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How To Block Ads on Spotify in 2023

I‘m guessing you landed on this article because you‘re a Spotify user who is fed up with the constant audio and display advertising when listening for free. You want to know how to remove those pesky Spotify ads in 2023 without having to pay for a Premium subscription.

Well, you‘ve come to the right place! I‘ve explored and tested all of the leading methods that currently work or show promise for blocking ads on Spotify across desktop, mobile and web.

As an avid Spotify listener myself, I‘ll share everything I‘ve learned about the legality, risks, and effectiveness of VPNs, ad blockers, and other ad removal techniques. My goal is to arm you with the unbiased information you need to decide the best approach for an ad-free Spotify experience.

First up, let‘s quickly cover the options:

  • VPN – Masks your location to reduce geo-targeted ads
  • Ad blockers – Browser extensions that may remove some display ads
  • Ad muting apps – Silence audio ads by muting Spotify
  • Tweaking settings – Advanced methods like editing Hosts file
  • Premium – Paying for an ad-free subscription

Over 15 million Spotify users currently take advantage of the free, ad-supported version. But the service‘s terms prohibit most forms of ad blocking. Will the risks outweigh potential benefits? Let‘s dig in and find out!

Can You Use a VPN to Block Spotify Ads?

A virtual private network (VPN) encrypts your internet traffic and routes it through a remote server, hiding your real location. Many VPNs also include ad blocking features.

The logic is that by appearing to connect from another country, Spotify‘s geo-targeted audio and display ads will be different compared to your actual location. For instance, choosing a Hong Kong VPN server to simulate connecting from there.

But does using a VPN to change your location actually reduce ads on Spotify? Here are the key factors:

  • Ad frequency – Some countries may hear fewer audio ads based on Spotify‘s localized ad targeting. Countries where Spotify has fewer free users could see less advertising.

  • Visual ads – Billboard and banner ads also vary, so changing your virtual location may remove certain visual ads.

  • Bandwidth costs – Countries with cheaper bandwidth like India could receive more audio ads as costs are lower for Spotify.

  • Premium penetration – In countries with higher subscription rates, Spotify relies less on ad revenue so may have decreased ads for free users.

  • Other restrictions – Factors like restricted libraries, censorship, exclusive rights, etc affect what ads users receive in certain countries.

So in summary, using a VPN to modify your location can indirectly impact the ads presented by Spotify when listening for free. But every country is different, and results will vary wildly based on the specific server location chosen.

Here are some top VPNs to potentially reduce Spotify ads:

VPN Servers Pricing Pros Cons
NordVPN 5400+ $3.29/month Very fast speeds, dedicated IP option available On the expensive side, convoluted interface
Surfshark 3200+ $2.21/month Unlimited devices, includes ad blocker Smaller server network, less configuration options
ExpressVPN 3000+ $8.32/month Fastest speeds overall, great for streaming Among the pricier VPN services
CyberGhost 7400+ $2.25/month Blocks ads and trackers by default, allows P2P traffic No kill switch to prevent data leaks if disconnected
Private Internet Access (PIA) 11500+ $2.19/month Built-in adblocker, accepts gift cards for anonymous payments US company subject to strict data retention laws

However, using a VPN for any form of ad blocking violates Spotify‘s end user agreement. If detected, Spotify may terminate your account. The risks include:

  • VPN traffic can be identified at a network level via Deep Packet Inspection.

  • Spotify checks for known VPN IP ranges and regularly bans associated accounts.

  • You‘d need to ensure no GPS or usage data leaks your real location.

I recommend proceeding with caution if you try using a VPN to block Spotify ads. While it may work temporarily, the long-term viability will be limited.

Can Ad Blockers Remove Spotify Ads?

When it comes to removing online ads, ad blockers are an obvious go-to option. Browser extensions like uBlock Origin and AdBlock Plus block ads using curated filter lists that identify and hide ad-related elements on web pages.

For Spotify specifically, there are a couple of factors that determine if these ad blockers can remove ads:

1. Listening environment – Ad blockers are browser extensions, so they only work for Spotify‘s web player when listening via a browser. For Spotify‘s desktop and mobile apps, ad blockers are largely ineffective since the audio ads originate from within those apps.

