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Spotify family plan crackdown threatens account sharing [Updated]
Spotify may crack down on friends sharing subscriptions to its more cost-effective family plan, demanding GPS location data from some of its users. The streaming music provider has offered a family plan since 2014, making it more competitive in mid-2023 by allowing up to six people to share a premium subscription for $14.99 per month.
That’s far cheaper than it would be for each of those six people to have an individual Spotify Premium subscription of their own, which cost $9.99 per user. Each family plan user gets their own recommendations, playlists, and saved music.
What Spotify hasn’t been doing, at least until now, though, is checking to see if those family plan users are actually, well, a family. As a result, it’s not uncommon to see a group of friends sharing a single family plan because it makes more financial sense that way. Now, though, Spotify is seemingly cracking down, using a little-known loophole in its terms of service.
Turns out, Spotify always had some limits on its family plan, it just wasn’t really enforcing them. “All account holders must reside at the same address to be eligible for the Premium for Family Plan,” the company’s terms and conditions read. If they don’t, Spotify reserves the right to terminate the plan, at which point everybody reverts to the feature-limited Spotify Free tier.
That confirmation process won’t just take subscribers’ word for it, either. Instead, it uses GPS to pinpoint where each person is. That, many have pointed out, has privacy implications, though Spotify insists that it “will only use your GPS data to verify your location and nothing else.”
Subscription sharing is, undoubtedly, eating into potential profits of services like Spotify. After all, it could be making $59.94 each month from six regular Spotify Premium subscribers, rather than them paying just $2.50 per month. However it also raises questions about the nature of modern families, and whether it’s realistic to expect everybody who is considered a “family” to also reside in the same location.
“Spotify is currently testing improvements to the user experience of Premium for Family with small user groups in select markets,” the company said in a statement. “We are always testing new products and experiences at Spotify, but have no further news to share regarding this particular feature test at this time.”
It’s not the first move Spotify has made in recent months to limit people gaming its service. Back in March, it began clamping down on Spotify Free service users who were relying on ad-skipping apps to bypass the promotions used to subsidize their listening. The company claimed that around two million users were relying on those unofficial apps to game its system.
Had Spotify named its family tier “Spotify Household,” it could probably have gotten around this controversy – at the cost of a somewhat more awkward name, mind. Still, if it decides to enact the restrictions its terms and conditions permit, it’s questionable whether subscribers ousted from family plans will necessarily sign up to an individual premium subscription afterwards, rather than look elsewhere to less restrictive services.
Update: Spotify has ended its “test” requiring GPS location confirmation.
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We’ve compared the four different Spotify Premium options – Individual, Duo, Family and Student – to help you choose the right subscription to suit your finances and listening habits. We also have a similar guide on which Netflix plan is the right one for you, and you can also find out how much mobile data Spotify uses here.
If you’ve not done so already, you can sign up for an account for free over on the Spotify website, and then pick the plan you want from there.The lowdown on Spotify plans
If all that sounds like too much of a compromise then Premium is absolutely the way to go. You can see a more detailed comparison between Spotify Free and Spotify Premium here.
To be clear, every Premium account on Spotify offers the following:
Ad-free music listening
All of the plans also offer one month free trials, so you can try out the benefits of Spotify Premium without having to part with any money whatsoever.
Though Spotify offers joint accounts, you can only register one payment option. Therefore be sure to think about how you’d like to split the cost of your chosen Spotify Premium account. You can either get people to set up a simple standing order, pay via PayPal and split the cost through here, or use something such as Monzo. The max amount of people you can have one one account is six.
In addition, all these people will need your registered email address and password – so be certain these are details you’re comfortable sharing. For example, don’t use a sensitive password, such as one you use for internet banking.
We’ve also totted up the annual equivalent cost of each plan to help with your financial concerns. Most plans are monthly rolling and can be cancelled anytime – with the exception of Spotify Individual which offers both monthly and annual options (though paying for a year’s worth doesn’t get you any discount).
