Spotify Suspends Users Caught “Incorrectly Downloading” Songs

Photo credit: Imtiyaz Ali

Spotify is suspending users who used a third-party tool to make copies of streaming music.

Spotify calls copies of tracks “improperly downloaded”. This is because Spotify Premium members can record music locally, but that music can only be played in the Spotify app. The streaming music copies created using the third-party tool can be played in any application, essentially creating an individual copy of the streaming song.

The software tool has given users the ability to stream and record content from Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, TIDAL, and SoundCloud. It captures the audio streams, cuts them to their individual tracks, and then saves them to the local device as an .mp3 file. Now users of the software are reporting that their Spotify accounts are banned.

Users started posting on the company’s official forum, like Noted by TorrentFreak. An email from Spotify informs them that they are suspending users’ accounts.

“Spotify has determined that your account was involved in improper use of the Spotify service that violates the terms of service, including potentially inappropriate downloads,” the email read. Spotify can identify when and how its users access its audio content. As a result, they were able to determine when users were using the service based on its rapid checkout rates.

Third-party developers explain that the software allows Spotify to play music faster, so the recording process succeeds faster. But this data allows Spotify to see users with 50 minutes of listening time compressed into five minutes. This is a clear indicator that these users are streaming music to create inappropriate copies.

Some users have reported that they can get their account unblocked by contacting Spotify. Spotify defines the copying, redistribution, reproduction, ripping, recording, transfer or broadcasting of the Spotify service as prohibited and contrary to the terms of use. If Spotify can prove that its users have done any of these things, it can suspend access to their account.

These third-party services claim that their technology doesn’t bypass DRM that protects tracks, but that’s questionable. Songs downloaded by the Spotify app can only be played in the Spotify app – a form of DRM itself. Songs created by this software can be played anywhere which bypasses Spotify’s DRM on local copies of music. While the service targets other music streaming services, Spotify is the only one that caters to users downloading streams of their music.


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Victor L. Jones