Spotify recently revealed that 2 million users had accessed illegal apps to avoid listening to ads on its free tier since the first of the year. While the music streamer is busy kicking them off the platform, the path these users took to access Spotify illegally runs straight through Google and YouTube.
Spotify says that 2 million users of its free ad-supported music service have used hacked apps to block ads in the last few months.
“On March 21, 2018, we detected instances of approximately two million users as of December 31, 2017, who have been suppressing advertisements without payment,” the streamer said in the amended F-1 filing. The hacked accounts led Spotify to downgrade total users from 159 million to 157 million and total hours streamed lfom 40.3 billion to 39.8 billion last year.
How did so many users access hacked Spotify apps?
It all starts with Google Search, which has done nothing that we could find to stop or slow the spread of information about how to hack Spotify. A data dive by Torrentfreak right after Spotify started cracking down confirms this.
"By March 3, search volumes had doubled on the index and on March 7, Google searches for ‘Spotify APK’ reached a dramatic peak never before witnessed in the history of the search term," according to Torrentfreak. "That’s quite an achievement given how many people use these pieces of software."
Videos with instructions on how to hack Spotify have been popular on YouTube for months, accumulating collective views of more than 500,000. Even now, nothing has been done to delete them.
Here's one example that currently has more than 250,000 views since being posted in September of last year.