It’s worth noting that we’ve seen customers be emailed about these prices changing from 30 April, with most plans jumping up by £1 per month, and £2 per month for the Family plan. For existing customers, these prices will kick in from June onwards.Spotify Premium Individual Cost: £9.99/US$9.99 per month (adds up to £119.88 or US$119.88 per year)
Best for: Working professionals who don’t want to share an account
Don’t want to share your account with anyone and aren’t a student? Go for the standard Premium plan. With ad-free listening, unlimited skips, the ability to favourite and curate playlists and of course download tunes, you can keep this account all to yourself.
If you’re thinking about sharing your Premium benefits with a friend, then think again. Spotify detects when someone is logged into two devices, and will log you out if you try to listen simultaneously.
If you can coordinate your music time, then it’s worth trying. But if not, consider some other alternatives.Spotify Premium Duo Cost: £12.99/US$12.99 per month (adds up to £155.88 or US$155.88 per year)
Best for: Couples or a pair of roommates – excluding students
Premium Duo is the newest Spotify account on the block, and is primarily geared towards two people living at the same address such as couples or close friends. Not only do you get a profile each for your own personalised tastes, but you also gain access to Duo Mix, a regularly updated curated playlist which incorporates both individuals music tastes.
Premium Duo only works for two people living at the same address, so don’t get a shared account with someone who you aren’t living with. Spotify conducts random GPS checks, and if it finds you flouting the rules you could be banned from your account.
Spotify Premium Duo is the natural cost-saving choice if you and another person you live with both want Premium, as it’ll only cost you £5.99 per month each rather than £9.99 each. The exception to this rule are students – who still fare better with their own dedicated Premium Student subscriptions.Spotify Premium Family Cost: £14.99/US$14.99 per month (adds up to £179.88 or US$179.88 per year)
Best for: Families and between three to six roommates – including students
If you’re under a roof with up to five others, then the Premium Family option is by far be the most cost effective Spotify subscription. Like Spotify Duo, you get numerous accounts (up to six), an automatic Family Mix with mixed curated tunes as well as access to Spotify Kids. Spotify Kids is for children up to age 12, and includes an entire library that is family-friendly and free of expletive music.
It’s only worth getting Premium if you’re planning on splitting the account between three or more individuals, or if you desperately want access to Spotify Kids. Otherwise, Spotify Duo is the more cost-friendly alternative between two people. Again like Duo, this account is only for people living in the same address – not friends outside of it.
If you split this account evenly, at most you’ll be paying £4.99 if you’re in a team of three, and at the least £2.50 in a group of six. Therefore, the more sharers you can get on a family plan, the more cost-effective it will be. This plan is also a cheaper option for groups of three-to-six university roommates rather than individual student accounts.Spotify Premium Student Cost: £5.99/US$5.99 per month (adds up to £71.88 or US$71.88 per year)
Best for: Individual university students
If you want to share, weigh up how many people you’re thinking about splitting with. If it’s more than two other people, go for Spotify Premium Family. Spotify Premium Duo isn’t worth it if you’re both students.
To get a student account, you’ll need to verify your status with your university email address and a document with proof of your enrollment status – see more in Spotify’s terms and conditions.Which Spotify account is the best?
If you’re in a group, then it depends how many of you there are. For between three to six people in the same household (students or not), the Spotify Premium Family account is by far the most cost-effective option. If you’re in a couple, then you should only go for Spotify Duo if you’re not students – as otherwise two individual student accounts still costs marginally less.
Direct Stock Purchase Plan (DSPP)
A way for individuals to buy stocks directly from a company rather than through a brokerage
Published August 18, 2023
Updated June 28, 2023What is a Direct Stock Purchase Plan (DSPP)?
A Direct Stock Purchase Plan (DSPP) is a way for individuals to buy stocks directly from a company rather than through a brokerage.
