×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Spotify Claims Apple Rejected App Update to Force It to Use Tech Giant’s Billing System

A prickly new front just opened up in the war over streaming music: Spotify is complaining that Apple rejected the latest update to Spotify’s app, alleging that the tech behemoth is trying to force the company to use Apple’s own billing system to sell subscriptions.

In the wake of the Apple rejection of the iOS update, Spotify has reached out to members of Congress to share its position on the situation and a letter the company sent to Apple’s legal department earlier this week about the standoff, hoping that lawmakers will step in to level the playing field, Variety has confirmed. Recode first reported the development.

Apple reps did not respond to requests for comment. Spotify declined to comment.

Spotify has previously argued that Apple abuses its market power to put rivals at a disadvantage. The key issue in this dispute: Apple requires app publishers like Spotify to pay 30% of the fees they charge for subscriptions purchased through Apple directly. That means Spotify has charged $13 per month for its standard service if it’s purchased through Apple, whereas it’s $10 monthly if you sign up on Spotify’s website (and where the company is currently running a promo through the end of June offering three months of service for 99 cents).

Right now, Spotify’s iOS app does not allow users to subscribe through Apple’s billing system, and according to Spotify that’s why Apple blocked its latest update. Spotify’s app in Apple’s App Store was last updated May 26.

The implication is that Apple is trying to thwart Spotify’s traction in music subscriptions, in order to drive users to Apple Music (which costs $9.99 per month for an individual membership). Spotify this month said it surpassed 100 million monthly active users, with more than 30 million paying subs. Apple, at its developers conference this month, said Apple Music has topped 15 million paying users since launching a year ago.

In its fight with Apple, Sweden-based Spotify may have friends among U.S. lawmakers. As noted by Recode, in a speech Wednesday at a conference in Washington, D.C., Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) argued that Apple, along with Google and Amazon, are virtual monopolies that are hurting smaller competitors.

“Google, Apple and Amazon provide platforms that lots of other companies depend on for survival,” Warren said, but that in many cases they compete with those same smaller players “so that the platform can become a tool to snuff out competition.”

Warren even singled out Apple Music, saying that the company has made it “difficult” for Spotify and others to compete with Apple Music.

More Digital

  • Alibaba Buys 8% Stake in Chinese

    Alibaba Buys 8% Stake in Chinese Video Platform Bilibili

    Alibaba has purchased an 8% stake in the Chinese online video platform Bilibili, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Bilibili is one of China’s top video streaming and entertainment platforms, with about 92 million monthly active users and 450 million page-views per day. Founded in 2009, it was listed on the NASDAQ last March. Alibaba’s [...]

  • Clevver-Logo

    Hearst Magazines Buys Clevver's Pop-Culture YouTube Channels After Defy's Demise

    Hearst Magazines has snapped up Clevver, a network of female-skewing lifestyle and pop-culture news YouTube channels that had been owned by now-defunct Defy Media. Clevver was left homeless after Defy’s sudden shutdown in November; its principals said at the time they were looking for a new home. Hearst Magazines sees a digital fit with Clevver’s [...]

  • "Brother" -- Episode 201-- Pictured (l-r):

    CBS Interactive's Marc DeBevoise on Streaming Boom, Content Strategy, and Apple

    Not everyone wants or needs to be Netflix to succeed in the streaming space. And not everyone sees Apple’s enigmatic new service as a threat. Even as rival streaming services offer gobs of content, CBS Interactive’s president and COO Marc DeBevoise sees the company’s targeted original programming strategy continuing to attract viewers to its All [...]

  • Rhett-Link-Good-Mythical-Morning

    Rhett & Link's Mythical Entertainment in Talks to Acquire Smosh (EXCLUSIVE)

    Smosh, the YouTube comedy brand left stranded after parent company Defy Media went belly-up, may be about to get a new business partner. Mythical Entertainment, the entertainment company founded by top YouTube comedy duo Rhett & Link, has been in talks about acquiring the Smosh brand, sources told Variety. Multiple potential buyers came forward to [...]

  • Pokemon Go

    Proposed 'Pokémon Go' Lawsuit Settlement May Remove Poké Stops, Gyms

    A proposed settlement in the class action lawsuit against “Pokémon Go” developer Niantic could remove or change a number of Poké Stops and Gyms in the popular augmented reality game. The proposed settlement was filed in a California court on Thursday and applies to anyone in the U.S. who owns or leases property within 100 meters [...]

  • Skyline of Doha at night with

    Qatar's beIN Rallies Support From U.S. Companies Against Pirate Broadcaster beoutQ

    Qatari powerhouse beIN Media Group has rallied support from American sports and entertainment entities, including Discovery and Fox, behind its request that the U.S. government place Saudi Arabia on its watch list of top intellectual property offenders. The Doha-based broadcaster, a state-owned spinoff of Al Jazeera news network, accuses the Saudi government of harboring pirate broadcaster [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content