2. Audio vs display ads – Ad blockers are decent at removing banner, sidebar, and other visual ad units on Spotify‘s web player. However, they struggle to block audio ads on any platform. This is because the audio ads are served dynamically via requests to Spotify‘s internal ad servers.

So in summary, ad blocking browser extensions like uBlock Origin may partially remove some display ads from Spotify‘s web player only. But the audio ads will remain unaffected across all platforms.

Here are some tips for using ad blockers with Spotify‘s web player:

  • Install uBlock Origin or AdBlock Plus extension on Chrome, Firefox, etc.

  • Enable the relevant filter lists for hiding ads andAnnoyances.

  • Web player may have fewer sidebar, footer or banner ads.

  • But in-stream audio ads still play as normal.

  • Spotify often pushes updates to circumvent ad blockers.

While ad blocker browser extensions can help clean up Spotify‘s web interface a bit, they provide very limited benefit for blocking audio ads. Proceed with realistic expectations.

Can Ad Muting Apps Remove Spotify Ads?

Since traditional ad blockers struggle to stop in-app audio ads, specialized ad muting apps take a different approach. Instead of trying to block the ads themselves, they identify when an ad is playing and simply mute the volume temporarily until the ad ends.

Here‘s how ad muting apps work on Spotify:

  • They monitor network activity or audio session metrics to detect ads.

  • Once an ad is detected, the volume is quickly muted.

  • After the set time period passes, they restore your Spotify volume.

  • The ads still play as normal behind the scenes.

Some examples of popular ad muting apps include:

App Platform Price Pros Cons
Mutify iOS, Android Free Open source code, no root access required, seamless Spotify integration Cannot detect ads on Spotify desktop apps
StopAd Multi-platform Free Works across mobile, desktop and web players, adjustable settings Must keep app open continuously
EZBlocker Mac, Windows $4.99 Can block 100% of audio ads, option to skip tracks Paid-only, cannot tell difference between ads and actual songs
Sptfy iOS $3.99 Blocks ads on jailbroken iPhones, suppresses audio focus stealing so ads don‘t duck your music volume Requires jailbroken device, cat & mouse game with Spotify updates

The main appeal of these ad muting apps is they work universally across Spotify‘s mobile, desktop, and web apps. Platform does not matter. However, the limitations are:

  • Audio ads continue to consume your mobile bandwidth in the background.

  • Unexpected pauses still occur when ads finish playing.

  • Advanced detection required to distinguish ads from actual content.

  • Against Spotify rules so your account may get banned if discovered using one.

Muting ads rather than blocking them directly seems a clever workaround, but has some practical downsides. Proceed with caution if trying these apps with Spotify.

Can Tweaking Settings Block Spotify Ads?

Some tech-savvy Spotify users tweak internal operating system or browser settings in an attempt to block ads through non-traditional methods. Examples include:

  • Editing Hosts file – Redirects Spotify ad server domains to your localhost to prevent ad content from loading. Requires manually updating the blocklist regularly.

  • Using a local proxy – Routes Spotify traffic through a local proxy server with filtering rules to remove ads. Need technical expertise to set up and maintain this.

  • Blocking Spotify IP addresses – Prevents Spotify ad traffic from reaching your network by blocking associated IPs via firewall or Pi-hole. Lots of ongoing maintenance required.

  • Removing Audio Focus – Stops Spotify ads from ducking music volume on Android by disabling audio focus changes at an OS level. Requires adb command access.

  • Suppressing Audio Focus – Prevents Spotify ads from reducing music volume on jailbroken iOS devices by intercepting audio focus APIs. Needs frequent updating.

As you can tell from the list above, all of these methods require intricate knowledge of operating systems, network administration, or app developer tools. Even advanced users may struggle to implement these solutions correctly and keep them working reliably long-term as Spotify updates.

The reality is that while some technically inclined folks can achieve limited success blocking Spotify ads through unconventional system-level tweaks, it involves constant cat-and-mouse maintenance. Most users are better off using a VPN or ad muting app if going the free ad blocking route.

Should You Pay for Spotify Premium?