Typically, investors purchase stocks through brokerages, such as banks or online investment platforms. In this case, the brokerage acts as a middleman between the investor and the company, providing investors with access to a range of stock offerings on one platform.
However, brokerages typically charge commissions or currency exchange fees per transaction. Through a direct stock purchase plan, an investor can skip the middleman and purchase shares directly from a company. Although DSPPs minimize commissions, there are other drawbacks, such as purchase requirements and transfer fees.Summary
A Direct Stock Purchase Plan (DSPP) is a way for individuals to buy stocks directly from a company rather than through a brokerage.
Through a DSPP, an investor can eliminate any brokerage fees associated with the purchase.
In a DSPP, the price of each share isn’t equivalent to the market price, but rather an average price over a period of time.How Direct Stock Purchase Plans Work
Direct stock purchase plans offer an alternative to the brokerage model most commonly used in the buying and selling of stocks. By skipping the middleman, investors can invest directly in a company while avoiding any commissions that would be paid to the brokerage.
However, direct stock purchase plans are agreements between an investor and a single company. Therefore, each company may have different requirements regarding the purchase of shares. Examples of companies that offer direct stock purchase plans are Walmart, Starbucks, and Coca-Cola.
Similar to the brokerage model, investors initiate the direct stock purchase by transferring money from their checking or savings accounts, and the money is used to purchase shares. Unlike a brokerage, direct stock purchase plans typically enforce minimum investment requirements, which limit the minimum number of shares that can be bought in each transaction.
Also, the price of each share isn’t equivalent to the market price, but rather the average price over a period of time. Funds from investors are pooled and are used to purchase shares periodically. Once the shares are purchased, the plan administrator will issue the investor a certificate that states the number of shares purchased, dividends, and other relevant information.
Direct stock purchases are managed by transfer agents, which are third-party institutions that record transactions, issue certificates, and perform administrative duties. Some of the world’s largest transfer agents include Computershare Trust Company and American Stock Transfer & Trust Company (AST).
For institutional investors that purchase large quantities of shares, direct stock purchases may be beneficial because companies can offer discounts that are unavailable through traditional brokerage models.
Direct stock purchases can provide increased communication between the investor and the company. Some corporations may also offer employee stock ownership plans (ESOP), which allow employees to purchase shares at a discounted price.Advantages of Direct Stock Purchases 1. Offers cost savings 2. Provides a simplified purchasing experience
Avoiding the brokerage model can also provide greater simplicity in the purchasing experience.3. Promotes stronger investor relations
For the company itself, direct stock purchases can be beneficial because it promotes stronger investor relations. Since shares are purchased directly, the company can reach out to investors directly to promote and share information.4. Prevents short-selling
Also, shares purchased through direct stock purchases cannot be shorted, which prevents short-selling and reduces price volatility.1. Charges other fees
Although direct stock purchases eliminate brokerage fees, there are still other fees that can arise, such as account setup fees, transaction fees, or fees to sell.2. Reduces portfolio diversity and limits trading options
Direct stock purchases are between an investor and a single company. While a brokerage can offer thousands of stock options, a direct stock purchase limits the investor to one stock. It reduces portfolio diversity and limits an investor’s trading options.
With direct stock purchases, it’s difficult to know the price of each share before purchasing as the prices are an average. This makes it difficult to time the market and more complicated for investors to sell.Additional Resources
Are you getting stuck at the Connecting Steam account prompt and struggling to open and use Steam on your Windows PC? Some Steam users have complained that whenever they launch Steam on their computer, they can’t go past the “Connecting Steam account” screen. Now, why does this issue occur? Let us find out below.Why is Steam stuck in connecting to account?
If Steam is stuck while connecting to your account and you keep seeing the Connecting Steam account prompt, the problem might be caused due to an ongoing server issue at the end of Steam. Another common reason for this issue is the internet connectivity problem, like unstable internet connection, out-of-date network drivers, etc. You might also face the same issue due to firewall interference.
