Spotify rant demands decisive action against Apple

Posted:
in iOS
A consortium led by Spotify has written to the European Union claims that Apple is defying courts and regulators, so it wants "urgent action" from courts and regulators.

Spotify's App Store icon (left), Apple Music (right)
Spotify's App Store icon (left), Apple Music (right)


Spotify previously got the EU to investigate allegations against Apple of antitrust behavior in 2019. Apple originally fought back, accusing Spotify of wanting all the benefits of being a free app, without being a free app.

Then in 2020, Spotify said it expected Apple would open up its platforms as a result of its complaint to the EU. In 2021, the EU issued a preliminary report that Apple was in breach of European Union competition law.

Now Spotify has posted an open letter to the EU's antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager, demanding in part that the Union should act on that preliminary report, and also "swiftly enforce" the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

"Apple has and continues to defy every effort from courts and regulators to address these unfair practices," says the letter. "While Apple continues to reap unfair rewards, the harm to developers and, more importantly, to consumers is immeasurable."

"The time has come for urgent action from the EU to end Apple's abusive behaviours," it continues. "The EU has the opportunity to take the lead, but it must act fast as every day that passes is a loss for innovation and for the welfare of European consumers."

The letter is signed by executives from eight companies:

  • Spotify

  • Basecamp

  • Deezer

  • Proton

  • Schibsted

  • European Publishers Council

  • France Digitale

  • News Media Europe

Spotify's letter also calls for a "rapid decision in the competition case against" Apple Music "for its illegal, anti competitive behaviour."

"Many of the anti-competitive behaviours described in the Commission's Statement of Objections against Apple are felt not only by music streaming services but by countless other app providers who wish to offer goods and services via the iOS App Store," continues the letter. "That Statement of Objections is nearly two years old and the abuses and consumer harm will continue until a remedy is enforced."

"Any attempts by Apple and other gatekeepers to circumvent the rules -- including on misleading and vague grounds of privacy and security -- should be resisted.," it concludes.

Previous independent research says that in 2021, Spotify had 31% share of the global music streaming market. Apple Music was the second most popular on 15%. The company also continues to wrongly claim that all of its subscribers are hit with a 30% subscription fee, where the actual number is 15% for subscribers that have been with the service for over a year.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    I’m old enough to remember when Spotify was an exciting new company using a tech startup approach to make music personal with the best recommendation engine on the market. Now look at them. It’s sad to see how fast a company can lose its way.
    edited January 20 JaiOh81racerhomie3igorskybaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 16
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,481member
    Here we go again. The point of market competition and consumer choice is at the device level. People can choose between different phones and platforms. Those who choose the iPhone are choosing the reliability and security that comes with the iOS platform. That stability and security in the iOS platform exists in no small part because of its level of control over apps that can get on the device. 

    Forcing Apple to abandon that level of control would take away consumer choice by forcing Apple to adopt the more lax and less secure approach of its competitors. 
    iOS_Guy80mike1JaiOh81racerhomie3williamlondonigorskybaconstangmacsince1988douglas baileywatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 16
    badmonkbadmonk Posts: 1,135member
    I also find it interesting that the biggest complainers about the App Store duopoly are other businesses and not consumers themselves.
    JaiOh81retrogustowilliamlondonigorskyn2itivguybaconstangwatto_cobrafreeassociate2
  • Reply 4 of 16
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,481member
    badmonk said:
    I also find it interesting that the biggest complainers about the App Store duopoly are other businesses and not consumers themselves.
    They want free and unfettered access to Apple's customer base, which is known to spend more money on apps than the Android customer base. 

    They fail to understand or acknowledge that the rules imposed by the Apple App Store process are a big factor in why Apple's customer base spends more on apps. From the customer's perspective, those rules mitigate risk.

