Forcing Spotify to take my money
As I mentioned before I have a Spotify premium account that I regularly pay for with gift cards. Spotify does not like that: if they could get ahold of my credit card number they could not only stop worrying that I won't pay them anymore but also they could track me better across the web - people change their e-mail all the time, but their credit card and cell phone numbers tend to last much longer. Or even better, maybe I'll stop using the service altogether but forget to cancel, which is as close as free money as one can get.
Given that Spotify does not like people using gift cards, they don't offer a way for you to redeem your gift cards directly via the app. This is annoying: I do not know my Spotify password (that's what my password manager is for) and therefore renewing my account requires me to go home and sit in front of my PC. If only there were a way for me to redeem gift cards directly from the app...
But guess what? There is. After some probing I have found the following steps that seem to work reliably in Germany:
- Open the Spotify app, click on the "Settings" wheel and go to "Premium plan".
- Choose any of the available premium plans, as if you were about to subscribe to one of them.
- Choose "Credit Card" as payment.
- Without entering any information scroll down and click on the "Terms and Conditions" link.
- This will take you to a new window. On the top right you'll see your profile picture. Click on it and choose "Support".
- This takes you to Spotify's Support page. Type "gift card" (or, in Germany, "Geschenkkarten") and click the first link that comes up.
- The link will take you to an article explaining how to redeem gift cards, including a link to
https://spotify.com/de/redeem. Click on it.
- This will take you to the Gift Card redemption website, with the nice extra that you'll be already logged in. So enter the gift card code and you're done.
This stupidly long series of steps works because Spotify's internal browser already has your credentials (otherwise you'd need a password every time you open the app) and because the T&C page gets you out of the expected workflow that restricts what you can do. And given that we know the app has your account info, all Spotify would have to do to support gift cards is to add an extra button under their Premium plans saying "Redeem Gift Card" taking you there.
It is amazing the kind of thing your apps can do for you once you force them into compliance.
Why the music industry still won't take my money?
Remember this post where I complained that the music industry won't take my money? Well, it's that time of year again.
As you may remember from following me on Mastodon, I bought an Alexa, set it up in Spanish, and almost went insane due to how bad it was. So I did what every normal person would do in this case and I gifted to my mom. This Alexa slept in an Argentinean drawer for a long time, until one day I finally convinced my family to stop worrying about breaking it. Today it works mostly as a voice-activated music player for my nieces.
We have established before that I am an idiot, and because I'm an idiot I decided to set up Spotify (with a family plan) instead of Apple Music. I already have a rocky situation with Spotify, which is why I am not shocked at all to learn that, just like Amazon and Warner before them, Spotify will not take my money:
- I cannot pay for my mom's plan because my card is German and the account is not. And the device's IP is obviously in Argentina.
- I cannot use an Argentinean credit card, because I don't have one.
- I cannot use the other available methods because they require me to physically go to a store in another continent.
- I cannot pay with a gift card - even suggesting this as a possible feature will get your request closed without review.
- I can try to set the account to a German one, but as the tech support representative would put it, "you can give it a try, however that is something we are unable to guarantee that will work". Also, I fear this may cause Alexa to start speaking in German, and my mom won't be amused by that.
So once again I am trying to give a company money -- no, scratch that: I am trying to give a company money THAT'S WORTH MORE THAN THE MONEY THEY WANT (Argentinean pesos are not super hot right now), and yet they won't listen to reason. The Spotify forums are full of threads where the best answer you'll get is a "Community Legend" saying that it sucks to be you.
The most likely end of this story is that I'll wire some money over Western Union and one of my relatives will go to a store to pay the bill. My time will be wasted, I'll lose some money in the exchange, my relative's time will be also wasted, and Spotify will receive money in a currency that's devaluating at a 10% monthly rate.
Great job, Spotify.