Is Spotifree Ethical?
If you read my blog, you’re probably a Christian. You probably try to think more deeply about your biblical faith and its implications than the average pew-sitter, or you’d be watching TV right now.
So here’s one for you, and I really want to see some careful, scripturally informed wisdom here: is it ethical to use Spotifree?
I like the amazing free-music player Spotify, and Spotifree has made it a more enjoyable experience. It’s a little app that basically silences the commercials. No more interruptions to Rachmaninoff from pop stars hawking their latest immoralities and inanities. “I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” Instead of occasional ads for the latest chart-topping album, I get a few seconds of peaceful silence—thanks to Spotifree.
But the presence of bad ads doesn’t justify stealing, and isn’t that what I’m doing when I listen to Spotify’s music while silencing its main source of revenue? I may be one of only a small number of people doing this, but I never bought that argument from Napster afficionados, and I won’t buy it from myself.
One friend said it’s no different from an ad-blocker in your browser, and he noted that one of the reasons we use ad-blockers is the objectionable content (like the pop music ads on Spotify) that we don’t want to see.
Another friend said there’s a difference between ad-blocking in the browser and silencing ads in Spotify:
Spotify expects you to become a subscriber to remove the ads. Getting an app that does for free what Spotify expects to be paid for seems unethical. I wouldn’t doubt if it also went against their terms of agreement.
Terms of Agreement. Hmm… Yes, I should probably check those. But you shouldn’t, not yet. Give me your thoughts before you check them, and then check them if you like. Without them, I feel genuinely uncertain as to what to do (I’ll check them later). Not all the ads are perverse (a lot are from Home Depot, which I certainly don’t mind), but they’re all annoying. I want to do right. Help me, readers!