Premium, user since North American closed beta
HP laptop 9th gen Intel CPU
Client: both Spotify Desktop and Win 10 app behave the same way
Windows 10 Pro
My Question or Issue
Spotify has over the past few years been trying to deal with how to authenticate locations for users who are on family plans, to enforce the rule of them having to live at the same physical address. Around the time that they abandoned the use of GPS for this, we started to see problems with Spotify functioning on VPNs, before which using it on VPNs worked flawlessly regardless of whether or not the VPN was in a connected state. It was even able to navigate the multiple VPNs that I had on my Windows installations. This is not surprising since autonomous connections of applications with multiple VPNs has been a solved problem for many years.
If you look on the Spotify Community forums, you can see that there have been issues for VPN usage for around 3 years now. While I have witness changes in Spotify's handling of VPN connections over these 3 years, the issue of false offline statuses related to VPN on/off connectivity persists. There seems to be a strong possibility that this is because Spotify is trying to use IP address-based location tracking. This is apparent given the timing of when we started to see these issues as mentioned above, and also that if you are going to use IP address-based location tracking as data for autonomous enforcement of family plan co-location rules, then you are going to need to make sure that the IP address is consistent to reduce the likelihood that co-location enforcement penalties will be triggered when they shouldn't be. Or perhaps this is a licensing issue, and Spotify is trying to ensure that regions with a particular license are not able to mask their location to listen to music with different licensing. In any case, the problem and suggested solution below stands.
In these modern times, we see VPNs everywhere. With many people working from home and using Spotify in their day-to-day work routine, pretty much all work laptops will have at least one VPNs installed on them. Personal PCs will also have VPNs, as privacy concerns over surveillance capitalism have increased dramatically over the past several years, and anyone who travels regularly will also use a VPN. It seems reasonable to predict that many people who use VPNs and Spotify have problems. Many of us who use Spotify on our work machines are no longer able to as Spotify stupidly chooses the work VPN as the connected state, while our work VPNs block Spotify traffic (as a reasonable measure to save VPN bandwidth). All we need to be able to do is choose to swap the rule for connectivity so that we can download our playlists and albums and play them from the local cache while working on the work VPN all day.
Spotify technical support: please provide us with information regarding the rules for Spotify's selection of a network adapter for its connection (and also its offline/online status decision). We would also like to request a feature in the advanced settings that allows tech savvy users to choose which network adapter to use, so we can choose for ourselves whether Spotify should consider VPN connected state or disconnected state to be Spotify's offline state. If you have concerns about users changing the network connection and causing problems, then you can just let us choose the network adapter during installation and not allow us to do it afterwards (unless we reinstall Spotify). Or you can fix autonomous connection detection code so that it works no matter the connection state of the VPN as long as Spotify can connect to the internet. I have done various levels of software development over the past 20 years and am willing to support this effort in any way, including running beta code, submitting bug reports, and providing logs.
Spotify Community members, vote for this solution by clicking on Me Too and/or Like. Let's see if we can drive this issue to a solution once and for all.