You might be getting this issue due to a corrupted installation of the Steam app. Other reasons for this issue include missing administrator rights and enabled VPN.Fix Steam is stuck on Connecting Steam account
If your screen is stuck at the Connecting Steam account prompt when you launch the Steam app, reboot your PC. Doing so will eliminate temporary issues and glitches with your system and might help fix this problem. If that doesn’t help, use the following methods to fix the issue:
Make sure your internet connection is active and stable.
Check the server status of Steam.
Launch Steam with administrator rights.
Allow the Steam app on your firewall.
Disable VPN, if applicable.
Add –tcp parameter to Steam shortcut.
Refresh Steam files.
Uninstall, then reinstall Steam.1] Make sure your internet connection is active and stable
You need an active internet connection to open and use the Steam desktop client. Hence, you need to ensure that you are well connected to the internet to avoid issues like this. Check if there are any problems with your WiFi and troubleshoot the issues. In addition, you can try restarting your router and then check if the problem is gone.
It is also recommended to ensure that your network adapter driver is up-to-date. Outdated network drivers are known to cause network issues on your computer. So, update your network driver to its latest version and then see if the problem is resolved or not.
Other than that, you can try connecting to a different network connection and check if the problem is resolved.
If you are sure that the stuck at Connecting Steam account screen issue is not caused due to your network connection, move on to the next fix.
See: An error occurred while installing or updating the Steam game2] Check the server status of Steam
Well, if your internet connection is working fine, it might be the case that Steam servers are down at the moment and which is why you are facing this issue. Hence, if the scenario is applicable, you can find out the current Steam server status using a free tool. Check if there is any server outage issue or if servers are under maintenance. If so, wait until the server issue is fixed from the end of Steam and try again after some time.
In case Steam servers are up and running, you can rule out this scenario and apply the next fix.3] Launch Steam with administrator rights
From the appeared context menu, choose the Properties option.
Next, move to the Compatibility tab and tick the checkbox associated with the Run this program as an administrator option.
See: How to fix Steam Error E502 L3 on Windows PC?4] Allow the Steam app on your firewall
The hindrance in connecting to Steam servers and being stuck at Connecting Steam account prompt could be caused by your firewall. Your overprotective firewall program might be detecting Steam as suspicious and blocking the client from connecting to the internet and your Steam account.
Now, if this scenario is applicable, you can temporarily disable your firewall and see whether the issue is resolved. If yes, you can allow the Steam application through your firewall to permanently fix the issue. In case you use Windows Defender Firewall, use the below steps to do that:
First, open Windows Defender Firewall by searching for it using the Search function.
After that, press the Change settings button present on the top.
If the problem is still the same, you can follow the next troubleshooting method to fix the issue.
Read: Steam Games not launching or opening on Windows.5] Disable VPN, if applicable
If you are using a VPN, it might be causing the issue. VPNs are used to stay anonymous on the internet, bypass geo-restrictions, and avoid other network restrictions. However, they can also cause network disruption and prevent you from connecting to online apps like Steam. Hence, disable VPN and then see if the problem is resolved.
Read: How to reset Steam6] Add –tcp parameter to Steam shortcut
The next thing you can do to fix the problem is to add –tcp parameter to the Steam shortcut. As Steam uses User Datagram Protocol (UDP) for the transmission of data, you can switch it to TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) which is more reliable. It may help you get rid of the issue. Here are the steps you can follow to use the TCP protocol for Steam:
Now, move to the Shortcut tab.
Finally, relaunch Steam and check if the problem is fixed.
Read: Fix Steam FRIENDS NETWORK UNREACHABLE error7] Refresh Steam files
If the problem still remains the same, you can refresh your Steam files by deleting Steam client configuration files and forcing Steam to reinstall them. In case the issue is triggered due to corrupted Steam files, this fix will work for you. Here’s how you can do that:
First, open Task Manager using Ctrl+Shift+Esc and close Steam and related processes.
