- By Service
- By Location
- By Device
Spotify Premium, a streaming service that offers subscribers unlimited ad-free music of any genre in exchange for a monthly fee, has become wildly popular in recent years, especially among the young and tech-savvy.
What is less well known, however, is that this monthly fee can be significantly reduced through the use of a virtual private network (VPN), thanks to Spotify’s unique global pricing strategy.
Headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, Spotify has taken the online music world by storm, offering subscribers a virtually unlimited selection of copyrighted music of all genres and styles.
Whether you’re looking for the latest techno track by your favorite DJ or songs by an obscure depression-era folk singer, chances are you can find it and much more on Spotify.
Users can access the service through their computers, laptops or via a downloadable smartphone app. It can also be accessed through most smart TVs.
According to the company’s entertaining website, Spotify’s catalog currently includes more than 50 million music tracks that users can choose from.
And it does not only offer music. Spotify also gives users access to more than 500,000 podcasts on a range of interesting topics, such as politics, technology, sports, and true crime, to name only a few.
Since it first went online in 2008, Spotify has gone from strength to strength, attracting users from all over the world and seeing its subscriber base grow exponentially.
By the end of 2019, it reportedly had almost 250 million active users across the globe, 113 million of whom were subscribers to its Premium service, for which users must shell out a relatively small monthly fee.
Spotify now reportedly has some 28 million subscribers in the US alone, where the company has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
According to Forbes, as of mid-2018, Spotify had almost two times as many paid subscribers as Apple Music, the world’s second-largest music provider.
Spotify has become so popular, in fact, that several well-known performers and artists have even begun using the service as a favored platform for promoting their latest releases.
Intending to attract new subscribers, Spotify offers its streaming service at no charge. Users can download a free version of the app, which provides unlimited access to all of Spotify’s content.
This free version, however, comes with some significant drawbacks.
For one, users can only listen to their own playlists on ‘shuffle’ mode and not in the particular order they want.
What’s more, playlists are riddled with frequent advertisements (which users can’t skip), making for a considerably less enjoyable music experience.
These drawbacks, however, can be eliminated entirely by subscribing to the Spotify Premium service.
By paying a reasonable monthly fee, subscribers can enjoy unlimited access to all of Spotify’s content, anytime, anywhere, and completely ad-free.
Notably, Spotify does not allow users to download its content directly to their computers or phones, to avoid any intellectual property rights violations; they can only listen to it.
This means that anyone using Spotify’s free version must be connected to the internet to tune in.
Subscribers to the Premium service, by contrast, have the luxury of listening to their selections offline after first transferring them to the app on their phone or computer.
Spotify offers a three-month (or, in some cases, six-month) free trial of its Premium service, for which you must provide a credit card number.
Upon expiry of the trial period, users can either continue with the service, for which they must pay a monthly fee (which differs from country to country, see below), or opt-out.
Spotify also occasionally announces promotions offering discounts on its Premium service. Still, these are generally limited in scope and come with certain conditions.
For example, students (i.e., those with a ‘.edu’ email account) are entitled to a discounted rate, but this will expire after 12 months.
Spotify also occasionally offers promotions in partnership with other companies.
For example, it recently announced a promotion with Samsung that gave six months of free access to Spotify Premium to anyone who bought a new Samsung Galaxy S10, S10+ or S10e.
Spotify also has a partnership with Starbucks, whose employees are entitled to free Premium accounts (a deal which 200,000 lucky baristas have reportedly taken advantage of).
The popular streaming service also offers a ‘family plan’ that allows subscribers to share a single account with as many as five other people. While this plan can save you a tidy sum, it too comes with terms and conditions.
Namely, all subscribers to the family plan must share the same address to be eligible. And if the primary account holder abruptly cancels the plan, all the joint subscribers will automatically revert to the free service.
Some people claim to have found illegal means (which we definitely do not recommend) of accessing Spotify’s Premium service for free.
In 2018, the streaming service announced that some two million users of its free application had found a way to block advertisements without having to pay.
Rumors have also circulated online that users could extend the duration of the free 30-day Premium trial by setting the date on their smartphones back.
Such rumors, however, have since been debunked. In fact, doing this could actually damage your smartphone, since many apps depend on your phone’s internal clock.
Setting back the date on your phone can also lead to it being inundated with error messages, which can end up severely slowing it down and even cause data corruption.
