation has crossed the $23 billion mark and news of users pirating the service’s content might bring that down.
It is true that Spotify knows more about how to deal with pirates than most other technology companies.
Why do we say that?
We say that because of Spotify’s history with piracy.
And because it has that experience, it might be able to come up with a decent plan to get rid of users who want to consume all of Spotify’s content for free.
What? Spotify Has A History Of Pirates?
You heard that right.
Spotify actually used to own uTorrent.
But that was a long time ago.
After Spotify, BitTorrent Inc acquired uTorrent and everyone seem to just forget about the fact that Spotify owned it first.
Spotify is currently preparing itself to collect thousands of millions (or billions) of dollars by listing the company on the New York Stock exchange.
However, there is a little-known fact about Spotify that not many people know about.
And this fact has played a significant role in the company’s emergence.
Spotify, the world’s most used audio content streaming service, actually hired Ludvig Strigeus.
Who is he?
He is one of the very first developers who created uTorrent.
Moreover, Ludwig also owned the almost ubiquitous BitTorrent client (but only for a short period of time).
No one can question the fact that Spotify wants to give people a remedy.
A remedy for piracy.
And it has some of the biggest labels backing it.
Regardless of all that, Spotify does have piracy roots.
And no matter how much it tries to hide them, they are undeniable.
Of course, one can’t really say for sure that Spotify would not be such a big company if it hadn’t used questionable practices with uTorrent in the past.
Afterall, Spotify can count itself as the creator of uTorrent.
But for a young company, anything can have a significant impact on its growth.
The early releases of Spotify had a very prominent file-sharing angle as well.
Spotify users streamed all of the service’s tracks over the internet.
And most of these users made use of P2P connections to stream audio content.
We will not even go into the details of how Spotify reportedly provided pirated MP3s to its users when it was in its Beta stage.
Spotify also offered users tracks that, at the time, were only available on sites such as The Pirate Bay.
Of course, there is a lot to it than what we have mentioned here.
Spotify’s ownership of a platform such as uTorrent was brief.
But most people don’t know that it did indeed have an affiliation with a piracy platform in its beginning.
Perhaps that is by plan rather than an accident.
Back in the day when BitTorrent Inc made the announcement of acquiring uTorrent AB, it did not mention Spotify.
Of course, in those days, Spotify still held the tag of an unknown company.
Times certainly change.
For more on this story go here.