    Apps purchased through the App Store follow user interface protocols, so they're intuitive and rarely require an instruction manual. They rarely crash and even more rarely crash your device. They are pre-screened for viruses and malware. They must be transparent about data they collect, use and share, and must ask permission from the user before tracking them. Apps purchased through the app store are easy to install and just as easy to delete and completely remove from your device. Subscriptions purchased through the app store are clear in their terms and are easy to find and cancel, with no questions asked. All that means there's very little risk for the user, making it very easy for them to download, install and try a new app and subscribe to a service even from developers they've never heard of before. Those App Store rules have built a high level of trust between the user and Apple, and that trust is extended to every vendor who places an app in the App Store.

    So when vendors complain about Apple taking their cut, they're lying when they claim that cut is just middle-man rent-seeking, taking money for no value. When vendors complain and say they want free and direct access to those customers outside of the App Store, they're lying to themselves when they think they'll get and keep that level of trust that's been built through the App Store. 
    JaiOh81racerhomie3williamlondonigorskytdknoxbaconstangmacsince1988douglas baileywatto_cobraCluntBaby92
  • Reply 5 of 16
    AppleZulu said:
    badmonk said:
    I also find it interesting that the biggest complainers about the App Store duopoly are other businesses and not consumers themselves.
    They want free and unfettered access to Apple's customer base, which is known to spend more money on apps than the Android customer base. 

    They fail to understand or acknowledge that the rules imposed by the Apple App Store process are a big factor in why Apple's customer base spends more on apps. From the customer's perspective, those rules mitigate risk.

    Apps purchased through the App Store follow user interface protocols, so they're intuitive and rarely require an instruction manual. They rarely crash and even more rarely crash your device. They are pre-screened for viruses and malware. They must be transparent about data they collect, use and share, and must ask permission from the user before tracking them. Apps purchased through the app store are easy to install and just as easy to delete and completely remove from your device. Subscriptions purchased through the app store are clear in their terms and are easy to find and cancel, with no questions asked. All that means there's very little risk for the user, making it very easy for them to download, install and try a new app and subscribe to a service even from developers they've never heard of before. Those App Store rules have built a high level of trust between the user and Apple, and that trust is extended to every vendor who places an app in the App Store.

    So when vendors complain about Apple taking their cut, they're lying when they claim that cut is just middle-man rent-seeking, taking money for no value. When vendors complain and say they want free and direct access to those customers outside of the App Store, they're lying to themselves when they think they'll get and keep that level of trust that's been built through the App Store. 
    Completely agree (including your previous comment). If Apple purpose from the App Store is only making money, they would have not allowed any free Apps which everyone know is not true. These free Apps use the same resources provided by Apple to developers as the for the paid Apps.
    williamlondonigorskybaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 16
    retrogustoretrogusto Posts: 1,026member
    Apple should sell a version of iPhone with no OS or other software installed, for a much higher price than the current offerings. Almost nobody would buy it, but it would add some clarity to the discussion, in terms of how their business model works. If you sign up for the free iOS with free updates, and a device that’s partially subsidized by App Store earnings, you get all of the benefits of the ecosystem but agree to Apple’s rules about what can be run within their free software platform. It’s not like I can sell any song I want on Spotify and set my own terms for how much of a cut Spotify gets. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 16
    igorskyigorsky Posts: 660member
    badmonk said:
    I also find it interesting that the biggest complainers about the App Store duopoly are other businesses and not consumers themselves.
    It's amazing throughout all the these complaints and government actions nobody every uses the word "consumer", as if we don't matter in the equation.
    edited January 20 thtn2itivguywatto_cobraCluntBaby92
  • Reply 8 of 16
    danoxdanox Posts: 1,494member
    igorsky said:
    badmonk said:
    I also find it interesting that the biggest complainers about the App Store duopoly are other businesses and not consumers themselves.
    It's amazing throughout all the these complaints and government actions nobody every uses the word "consumer", as if we don't matter in the equation.
    It’s a battle of the 1%’s, consumers need not apply.
    watto_cobraCluntBaby92michelb76
  • Reply 9 of 16
    ericesque said:
    I’m old enough to remember when Spotify was an exciting new company using a tech startup approach to make music personal with the best recommendation engine on the market. Now look at them. It’s sad to see how fast a company can lose its way.
    Funny how the same can be said of Apple with the App Store.
  • Reply 10 of 16
    uraharaurahara Posts: 689member
    2 months ago I just decided to try Apple Music again. I actually like Spotify functionality (e.g. grossfading between songs), UI an other user’s playlists better. 
    But I might just stay with Apple Music, because of the business practices Spotify uses (like trying to blame Apple). 

