So yesterday we learnt the good news that the popular music streaming service, Spotify is finally coming to Zimbabwe. This means that Zimbabweans will be able to sign up using their real details and addresses. There are a lot of people like myself who already use Spotify but in order to get it I had to use a UK address and fiddle with VPN.

That’s something that is beyond the skills of an ordinary user. Thankfully all you need to do to get Spotify now is to install the app from the Playstore, sign up and start streaming music. You don’t even need to pay anything besides just making sure you have an internet bundle. Spotify, unlike services such as Apple Music has a free tier service.

So what’s the catch? Well, free users have to wade through ads, there aren’t many but you simply cannot escape them. The ads also come in audio form making any Adblocker you may have pretty useless. It’s a good thing it allows people to listen to their favourite songs and audio without forking out money, or in the case of Zimbabwe having to pay using their prepaid card.

Those on the free plan cannot download songs for offline listening. To be clear downloading music via Spotify doesn’t mean that you get an MP3 file. You will still have to use Spotify to play back the downloaded audio file. You just won’t need an internet connection to play the file as it will be stored on your phone. Paying also means you will have access to higher quality audio and get spared from ads.

Paying for premium is not cheap though. It will cost you about US$9.99 which might not seem like much to our friends in the developed world but here it’s not cheap change. It’s the kind of money that will feed a family for a week we have come to learn. If only Spotify could do what Netflix has done in India, come up with a mobile only plan that is much cheaper.

In the meantime you can save big if you go for the family plan. This will cost you US$14.99 per month. Wait, you say, isn’t that even more expensive than the ordinary premium plan? Counter-intuitively no, its actually cheaper as you can add up to 6 family members to a plan. If the six of you team up and buy a plan it will mean you only paying US$2.50 per month for premium! Now that is more like it.

Family members don’t need to have the same surname they just have to be theoretically at the same address. Spotify is said to check this is the case by occasionally looking at the IP used to connect but in Zimbabwe that’s one bit of tech that has never worked. IP addresses don’t correspond well with their supposed Geographically location.

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