Students vs. Spotify

Carleen Loney @shloneys / The Concordian

The platform increased its monthly rate amidst the absence of a student discount in Quebec

Remember watching Disney Channel as a kid? Can you recall the feeling of excitement that came with the idea of winning sweepstakes and getting to meet your favourite TV star, only for the offer to be “not valid in Quebec.” For Spotify users in the province, the disappointment is the exact same.

For many years now, Spotify’s student discount has not been offered in Quebec. The province’s Consumer Protection Act prohibits companies from automatically charging for services at regular price once a free trial or discounted period has ended—for which Spotify faced a class-action lawsuit in 2017 before the Superior Court of Quebec.

Quebec is notably the only province in Canada that does not accommodate the discount. On SheerID, Spotify’s student verification system, no Quebec institutions can be selected from their directory. However, these same schools can be found on UNiDAYS, the site used by Apple Music. Students can thus access the same discount for the same price, just on a different streaming platform.

Minh Tu Chau, currently studying in the computer engineering co-op at Concordia, believes that the student discount should be available solely based on its widespread demand: “More people use Spotify than Bixi, but we [students] have a Bixi discount.” He also sees Spotify as a cornerstone of student life: “So many people use it for studying.”

Some students have since found a workaround: selecting universities outside the province that are also named Concordia, such as the one in Edmonton. “Just send an acceptance letter or any other official Concordia document,” an anonymous student shared with The Concordian. Transcripts, schedules, offers of admission, and attestation letters—”anything with the word Concordia on it,” they added—all grant access to the student discount when uploaded through SheerID under another “Concordia University.”

Furthermore, throughout the month of August 2023, Spotify users have been greeted with a bright blue screen with news that is equally blue: starting in September, their subscription price will be increasing from $9.99 to $10.99 per month.

Many subscribers have expressed their dismay towards the change, but Tredy Delcar Méroné—a first year economics student—sees it as inevitable: “It’s their first time ever increasing their prices in 11 years.”

“It’s annoying that we have to do all this just to have discounted Spotify,” Delcar Méroné said, which is just about the general consensus around the Spotify-student situation in Quebec.


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