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Spotify is cracking down on third-party downloads by banning people

Several accounts have been banned for using a third-party music downloader.

Spotify logo blurred background
Image: KnowTechie

As Spotify has become a revolutionary source of music with its massive library of streamable content, there have been many third-party apps and programs that have tried to take advantage of that library. Now the company is beginning to take action against people who use those types of applications.

Spotify is a platform that has become home to millions of songs from more than 8 million artists. Users can listen for free in a shuffle mode that somewhat mimics old-school radio with advertisements. Spotify Premium subscribers can listen to music ad-free. They’re also able to pick individual songs or albums to listen to at will.

Premium subscribers also get the ability to download music from Spotify for offline play. However, this music is still limited to the Spotify platform and can’t be played anywhere else. This inevitably led to third-party apps taking advantage of the platform’s massive library of music. Many apps have been developed to download music from the platform to any device as an MP3.

While there is still some gray area when it comes to the legality of this situation, it is expressly against Spotify’s rules to download its music via some third-party program. Now Spotify has begun to fight back. Some users have reported that they were banned from the platform for using a particular app to download music.

Spotify says no to music downloading apps

According to a new blog post on Torrent Freak, Spotify has figured out a way to identify users who have been using a specific tool to download music inside of one of these applications. An app, called Audials Music, sells itself as a Premium Music Downloader. The app lets users download music or audio from all kinds of popular platforms, including Spotify.

Users recently began reporting on the app’s official forums that they had been banned from Spotify for using the app. These users received an email from Spotify notifying them that they were being banned for breaking the company’s terms of use:

“Spotify has determined that your account was involved in an improper use of the Spotify service that violates the terms of use, including potentially improper downloads.”

Most of the time, it is nearly impossible to detect when an app is breaking Spotify’s rules like this. However, this particular app is unique. According to the blog post mentioned above, this particular app allowed for a high-speed download function that sped up Spotify’s streaming speed for faster downloads.

While this allowed users to download music much faster, it also showed that they were listening to an hour’s worth of music in around five minutes. Apparently, Spotify keeps records of data pertaining to when users experience music, and the company was able to pinpoint those instances where the app’s high-speed function was being used.

Using that data, the company pinpointed users who fell under those criteria and issued bans across the board. While it is still somewhat unclear whether or not something like this is illegal, it is expressly against Spotify’s terms of use.

This is certainly a win for the company. However, it doesn’t look like there’s any way to detect an app that downloads streamed music at normal speed, so this is likely going to be an ongoing issue.

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Staff writer at KnowTechie. Alex has two years of experience covering all things technology, from video games to electric cars. He's a gamer at heart, with a passion for first-person shooters and expansive RPGs. Shoot him an email at

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