Are Hundreds of Thousands of People Using Spotify Premium for Free?

'How to Get Spotify Premium for Free' image from YouTube 'how-to' video
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'How to Get Spotify Premium for Free' image from YouTube 'how-to' video
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Screengrab from one of several YouTube ‘how to’ videos.

Millions have watched tutorials on how to get Spotify Premium for free.  Google and YouTube are fueling the fire.  So how much money is being lost here?

Please note: the following is a developing story.  We’ll continue to update with information from Spotify and other sources.

Last week, we wrote about a potentially disturbing development.  After years of seemingly non-stop growth, Google search traffic showed a troubling trend.  According to search engine optimization (SEO) leader SEMrush, searches for ‘how to cancel Spotify premium’ had tripled since late last year.

+ February 23rd:  ‘How to Cancel Spotify Premium’ Is Now a Trending Search Term

Even more surprising, people were searching DMN (and undoubtedly other sources) for a how-to.  Maybe it was the bundling with the New York Times, or people tightening their belts after Christmas.  Maybe it’s competition from Apple Music, whose subscribers are well past 20 million, according to the company’s latest reports.

Or, maybe it’s a blip, with paying subscribers continuing to soar.

But while we’re finding that out, there’s another trend we spotted.  Searches for ‘how to get Spotify Premium for free’ are also going strong (though not increasing).   So we poked around, and found a stunningly high number of guides and YouTube videos dedicated to this exact topic.

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Even worse, we discovered a simple hack for accessing Spotify’s Premium service, using a simple back-dating technique.

In a sentence, the hack works by changing the clock on one’s phone to an earlier year, thereby increasingly the free access window by 365 days (or, 1,365 days, or more)., a site with over 200 million monthly views according to SimilarWeb, offers a detailed guide on how to get Spotify for free.  That guide includes the simple back-dating trick.  According to the site, the article has also been viewed 146,000 times.

Hop over to YouTube, and tutorials are teeming.  In fact, one video detailing this exact method has been viewed more than 772,000 times (and counting).  But that video, by user KidzHD, is one of a seemingly-endless list of similar videos, all touting tricks on how to get Spotify Premium for free.

None of them have been blocked, though collectively, the topic is garnering millions of aggregated views.  The KidzHD video claims that the simple hack still functions in 2017, though it now appears that Spotify has plugged the workaround (we’re waiting for a response).

Outside of YouTube, there are also dozens and dozens of similar guides.  Many aren’t complicated jailbreaks and coding workarounds, just simple tricks to avoid paying $9.99 after 30 days.

All counted, it’s quite possible that hundreds of thousands of users are ‘tricking’ their way to a free Spotify account.  And cheating both Spotify, rights owners, and artists in the process.

Overall, Spotify reports having more than 40 million paying subscribers.

As we mentioned, we’re awaiting comment back from Spotify on recent security patches.  If the latest update blocks the hack, does it still work on older versions?

Meanwhile, Google is doing almost nothing to prevent users from accessing this information.  After auto-completing the ‘free’ part on a search for ‘Spotify Premium,’ this is what the results set looks like.

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Any questions?


26 Responses

  1. Brew Swane

    Do this and render your phone useless.. nothing will work if you backdate the phone 5 years. For iOS need to jailbreak to get root access and then hack the date on a per app basis.

    • Anonymous

      Ha, if that’s true do you think this site’s next headline will be “Digital Music Blog helps render phones useless?”

    • resting bitch face

      ahhh you lil fucker. i wanted spotify for free dont come with that you ugly asshole

  2. Pissed off

    You are an a**hole. Why are you harming musicians by teaching people how to access our music for free? Do you not care about your readers at all??

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Ugh, I think this would be helping to close a widely-referenced hack.

      • rand

        You are doing the internet right. Talking about this stuff should put the burden on spotify to fix their systems. You should not limit your free speech to protect their incompetence.

    • Booohooo

      Spotify is the only one here harming musicians, they only care about corporate musicians and even those don’t get much money from Spotify. When I want to support an artist I go to their bandcamp or I go to their shows but in no way I’m going to support some big ass “artist” who’s making millions through advertisement and some other shit, fuck them, they can live without my money.

  3. Anonymous

    Honestly Paul, you should write the story of how Spotify (or someone working there) wronged you to the point of making digs at the company your life’s work. It could actually be an interesting read.

  4. music stowaway

    Damn it’s a tough racket.. if things don’t improve I’ll have to find some kind of day job to pay the rent..

  5. Anonymous

    I would think that any software that offers a free trial is hackable in this regard, if you’re using a device that’s jailbroken or rooted. That said, something that can be hacked by simply changing the date on your phone seems like an obvious issue that Spotify should’ve fixed by now.

    For what it’s worth, at least for a subscription streaming service, a pirate would have to do some work and potentially risk damaging their phone in order to steal music. CDs and permanent downloads are much easier to pirate.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      The new adage is, ‘everything can be hacked’. And if you need proof of that head over to Coachella.

      Perhaps in situations like this, the trick is to increase the difficulty. You don’t barricade your apartment with a bank safe door. But you do lock it. It creates a hurdle.

  6. Phillip McCrevis

    Shouldn’t this be an easy patch for Spotify?

  7. Jeff

    Hahaha. This does not work.

    Their payments and trials are run via a backend process. They just stop it server side after 7 days.

  8. Anonymous

    Debunked. Yay a few quick eyeballs for DMN. Tune in next week for an interview with Elvis from his secret location!

  9. Anonymous

    “Google and YouTube are fueling the fire.”

    That’s what they do.

  10. Anonymous

    For some people who want to enjoy Spotify premium free, there is a easy way: