UPDATE: On February 1st, 2018 I can confirm this solution still works. The tool I use in this guide is called ExpressVPN. Feel free to comment below, or go check it out for yourself by clicking here. I use ExpressVPN because it is the only one I've found that still currently works to get Spotify in UAE.
To get Spotify in UAE, go through the steps below right now:
- First, setup a VPN account
- Then download and install the VPN software onto the device(s) you will listen to Spotify in UAE on
- Next, open the software and connect to server location where Spotify is available (e.g. US or UK)
- Login into your Spotify account or signup for one (if you don't have one yet)
- Enjoy Spotify in UAE
Total time to complete this solution: 3 minutes
How to Use Spotify in UAE in more detail:
I’ll be honest, when I was first offered the chance to transfer to my company’s UAE office in Abu Dhabi, I was hesitant to say the least. I have travelled a lot, but still my knowledge of the Middle East was limited to what I had seen on the US news, and that was, to put it mildly, not 100% positive coverage.
Then my boss told me how much my salary was going to go up, and my tax bill was going to go down, and I was off down the shops to stock up on sun cream! Seriously, ex-pat life here is pretty good. There are a lot of good people working with my firm here, and there’s plenty do around the city.
But there’s still plenty I miss from back home, and at the top of my list is music. I loved going to gigs and always kept up to date with the latest releases. Music tastes here are very different, and finding my sort of stuff is hard. I had hoped that I would be able to continue to use Spotify as my go-to site for music.
But it was only when I got here that I realized you couldn’t access it here. I had a miserable, music-free couple of weeks, before a guy in my gym turned me onto VPNs, and explained how I could listen to Spotify, and other streaming services, really easily.
Why is Spotify not Available in the UAE?
I was confused at first as to why I couldn’t just log into Spotify as usual. Then I realized it was all down to rights. Spotify is a streaming service which reaches an agreement with the artists on their site over the rights to their music. They agree to pay a set for in exchange for the rights to have the music on their site.
However, these rights are not universal. Instead they are limited to agreed countries. This is because many artists have different recording contracts and record labels in different parts of the world, and sell the rights to their music off on that basis.
Spotify is therefore obliged to only make their music available in the regions where they have the rights to stream it, and must block access to this music in other parts of the world, where the rights might be held by someone else.
How is Spotify Blocking Access in the UAE?
Geo-blocking is a pretty simple piece of technology that takes advantage of your IP Address. This is a piece of data which every internet users sends to each and every website they visit. It contains various information, including where in the world you are.
Spotify will read this, and if you are not located in an area where they are allowed to stream music, they will automatically block you from using the service.
It is a pretty effective piece of technology and the only way to gain access again is to connect using a different IP Address.
Thus, what you want to do in order to bypass this block and get Spotify UAE unblocked is find a way to control your device's IP address and choose "where" you want your location to "appear" from, to the Spotify bots.
This is where a VPN comes in, because a VPN will reroute your traffic via an external server. This means that when you visit the site, the site sees the IP Address of this server and not your device. If this server is located in the right country (the USA in my case) then Spotify should work as usual.
It might sound complicated, but actually it is a pretty simple process. If you want to know how it works, keep reading.
How to Use a VPN to get Spotify UAE Unblocked
Step 1: Sign up for VPN
So the first thing you will need to do is sign up for a VPN. My pick is ExpressVPN (check them out here: expressvpn.com) and I am using that one to illustrate how to use Spotify in UAE. Firstly, you should head on over to the ExpressVPN website by clicking one of the quick links on this page.
Once there, you can choose from one of their subscription packages. This will in turn forward you to their payment processing page.
Making a payment is really easy using a variety of internationally recognized options, and they even offer a 30-day money-back guarantee if you are not completely happy with their service.
