Allegation of unfair competition
The music streaming service has lodged a complaint with the EU Commission against the tech group Apple. The Swedish company accuses the US group of unfair competition because of the commission Apple withholds from competing providers. In addition, the rules of Apple’s app store restrict user choice and slow down innovation, according to Spotify CEO Daniel Ek.
For apps uploaded to the app store, the providers receive 70 percent of the revenues generated by the app. The remaining 30 percent will remain with Apple. This also applies to purchases within an app, for example if a user switches his account from the free and advertising-financed version to the paid premium version. In the case of revenues from subscriptions, Apple charges will be reduced to 15 percent from the second year onwards.
Criticism of music streaming services
Apple has often been criticized by music streaming providers because they have to give part of their revenue to Apple, while the company can collect the full amount from its competing service Apple Music. This forces Spotify to make its premium membership “artificially much more expensive than Apple Music,” says Ek.
As a result, subscriptions offered in the iPhone app were temporarily more expensive than on the web. In the meantime, it is no longer possible to purchase a premium subscription on an iPhone. Since the end of last year, the video streaming service Netflix has also offered new customers the opportunity to buy a subscription directly in the app.
Apple Pay is imposed
Furthermore, Spotify accuses Apple of imposing the Apple Pay payment system on the company in 2014. Since Spotify no longer wants to use this system, the tech group is obstructing the streaming service. Apple regularly blocks app updates and excludes Spotify from company-owned products such as the Siri assistance software, the networked HomePod speaker and the Apple Watch computer clock. In addition, the communication possibilities with their own users are limited.
“We don’t want any special treatment,” says Ek. Driving service agent Uber or food delivery service Deliveroo would also not have to pay any fees for the individual transactions in their respective apps.
Spotify recorded 96 million paying subscribers last quarter. An increase of nine million compared to three months earlier. Together with the free version, Spotify has more than 207 million users, and is thus the market leader. Apple Music ranks second with over 50 million paying users. A free version of Apple’s streaming service is not available.