    By the way, Apple Pay’s almost 3 times the amount Spotify pays to artist for streaming. 
    danox
  • Reply 11 of 16
    AppleInsider said: "The company also continues to wrongly claim that all of its subscribers are hit with a 30% subscription fee, where the actual number is 15% for subscribers that have been with the service for over a year."

    It's worse than that. 99% of Spotify's iOS subscribers did NOT subscribe through the App Store. They subscribed through the internet. So the vast majority of the $$ Spotify makes from iOS involves a 0% cut by Apple.

    edited January 21 tht
  • Reply 12 of 16
    badmonk said:
    I also find it interesting that the biggest complainers about the App Store duopoly are other businesses and not consumers themselves.
    Absolutely not true AT ALL.  It's just that ordinary consumers can't afford to file incredibly expensive lawsuits against abusive giant corporations like Apple.

    Sure, you'll get the bootlicking fanbois with their "Apple can do no wrong" here, but in the real world actual humans are NOT happy with Apple's abusive treatment, they'd be thrilled with the ability to install software of their choosing from sources of their choosing instead of being locked into Apple's app store.
  • Reply 13 of 16
    darkvader said:
    badmonk said:
    I also find it interesting that the biggest complainers about the App Store duopoly are other businesses and not consumers themselves.
    Absolutely not true AT ALL.  It's just that ordinary consumers can't afford to file incredibly expensive lawsuits against abusive giant corporations like Apple.

    Sure, you'll get the bootlicking fanbois with their "Apple can do no wrong" here, but in the real world actual humans are NOT happy with Apple's abusive treatment, they'd be thrilled with the ability to install software of their choosing from sources of their choosing instead of being locked into Apple's app store.
    Speak for yourself. I’m perfectly happy being locked into the Apple App Store. It’s nice to have a single point for getting apps instead of hunting all over the internet and spreading around my CC info.
    danox
  • Reply 14 of 16
    danoxdanox Posts: 1,494member
    darkvader said:
    badmonk said:
    I also find it interesting that the biggest complainers about the App Store duopoly are other businesses and not consumers themselves.
    Absolutely not true AT ALL.  It's just that ordinary consumers can't afford to file incredibly expensive lawsuits against abusive giant corporations like Apple.

    Sure, you'll get the bootlicking fanbois with their "Apple can do no wrong" here, but in the real world actual humans are NOT happy with Apple's abusive treatment, they'd be thrilled with the ability to install software of their choosing from sources of their choosing instead of being locked into Apple's app store.

    The upper end of the market (worldwide) has voted with their pocketbooks, which isn’t an easy thing to do today with the worldwide economic problems, Spotify is a just a freeloader (parasite), on both ends, pays virtually nothing to the artist, and doesn’t want to pay anything to Apple for the actual ecosystem that Apple created. 

    Spotify will not be satisfied until they bring Apple to their level. They have the whole Windows and Android world to slum in, just like you have the Android and Windows world to have a crappy experience in, if you want to use a phone or a computer, you can even top it off with the Chromebook if you like Google spying on you up close and personal.
  • Reply 15 of 16
    It has to do with the first-mover advantage. Spotify launched much before Apple Music and I'm assuming that some of the people will not shift from Spotify simply because they are used to it. 

    Apple Music had that advantage for me in India. It was launched before Spotify and has been my streamer of choice. Of course, at this point of time I don't use Spotify simply on principle!
  • Reply 16 of 16
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,315member
    And today we know the reason for the rant. News outlets reporting Spotify laying off 6% of it workforce. So gottta blame somebody, right? Couldn’t possibly Spotify management, right? Must be evil Apple. Yeah, let’s blame Apple! That’s the ticket.
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