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Multiple Users, One Spotify Account

I recently found that my Spotify account wasn’t uploading my plays to last.fm and for a while I thought this was an issue with the last.fm API and wasn’t getting anywhere on either the last.fm subreddit or the last.fm community. I don’t know what caused me to do this, but I decided to have a play around with the Spotify Currently Playing API and ended up going down a rabbit hole of information.

It’s worth mentioning that I have already reported this on the Spotify Community so I’m unsure how much longer this will work. I’m also unsure of any other network providers in the UK that are affected by this, I have only tested it with Three UK.

As a summary of the issue, I’ve created the below image which should explain it in a shorter way than I’m going to.

Spotify Currently Playing Diagram

Now that the TLDR is out of the way, here’s the issue.

When listening to music on a mobile device that is connected to the Three UK network on 4G, there appears to be an issue with the data being sent to the Currently Playing API. I am making an assumption here that the API is what Spotify itself uses to determine if the account is being used on one device and alerting you on another, but I could be wrong and this could be a deeper issue than what I’ve found so far - so please take that into account.

What does this actually mean though? Well, if you’re using Spotify on your iPhone on 4G, the music information isn’t being posted up which means that you can use your Spotify account on multiple devices at once, as being on 4G seems to completely block the Spotify API from being accessible in either direction, write or reading information just doesn’t work. This is what I’ve tested:

  • iPhone 11 Pro (Three UK, 4G)
  • iPhone X (Three UK, 4G)
  • MacBook Air 2018 (Virgin Media WiFi)

During this test I managed to have different songs playing on all three devices at the same time, under the same account using the same premium subscription, but the only one that was actually posting data to the currently playing server was my Macbook.

So there’s that, if you want to share a Spotify account just make sure you’re on 4G, on Three UK and anyone can use your account at the same time as you. There doesn’t seem to be a limit here, so if 6 people are with Three UK on 4G you can all share the same account. Once someone starts using Spotify on a device that does report to the API though you can only have one of those devices, so this would work:

  • iPhone (Three UK, 4G)
  • Samsung Galaxy (Three UK, 4G)
  • iPad (Three UK, 4G)
  • iPod (Virgin Media WiFi)

But this wouldn’t work:

  • iPhone (Three UK, 4G)
  • Samsung Galaxy (Three UK, 4G)
  • iPad (Virgin Media WiFi)
  • iPod (Virgin Media WiFi)

You would have to choose between the iPad or iPod, but both the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy would work.

Hopefully someone gets some use out of this, and hopefully Spotify (or Three UK) will fix this soon, because I’m fed up of changing to 3G to scrobble my music to last.fm.