Spotify user calls out the company for being deceptive about free audiobooks

Diego Thomazini/ShutterStock @alliecgo/TikTok (Licensed)

‘It didn’t tell me that before starting the book’: Spotify user calls out the company for being deceptive about free audiobooks

'Paying for Spotify but getting limited on audiobook time is wild.'


Braden Bjella


Posted on Jan 26, 2024   Updated on Jan 27, 2024, 1:30 pm CST

A user on TikTok has sparked discussion after sharing several complaints about the popular streaming service Spotify.

In a video with over 2 million views as of Friday, TikTok user Allie (@alliecgo) lays out her various issues with the service. To start, she says that her family was kicked off of her family plan after they did not follow directions emailed to them by Spotify.

According to Allie, Spotify emailed her family members asking them to confirm their addresses, as “Family plan members must live at the same address to join Premium Family,” per Spotify. When her family did not do this, they were all kicked off of her family plan—and were, according to Allie, barred from rejoining her family plan for a full year.

“I personally think there should have been a lot more email attempts sent. That’s just me,” she explains. “However, the part that really irritates me is that it does not explain what will actually happen. So now, none of my family can rejoin my family plan.”

Allie says that owing to this, she will likely move to a lower-tiered plan.

Continuing, she says that Spotify’s marketing around its new audiobook program was deceptive. According to Allie, she received an advertisement from Spotify asking if she wanted to listen to an audiobook. She chose one and began listening. However, near the end of the book, she says she received an email informing her that she had run out of available audiobook time.

“Why didn’t they tell me that I was on the basic audiobook plan?” she asks. “I don’t like the fact that they’re being unclear about things. And now they’re trying to get me to add to my premium plan, which I didn’t know there was anything higher than premium. Like, what are we paying for?”

In the end, Allie says she simply “ended up downloading the book on my Kindle and just read the end of it because I couldn’t figure out how the hell I was going to listen to it.”

To conclude, Allie says she is “annoyed” with Spotify and is considering switching to Apple Music.

Allie’s complaint about Spotify’s audiobook service is not uncommon. Another user virally shared a similar sentiment, and a further TikToker described herself as “tricked” by Spotify’s audiobook system.

At the time, a Spotify spokesperson spoke on the phone with Daily Dot and said that users have the option to add more audiobook hours directly within the app. Furthermore, there are ways to monitor these hours, as detailed on Spotify’s website. The spokesperson added that, generally, the 15 hours given to subscribers equates to approximately two audiobooks.

@alliecgo Who has apple music? #greenscreen #spotifysucks ♬ original sound – AllieG

In the comments section of Allie’s video, users shared their thoughts on her complaints.

“Like what if my step kids live in another state most of the time? Are we not still a family and responsible for their bills? Like d*mn,” said a user.

“Paying for Spotify but getting limited on audiobook time is wild. it didn’t tell me that before starting the book,” claimed a second. “I usually use libby but found a book on Spotify that I couldn’t get on libby.”

“This happened to me. I emailed spotify, let them know my person didn’t see their email, that we all live at the same address,” recalled a third. “They let them rejoin! hope this helps.”

The Daily Dot reached out to Spotify via email and Allie via TikTok direct message.

Update 1:29pm CT, Jan. 27, 2023:

In a TikTok direct message exchange with the Daily Dot, Allie said that she was not informed about a time limit for audiobooks.

“My ad specifically only said ‘audiobooks are included in your membership, click here to view them,’ because I remember being absolutely shocked about the time limit,” she claims. “They never advertised a lack of limit in my ad. In fact, if you search audiobooks with premium, it just states ‘included in premium’ and will show me books that are longer than 15 hours knowing I won’t be able to finish it.”

In response to this experience, she says she is switching to Apple Music.

“I tried to get my family back added but since they had to go get their own premium plan, Spotify said they cannot add them back in,” Allie explained.

As for how Spotify could improve its service, Allie has some ideas.

“More transparency about the product!” she said. “Apparently, there are different shuffle settings you can have, but it’s not clearly outlined or defined. The whole product feels deceptive because of how little they share with their customers.”

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*First Published: Jan 26, 2024, 8:00 am CST