Based on the options we‘ve covered so far, you‘re probably realizing there is no perfect free solution for blocking Spotify ads. The Premium subscription remains the most hassle-free method if you want an interruption-free listening experience. Let‘s examine the benefits:

No ads ever – Unlike the methods above, Spotify Premium guarantees you‘ll never hear a single audio ad again across any device. There will be zero banner, video, billboard or other display ads either. Just pure, uninterrupted music.

Listen how you want – Premium allows on-demand playback so you can listen to any artist, album or playlist at any time instead of only being able to shuffle. No restrictions.

Enhanced features – You get offline listening, unlimited skips, high quality 320kbps audio, personalized recommendations, access to exclusive content like live streams, and more.

Seamless experience – Works perfectly across mobile, desktop, web player, smart speakers, TVs, game consoles, and all platforms. Sync seamlessly between devices.

Motivate artists – Your subscription directly supports the artists you listen to, allowing them to keep creating music.

Premium plans and pricing:

Plan Price Features
Individual $9.99/mo 1 account, listen ad-free across all devices
Duo $12.99/mo 2 account bundle, share playlists
Family $15.99/mo Up to 6 accounts, block explicit music, Spotify Kids access
Student $4.99/mo Discounted rate for students, Showtime & Hulu bundle

While going the Premium route may seem counterintuitive if your goal is to remove ads for free, it does provide unmatched value. No free solution comes close to matching the seamless listening experience.

If you can swing the roughly $10 monthly fee, Premium is by far the best way to block ads on Spotify in 2023. You can try a 1-month free trial to experience the benefits yourself.

Spotify‘s Stance on Ad Blocking

Now that we‘ve explored the pros and cons of various methods to block Spotify ads, you may be wondering about the legality of using such tools and services.

Spotify‘s user guidelines explicitly prohibit interfering with or blocking ads in any way:

"Circumventing or blocking advertisements in the Spotify Service, or creating or distributing tools designed to block advertisements in the Spotify Service" may lead to "immediate termination or suspension of your Spotify account."

This includes:

  • Using a VPN to access the service

  • Ad blocking extensions or apps

  • Cracking, modding, or reverse-engineering the apps

  • Downloading unauthorized third-party clients

  • Trying to remove in-app audio ads via system tweaks

Basically, any modification of the Spotify apps, service or recommendations that allows removing or limiting ads violates their terms.

While the methods in this article may work temporarily, remember that Spotify has full authority to ban any accounts deemed in violation of its policies. You use any ad blocker or similar tool with Spotify at your own risk.

Common Questions about Blocking Spotify Ads

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about removing ads from Spotify:

Q: Does Spotify allow ad blockers?

A: No. Spotify explicitly prohibits any form of ad blocking in its user guidelines. Accounts caught using ad blockers risk being banned.

Q: Why does Spotify have ads?

A: Spotify is free to use because ads provide revenue to pay music royalties, employee costs, infrastructure expenses, etc. Subscriptions offset this but ads still generate significant income.

Q: Are there real legal risks?

A: Spotify can terminate accounts violating its rules against ad blocking. But beyond closing your account, they cannot pursue further civil or criminal legal action.

Q: What happens if Spotify catches me using an ad blocker?

A: If identified, Spotify will likely ban your account. You would lose access unless you signed up again using a new account.

Q: How many ads will I hear on the free plan?

A: Expect 1-2 audio ads every 3-4 songs. Ad frequency varies based on listener demographics, time of day, geographic location and other factors.

Recap and Conclusion

Let‘s recap what we learned about blocking Spotify ads:

  • VPN – Works initially but easily detected and banned. Changing locations has limited ad reduction.

  • Ad blockers – Partially remove visual ads from Spotify web player only. Audio ads remain.

  • Ad muting – Pauses audio ads by muting, but ads still consume data and stall playback.

  • Tweaking settings – Hosts file edits and local proxies are complex with minimal ROI.

  • Premium – Paying a subscription fee is the only guaranteed way to remove all Spotify ads.

As you can see, there is no catch-all free solution for blocking 100% of Spotify ads in 2023. But the options covered in this guide should give you a better understanding of what‘s possible, along with the risks and downsides involved.

Ultimately the choice depends on your budget, technical comfort level, and how determined you are to never hear another Spotify ad again!

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Streamr Go

StreamrGo is always about privacy, specifically protecting your privacy online by increasing security and better standard privacy practices.