The Spotify Data Trap

Today’s event did not come from me, or from any papers. This is a little issue my friend had and it is costing her dearly! As many others, she is embracing the social mobile environment. Tweeting like a budgie, Facebooking all over the place and of course, the music. Yes, as per recently, the people on route can listen to the sweet sweet music that is brought to them by Spotify.

To phrase the words from Spotify quite literally “Spotify is now free on mobile and tablet. Listen to the right music, wherever you are.
With Spotify, you have access to a world of music. You can listen to artists and albums, or create your own playlist of your favourite songs. Want to discover new music? Choose a ready-made playlist that suits your mood or get personalized recommendations
” (source: Google Play). Yes, it sounds so sweet, and perhaps it is, you know the sound many will dread as 83.5446% of a train carriage all start listening to Bieber sounds at the same time.

Yes! Lord Lucifer could not have created a hell any better, even if he had intensely tried!

But you know the terms ‘is now free‘, which often sounds like ‘road to hell‘ and in this case, it is a little more direct than my friend destined it to be. In just one week she blew 7.7 GB out of her 10 GB data allowance. Now, me being the sceptical type, had a quick look at perhaps a setting or something else, yet, Google Play,, none made mention of the mobile data usage of the app. Which is weird because an app switching from 3G/4G to Wireless is not that big a leap, some of the cheapest games offer this with online play, so why not offer the wireless option, even if that is just for the premium users, is that such a big leap? I am even more miffed on how there is no mention in Google play or on Spotify dot com that the mobile app uses mobile data. It seems that this oversight is an unacceptable act.

So, I searched for a second and yes, the forums are all over it. Most information is incomplete, so the impact is not a given. Yet, others are willing to go overboard on information. The best information comes from the famous yellow dummies books, in this case at

Here we see in the first two paragraphs: “Going into Offline mode with your mobile device is particularly handy if you’re on the go and won’t be around a Wi-Fi connection. Whenever you’re using a 3G mobile connection, you usually need to keep an eye on your data usage because costs can mount“, which we know and my friend is finding that out the hard way.

The second part is the kicker “Being offline means that no data is being consumed, but you can still listen to the songs you synced previously“, so basically whatever you sync can be listened to, the rest costs bandwidth. So in my view, for mobiles, Spotify should be regarded as the joke of the year.

That view is reinforced through: “I have only listened to music in playlists already downloaded for offline use, but Spotify itself has been online. In Settings ‘Download over 2G/3G’ is set to OFF – although as stated I have not been listening to anything requiring a download and have also not sync’d any new playlists, except while on Wi-Fi last night when I sync’d one new album.

In the two days, 19th and 20th, Android shows Spotify as having used nearly 100MB of network traffic.

The source is

The last part is from a topic typed in 2012, so it seems to me that this issue has been around for some time, making the fact of Spotify not adding the text “This app uses mobile bandwidth when listening/downloading music” on the Google Play page, should be seen as a little more worrying. In addition, I remember mobile data costs in 2012 to be a lot more expensive than it is now.

The Spotify website does mention one thing for android “Free users can skip 6 tracks every hour. Upgrade for unlimited skipsARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?

So skipping is mentionable, the fact that Mobile Data is used does not get any mention is a big negative.

I myself would have caught the issue on that same day as I check my usage daily, yet not everyone does this and as such many people will learn, (likely they have already learned) that nothing is for free, in some cases it will be an expensive lesson as some providers make you pay through the nose for extra bandwidth. I myself am happy that I still rely on my iPod and after 10 years it still does what it did since day one, play music and let me enjoy the moment whilst the battery will not hinder the drained option to tweet all over the place, what a luxury!



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