Spotify has identified that approximately two millions of its users are using hacked versions of the Android app to suppress ads that come with the music streaming service's free accounts.
The hacked Android app allows users to use the free ad-supported accounts, but removed the limitations associated with the account type, including
Spotify made the acknowledgement that, as part of its reporting, these unauthorised users had been included in their key performance indicators. Spotify has had to become more transparent due to its imminent listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
To address the issue, Spotify has started sending emails to user accounts suspected of using the hacked apps, asking them to switch to an unmodified version of the app. The identified hacked apps have also been barred from using Spotify's platform remotely.
But it seems many of these "pirate" Spotify users have not decided to go straight, and continues to look for ways to get their music without paying.
Copyright news website TorrentFreak analysed Google search trends and found that there was a search spike for alternative hacked Spotify apps around the time emails were sent out by Spotify. There are also reports that users are migrating to other ways to get free music, with some even migrating YouTube via Playlist Buddy, a web tool that converts Spotify playlists to YouTube playlists.