Spotify’s family plan allows up to 6 users to share one Spotify subscription. This can be a great way to save money if you have multiple people in your household who want to use Spotify. But one question that often comes up is: does Spotify check your location for the family plan?
The short answer is yes, Spotify does monitor locations to prevent abuse of the family plan subscription. However, the location check is not overly strict. Read on for a detailed explanation of how Spotify’s family plan location check works.
How Does Spotify Family Plan Work?
With a Spotify family plan, one master account holder pays for the subscription and then can add up to 5 additional family members to share the account. The family plan gives each user their own separate Spotify login and account.
The family plan owner manages the account and can add or remove members at any time. Spotify offers family plans at a discounted price compared to individual Premium accounts.
Why Does Spotify Check Locations?
Spotify checks locations for family plan accounts to prevent abuse of the system. The family plan is intended for family members living at the same address, such as in one household.
Without any location check, it would be easy for a group of friends or random people online to share a cheap family subscription even if they don’t actually live together.
So Spotify does a general location check on family plan accounts. This is to ensure users are roughly in the same geographic area, making it likely they live together in one household.
How Strict is the Family Plan Location Check?
The good news is Spotify’s family plan location monitoring is not super strict.
You do not have to be in the exact same place as the other family plan users 100% of the time. Spotify allows for normal travel, movement, and slight location differences within reason.
For example, if one family member travels out of town for a week or is at work across town during the day, their account will not be immediately suspended. Or if two family members live in nearby towns or neighboring states close to each other, this can still work.
Spotify understands users will move around and not be in the exact same coordinates at all times. So there is reasonable flexibility with the family plan location policy.
However, Spotify will likely notice and investigate if family plan members seem to be in very different locations or even different countries consistently. So you couldn’t have one family member permanently located in the U.S. and another in Canada, for example.
When Does Spotify Check Location?
Spotify does not constantly monitor family plan account locations in real time. Instead, it runs periodic spot checks.
For example, Spotify may check the location of family plan accounts every few weeks or months. If during one of the checks your locations seem reasonable and close enough, you pass the check.
It is only if over time members seem to consistently be in very different places that Spotify will take action. If your whole family travels together on vacation, for instance, this would not normally trigger any issues.
Spotify also may run a location check if they notice suspicious family plan account activity. For example, if multiple users seem to be streaming from the same device, this behavior may trigger a location check.
How Does Spotify Check Location?
When Spotify runs one of its periodic family plan location checks, how does it work?
Spotify relies on the IP addresses associated with each family member’s streaming activity. When you listen to Spotify, your device’s IP address identifies your general location.
While IP addresses do not provide exact street addresses, they do give a good indication of the city and regional area the streaming activity is coming from.
Spotify checks that the IP locations of family plan members are within reasonable proximity to each other during its spot checks. If your whole family is streaming Spotify from home and work locations in the same metro area, this will normally pass the location criteria.
What Happens if You Fail the Location Check?
First, you will not immediately and without warning get booted off a family plan if your locations do not match up perfectly.
Spotify understands there will be normal movement and travel. But if over time Spotify detects your family accounts seem to regularly be in very different and distant locations, they may take action.
In most cases, Spotify will first send a warning message to the family plan owner. This message will outline that suspicious location activity has been noticed on the account.
The message will give you a chance to explain the situation or confirm the family member locations. For example, you could let them know one parent works in a nearby city or that a child is away at college.
If the location differences are not reasonably explained or resolved, Spotify can then suspend or cancel family members or the whole subscription. So you may lose premium account access if you fail the family plan location check.
Tips for Passing the Family Plan Location Check
Here are some useful tips to follow to avoid issues with Spotify’s family plan location monitoring:
- Make sure all members actually live in the same general metro area, within reasonable distance. Different neighboring towns or nearby cities are typically fine.
- If family members travel out of town, use Spotify normally. Short vacations or trips will not cause problems. But longer relocations may be an issue.
- If one member attends college far away, consider getting them an individual student subscription instead of keeping them on the family plan.
- Be prepared to explain location differences if Spotify inquires, such as due to a parent’s commute or move for a temporary work assignment.
- Using VPNs or proxies to mask your streaming locations can cause problems if overdone, so use them sparingly.
Following these tips should help avoid any frustration from failing Spotify’s family plan location checks. Just remember the rules are designed to prevent clear abuse cases.
Common Family Plan Location Check Questions
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Spotify’s family plan location monitoring:
Does everyone need to be at the same address?
No, Spotify does not require all family plan members to be at one exact address all the time. Reasonable location differences like going to work or school in nearby areas are fine.
What if I travel out of state on vacation?
Occasional vacations and trips out of state will not cause your family plan to be suspended. Spotify allows for normal travel movements.
Can college students be on a parent’s family plan?
Possibly, if the student attends college within the same greater metro region as the parents’ home location. But students at distant colleges may need their own plan.
Does using a VPN cause problems?
Heavy VPN use may trigger issues, but occasional VPN use is unlikely to cause problems in itself. Avoid masking locations consistently over long periods.
What if Spotify thinks my locations don’t match?
First you’ll get a warning message from Spotify to explain your family members’ locations. Provide any context needed to clarify why locations differ. Frequent large mismatches may still result in account suspension.
How close do locations need to be?
There’s no exact mileage cutoff, but a good rule of thumb is family members should be within 50 miles or so, within the same metro area. Neighboring cities, towns or states are often fine.
Is a Spotify Family Plan Worth it?
Sharing a Spotify family plan subscription can be a nice way to save money compared to individual accounts. You get access to all the same Premium features like ad-free listening, downloads, and unlimited skips.
As long as your family members meet the location eligibility requirements, taking advantage of the discounted family plan pricing is a smart move.
The location check gives Spotify a way to stop clear abuse of family plan sharing rules. But it is not extremely strict for normal location differences and travel as part of everyday life.
Just be prepared to provide context if Spotify inquires about varied family member activity locations. As long as your usage aligns with the intended family sharing purposes, you should have no issues enjoying your family plan.
Spotify Family Plan Sign-Up Steps
If the family plan sounds like a good fit, signing up is easy:
- Have the family plan master account holder log into their existing Spotify account online.
- Click “Account” then “Change plan”.
- Select the family plan option and follow the prompts to add family members.
- Or start a completely new family plan subscription at spotify.com/family.
- Family members without Spotify can either create new accounts or use existing Facebook logins.
- Once set up, all users download the Spotify app and log in normally to start streaming.
Take advantage of group discounts while following the location rules and enjoy access to Spotify Premium!
Frequently Asked Questions About Spotify’s Family Plan Location Policy
Does everyone in a Spotify family plan need to live at the same address?
No, family plan members do not have to be at the exact same address. Reasonable location proximity like being in nearby towns or cities in the same metro area is fine.
Can I use a family plan if family members live in different states?
Possibly, if the states border each other and locations are within the same geographic region. But family members who live very far apart in distant states may need separate accounts.
What if one person frequently travels for work?
Occasional business trips will not cause issues. But if a family member is essentially living in a different city or state most of the time, removing them from the plan could be safer.
How does Spotify know my location?
Spotify relies on IP addresses associated with your streaming activity to determine your general location region. This isn’t exact like a street address but gives a good proximity.
If I use a VPN will my family plan be cancelled?
Heavy ongoing VPN use may raise flags, but occasional VPN use likely won’t cause direct issues. Avoid constantly masking your location with VPNs.
Can college students in other cities stay on a family plan?
If the student attends school within reasonable driving distance from their parents’ home city, then possibly yes. But distant colleges may require students to get their own subscription.
What should I do if Spotify suspends my family plan?
First try to politely explain reasons for location differences, like due to commuting or temporary assignments. If locations still don’t match up, you’ll have to remove non-qualifying members.
Can I appeal if my family plan is cancelled unfairly?
You can contact Spotify support and calmly provide any evidence that your family members do in fact reside in permitted locations. But there is no guarantee of reinstatement if the differences are too great.
I hope this article thoroughly explains how Spotify’s family plan location monitoring works and what to keep in mind. Let me know if you have any other family plan questions!