Spotify surfs the anti-tech wave
Spotify has a big problem with Apple. In fact is has many problems with Apple.
“In recent years, Apple has introduced rules to the App Store that purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience—essentially acting as both a player and referee to deliberately disadvantage other app developers.”
As a result of this, Spotify has now filed a complaint with the European Commission.
To get the public on side, Spotify has launched TimeToPlayFair.com
, which includes a timeline
of all the ways Apple has annoyed the company with its behaviour.
At the core of the issue is the 30% fee Apple takes from all sales of subscriptions and digital goods through iOS apps. Spotify isn’t alone in thinking this is unfair. Over Christmas, Netflix stopped allowing users to begin subscriptions in its iOS app
, instead kicking them out to a web browser. Spotify also does this, but it suffers a serious hit in the user convenience it can offer as a result.
Meanwhile, Apple’s own streaming music service Apple Music is incredibly easy to sign up for on iOS, and at a price Spotify simply couldn’t justify on iOS without losing 30% of every subscription fee. The case that Apple is abusing its position is pretty clear. If Elizabeth Warren wanted an ally in her quest to break up the big tech companies
, it appears Daniel Ek would be happy to play that role.
Given the smartphone market is essentially divided into two ecosystems, and Apple has a tight control over one of them, the argument that it is impeding consumer choice is pretty clear.
Spotify has timed this campaign perfectly to chime with a narrative of increased criticism of tech giants (even if, as a publicly traded tech company that leads in global music streaming, Spotify has issues of its own around its treatment of the music market).
And the European Commission isn’t afraid to dive into antitrust investigations with gusto. Some real good for consumers could come out of this spat.