Spotify relies on advertising to pay those pennies in royalties to the artists whose music it streams, so if you’re running an ad blocker, Spotify will block you.
In the new terms of service that were emailed to all Spotify subscribers this morning, the streaming giant (and newly minted podcast behemoth) revealed it is taking a new hard stance on the use of ad blockers. In its new user guidelines, which go into effect on March 1, “making it clear that all types of ad blockers, bots and fraudulent streaming activities are not permitted.” To enforce that new policy, Spotify announced that accounts that use ad blockers will face immediate suspension or termination.
The use of ad blockers by music fans has annoyed Spotify for a long time. Back in March 2018 as it prepared for its IPO, the company disclosed that some 2 million of the people who signed up for the company’s free, ad-laden version were using ad blockers. At the time, that amounted to about 1.3% of its total user base, forcing Spotify to revise down its figures for its monthly active user count from 159 million to 157 million. As TechCrunch points out, it was around the time that Spotify started cracking down on Android apps that had figured out a way to let people stream all those sweet Spotify playlists without constantly being interrupted by mood-killing ads.
It’s unclear how many users are still using ad blockers to avoid paying the $9.99 a month for Spotify’s ad-free service, but the threat of getting their account terminated could have them ponying up—or turning to Pandora.