Some dubious websites also offer an app that they claim will give you free access to Spotify Premium. Such apps, however, are typically loaded with malware, which can spread from your phone to your other devices.
This malware can end up stealing your personal data, including sensitive passwords. It can even access your bank account if you do your banking online.
Another technique used by scammers is to offer ‘codes’ that give access to free Spotify Premium. To get these ‘codes,’ they will ask you to download an app that will purportedly install the code onto your computer.
Not only are these ‘codes’ fake (they will not give you access to Spotify Premium), they are also likely to infect your computer with viruses designed to steal your personal data, which can end up in the hands of an unscrupulous third party.
Ultimately, all these (alleged) techniques for obtaining a free Spotify Premium account are likely to end up costing you more than if you had legitimately paid for the service.
Those looking for legal means of accessing Spotify Premium at reduced prices need not look any further than Spotify’s unique global pricing strategy.
Intending to expand its international subscriber base, Spotify offers its Premium service at different rates in different countries, depending on local purchasing power.
This means that people in countries with higher GDPs tend to pay considerably more for the Premium service than those in developing countries.
For example, the monthly fee for Spotify Premium in the US currently stands at $9.99. In contrast, the price in the UK stands at £9.99 (which is roughly equivalent to $13.20).
In the Philippines, however, the price for the same service is considerably lower, roughly equivalent to $2.50 per month.
Other examples of countries in which monthly fees are much cheaper include Malaysia (roughly $3.70 per month), Brazil (approximately $4.50 per month); Thailand (around $4 per month); and Indonesia (roughly $3.50 per month).
In Mexico, you can reportedly purchase pre-paid Spotify cards for 100 pesos each (about $5.30), which gives the user access to Spotify Premium for one month.
These price disparities from country to country provide the resourceful music-lover with a legal means of obtaining Spotify Premium at a significant discount.
This is where VPNs come in.
VPNs allow users to send and receive encrypted data through shared or public networks, thus ensuring both security and anonymity.
With the use of a secure VPN server, your computer’s unique IP address is concealed from outside parties. What’s more, VPNs allow your computer to assume the IP address of whatever VPN server you are connected to.
Most importantly, VPNs let you link up with servers in other countries, which has the effect of ‘spoofing’ your location.
If you are in Turkey, for example, you can connect to a VPN server located in America, thereby giving you access to content as if you were based inside the US.
In this way, VPNs provide access to online content that is blocked (for whatever reason) by the government of the country you happen to be in.
VPNs also protect the user’s identity by encrypting all data they send and receive. For this reason, certain countries (such as China and Russia) have taken steps to ban the use of VPNs.
VPNs have been around for a long time, although they were initially employed almost exclusively by companies rather than individuals.
In the early 2000s, however, several high-profile online security breaches served to raise awareness among everyday internet users regarding the potential risks associated with online activity.
Since then, there has been a proliferation of new VPN providers, all of whom promise clients enhanced digital privacy and protection against hacking and malware.
Today, there is a myriad of VPN providers in the market who can provide clients with access to vast networks of servers located in different countries around the world.
By disguising your computer with an IP address from another country, the Spotify server will be unable to recognize your particular connection as one emanating from, say, the US or the UK.
Instead, it will assume you are based in the country whose IP address you are ‘borrowing’ at the time, thereby giving you access to that country’s particular Spotify Premium subscriber rate.
The following are a few simple steps on how to obtain another country’s (less expensive) Premium rate through the clever use of a VPN.
First off, you should sign up with your preferred VPN provider and download its software to your computer (see below for a brief list of popular providers).
Once you have done this, activate your new VPN account and connect to a server based in a country where Spotify Premium subscriptions are particularly cheap (the Philippines, Malaysia, Brazil, etc.).
Next, open your browser and find Spotify. If you’re connected to a server in, say, Malaysia, you can narrow your search to ‘Spotify Malaysia.’
Once you find Spotify’s local website, click on ‘Premium’ to see their plan options, pricing for which will be denominated in the local currency of whatever country you choose.
Given the recent appearance of so many new VPN providers, competition for business is fierce.
Whatever you do, be sure to choose a provider that offers fast connection speeds, along with high-quality encryption, to ensure optimal privacy.
Most importantly, you will want a provider that can give you access to a wide range of servers, especially those based in countries where Premium subscription rates are the least expensive.
The following VPN providers are currently among the most popular.