Next, press Win+E to open File Explorer and navigate to the Steam directory on your PC. By default, the location is as follows: C:Program Files (x86)Steam
After that, except for the steamapps folder and the chúng tôi application, select all other files and folders.
Now, press the Delete button to delete all the above-selected files.
Finally, reboot your computer and launch Steam as an administrator to check if the issue is gone.
Read: FATAL ERROR: Failed to connect with local Steam Client process.8] Uninstall, then reinstall Steam
If you are still stuck at the “Connecting Steam account” prompt, the last resort to resolve the problem is to uninstall and reinstall Steam. The installation of Steam might be corrupted beyond repair. So, you will be required to remove Steam from your PC and then install it back.
Note: Before uninstalling Steam, we recommend you create a backup of your games’ folders. You are likely to find it here:
C:Program Files (x86)Steamsteamappscommon
Hopefully, you won’t be stuck at the Connecting Steam account prompt when opening Steam.Why is my Steam account not loading?
There can be several factors why you are unable to log into your Steam account. One of the primary reasons is wrong login credentials. So, ensure that you entered the right username and password to sign into your Steam account. Another reason for this issue includes the server outage issue. Other reasons for the same include a corrupted Steam cache, weak internet connection, software conflicts, antivirus/firewall interferences, and an outdated Steam app.
Now read: Fix Steam needs to be online to update error.
Slater Family Endows Behavioral Economics Chair Will explore psychology of financial decision-making
Kenneth Slater says that investing in “bricks and mortar” is important, but his family sees a different kind of value in endowing an academic chair. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky
BU overseer Kenneth Slater and his family have endowed a College of Arts & Sciences chair in behavioral economics, a field that explores, among other things, the ways that players in the financial market make decisions.
The Slater Family Professorship in Behavioral Economics is created by a $2.5 million endowment made possible by combining funding from the Slater family (nearly $1.7 million) with a matching grant through the Leventhal Challenge ($800,000), established by BU trustee Alan Leventhal (Hon.’09) and his wife, Sherry Leventhal.
Behavioral economics is a relatively new field that explores the psychology behind decisions made by consumers, borrowers, and investors, as well as the effect those decisions—often based on gut instinct—have on the financial market.
“This professorship in behavioral economics is a real game-changer,” says Virginia Sapiro, dean of Arts & Sciences, “because it builds on strengths we already have in the department of economics, one of our leading departments, and enables us to attract another first-rate professor to our ranks. Without endowed professorships like this one, we have little hope of competing with the other top-ranked universities to attract and keep the best faculty and students.”
Robert Margo, a CAS professor and chair of the department of economics, says Slater Family Professorship is the first endowed chair in the department’s history.
“Behavioral economics is one of the hottest areas of research in economics,” Margo says. “By giving us the resources to make a high profile appointment, Ken Slater’s extraordinary gift will help move the department to the next level.”
As a professional investor, Slater has a personal interest in this branch of economics. “I realized one day that that’s all I really do,” he says. “And I can’t decide where to go to lunch.”
Joking aside, Slater’s role became crucial during the recent financial crisis, when few people fully understood what was happening on Wall Street. “Things were pretty stressful,” he says. “I was trying to understand everything, and I realized I couldn’t. I had to make decisions based on limited information.”
The Slater family has now endowed two BU academic chairs. In 2005, Ken Slater’s parents, Alvin Slater (CAS’41) and Shirley Slater, funded the Alvin J. Slater and Shirley Slater Chair in Jewish Holocaust Studies, held by Steven Katz, a CAS professor of religion and director of the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies.
BU has helped educate several Slaters, among them Ken Slater’s daughter, Jacqueline Slater (GSM’12), and his brother, Richard Slater (CAS’71). Although Ken Slater did not graduate from BU, he has been a member of the CAS Dean’s Leadership Advisory Board since 2007. “I have been delighted that Ken has been willing to give his time to work closely with us in the College of Arts & Sciences,” Sapiro says.
