Spotify says that it's taking a more aggressive approach toward free accounts that use ad blockers to skip ads and other promotional content.
The streaming service is now going to ban non-premium accounts that use ad blockers, as stated in its revised Terms of Service policy published recently.
Spotify Account Termination
The rules make clear that "circumventing or blocking advertisements in the Spotify Service, or creating or distributing tools designed to block advertisements in the Spotify Service" may result in suspension, if not immediate termination, of one's account.
Before this, Spotify was already making significant moves to pluck out ad blockers from its platform. In August 2018, it was reported that the company has various detection methods in place monitoring consumption on the service. They can detect, investigate, and deal with "artificial manipulation of streaming activity."
Spotify had begun cracking down on freeloaders much earlier, though. In March 2018, when it was reported that around 2 million users — or about 2 percent of the entire Spotify Free user pool — were using ad blockers to skip ads, Spotify took action.
The company began disabling accounts upon detection of abnormal activity. It sent warnings via email and even gave affected users a chance to redeem their accounts after uninstalling or deactivating ad-blocking software. Spotify was more aggressive in some cases than others. Users who kept on using ad blockers were promptly shown out the door, their accounts effectively terminated.
For a person who loves music, that meant losing heaps and heaps of playlists, saved items, and other content. When the new Terms of Service goes into effect on March 1, Spotify can start terminating accounts immediately even without warning. The change stands to make Spotify's platform cleanup much faster now that it doesn't have to send emails or warn users before banning them or shutting them out of the service.
It's an aggressive but important change as Spotify experiences one of the most notable inflection points in its history. Spotify's latest earnings reveal that the company turned a profit — the first time in its entire 13-year history. The company is reportedly in talks to acquire podcast network Gimlet Media, which includes podcasts such as Reply All and Homecoming, in an attempt to bolster the podcasting element of its service.
"The format is really evolving and while podcasting is still a relatively small business today, I see incredible growth potential for the space and for Spotify in particular," said Spotify CEO Daniel Ek.