You have the option to choose from three different pricing plans. Regardless of which one you decide to go with, you will get that 30 day free trial period. So should the software not be effective for you (I regularly re-check this every 2 weeks to make sure it is still getting Spotify UAE unblocked - so you can rest-assured that it will work as long as this guide says it does) then you will not be wasting your money.
Follow the simple payment steps, and once you have completed, you will then need to confirm your account by clicking the link on an email.
Step 2: Download & Install VPN
As soon as you have confirmed your account, you will be invited to download the ExpressVPN software from the menu you can see below. Click on the correct operating system for your device, and then follow the onscreen instructions to download and install the software.
I took a screenshot of just some of the devices that ExpressVPN is compatible with, which you can see is basically any and every device that connects to the internet that you would every want to get Spotify UAE unblocked on:
So go ahead an choose the according software download option for the device you are currently using, and you will then be automatically taken through the installation process.
This entire process will take just a few seconds from start to finish. After completing it, the VPN software will auto-launch on your device. Let it do so - the you will be ready to jump into the next step in this solution.
Step 3: Connect to US-based Server on VPN
After the installation has completed, the software will open and you will be greeted by the very user friendly ExpressVPN interface. All that is left for you to do is choose which of their servers you want to connect to.
This is "magic" part of this solution, as it is at this point that you will actually change your IP address and make your device "appear" from within whichever location you want (in this instance, anywhere outside of the UAE).
So for me, I downloaded the Macbook compatible software, launched it, then connected to a New York-based server location.
Here is a little image of how the software looks on my Macbook before I connect to a server located in NYC:
ExpressVPN offer a variety of different servers spotted all around the world, so choose any one (it doesn’t matter which, so long as it the location is not also blocked from accessing Spotify like the UAE is). It will then take a few moments to establish a connection.
For further demonstration of how to do this, check out the screenshots below of me connecting to the ExpressVPN Android software that I got by simply downloading and installing it though the Google Play Store.
As you can see, I chose on this occasion to connect to a UK (London) based server:
After you have connected to the VPN on a non-UAE server - congratulation! You will have just successfully changed your device's IP address.
Of course, should you want to change your IP address to another location, then it is as simple as disconnecting from your current connection then connecting to any other one offered by the software.
Completely disconnecting from the VPN is simple. You can disconnect in the software, or just close the entire software and you will be disconnected. Your IP will then return to it's correct status when you do this.
Step 4: Setup Spotify Account
And with that your VPN is set up. All that is left is for you to log onto your Spotify account and your world of music is available to you again.
If you don’t have an existing Spotify account, you can also visit their website to set one up. You can setup a free account with no problems at all, and if you want a premium account, you can set this up by using your Facebook account. The onsite instructions are pretty easy to follow, and it shouldn’t take you more than five or ten minutes to get going.
As long as you follow the steps above correctly, the world of Spotify will be yours to enjoy in the UAE as much or as little as you like. I use it almost all the time, so it was a Godsend for me.
Do leave me a comment below to let me know how this process works for you, if indeed if you have any questions.
To be clear, although I cannot stress enough to use a VPN for this solution - you do have another viable option that I am confident in suggestion, which is to use a SmartDNS service to get Spotify UAE accessible.
This works much in the same as a VPN, but without any of the encryption being placed on your online data and activity (which is what you do get, to a very high level, with a VPN).
Why I recommend using a VPN is because protection of one's own online privacy is something I think everyone should take as much control of as possible. Also, the pricing difference between using a secure and effective SmartDNS service against a VPN is so slight that it just makes sense to go with a VPN.
The other option that some people consider as effective is to use a Proxy browser. I have tried this multiple times to no success at all. These are using free websites that you browse the web through, however since they are free - most of them are blocked by the very service you are trying to access and never updated.
I have used ExpressVPN because I feel it is the best VPN provider for online streaming. There are of course other VPNs if you don’t like the look of ExpressVPN, and above you will find my pick of the top 5 for getting Spotify UAE unblocked.
Happy listening, music lovers!