While investing in “bricks and mortar” is important, Slater says, his family sees a different kind of value in endowing an academic chair. “We particularly like the idea of something that lasts, that’s perpetual, that changes over time, and is refreshed or replenished with new intellectual leadership,” he says. “It has an indefinite, unchanging life.”
Leslie Friday can be reached at [email protected]; follow her on Twitter at @lesliefriday.
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A WordPress Support Plan is one of the necessities of running a WordPress-powered website. Your website will experience numerous ups and downs. To ensure safety and data protection, you need to prepare for eventualities like data breaches due to hacks. A WordPress Support Plan ensures that your site doesn’t suffer the crippling effects of such intrusions.What is WordPress?
Technically, WordPress is software. It’s a content management system (CMS) that simplifies numerous aspects of managing a website. Even for those with no knowledge of coding or computer science, a CMS like WordPress makes it easy to create and run a website.
WordPress is a type of CMS that is classed as ‘open-source.’ This means that anyone can access it and modify the source code as they see fit. This characteristic, among other things, has made WordPress a popular tool for building websites. Such is WordPress’ popularity that nearly 45% of all websites on the internet are powered by it.
Hacking is a constant threat for many website owners. The fact that WordPress powers many websites means that hackers are constantly trying to beat its system.
A WordPress Support Plan is a solution to such challenges.
Think of a WordPress Support Plan as regular housekeeping for websites. It is a series of regular maintenance checks to ensure that a website runs smoothly. It is performed by a web developer and involves ensuring that all of a website’s content is backed up, among other things. Depending on the arrangement, these tasks necessary for regular website maintenance are performed daily, weekly, or monthly.Do You Need a WordPress Support Plan?
A WordPress Support Plan is an all-inclusive package designed to ensure the smooth running of your site. You can carry out website maintenance by yourself. However, this can be very challenging if you are not a certified web developer. Website maintenance is an arduous task, requiring a thorough grounding in numerous technical aspects of web building. One mistake could be very costly in the long term. For example, if you’re running an e-commerce website, failing to update the proper plugins could have serious financial consequences. This is one of the reasons why you should always have a professional web developer perform maintenance checks for your website. A reliable WordPress Support Plan provides just that.Essential Requirements of a WordPress Support Plan
Regardless of whether you choose a daily, weekly, or monthly type of WordPress Support Plan, the following are must-haves:1)Updates
Keeping your website updated is crucial to its proper functioning. Among the several things necessary for this are plugins. Plugins are pieces of software. They upgrade and improve the functionality of an existing application on a website. Sometimes, they add new features to a site.
Getting the right plugins should be part of any WordPress Support Plan. In addition to plugins, the update should also include security fixes and the latest themes. A common reason why WordPress websites get hacked is because of outdated plugin versions and features. A good WordPress Support Plan should handle all such updates.2) Backups
Website backup is crucial to ensuring that there is no chance of irreversible data loss. A good WordPress Support Plan should have secure and regular backup systems, ensuring that any data breaches or third-party intrusions do not result in catastrophic data loss. The backup can be daily, weekly, or hourly. Ideally, this should be to a remote server that is completely isolated from the website.3) Monitoring
Monitoring a website should be a 24-hour thing. This is because issues can arise at any time of day or night. An effective WordPress Support Plan should have a system of round-the-clock monitoring. This ensures that issues can be quickly identified and handled before they become serious, regardless of the time of day or night.4) Human Checks
A common theme in many website maintenance procedures is using bots. These applications run automated updates. While this may seem like a time-saving measure, it can have its drawbacks. For example, such blanket update procedures can disrupt the functions of certain aspects of a website that are critical for user-friendliness. Unless a live person checks them, such errors can go unnoticed, leading to the disruption of some website functionalities. A reliable WordPress Support Plan should include human checks after every update to ensure that there is uniform compatibility without disruptions to any functionality.5) Logging System
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