Spotify thinks App Store charges are squashing the competition


Apple raked in the cash last quarter.
Spotify is upset that Apple rinses subscription services for money. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Spotify’s not happy about the way that Apple charges a 30 percent fee toward sales thorough its App Store, including subscription services.

The tax structure means that in order for Spotify to make $9.99 per month for its premium service it has had to raise the app subscription price to $12.99 — which prices it out of the market compared to the lower-cost Apple-owned Beats Music service, set to launch this summer.

Although Spotify costs just $9.99 per month if users subscribe online, Apple does not allow the app to redirect users to a browser where they can access the lower-priced subscriptions.

As Apple writes in its App Store review guidelines, “Apps that link to external mechanisms for purchases or subscriptions to be used in the app, such as a ‘buy’ button that goes to a web site to purchase a digital book, will be rejected.”

“They control iOS to give themselves a price advantage,” an industry source tells the website Re/Code. “Thirty percent doesn’t go to any artist, it doesn’t go to us, it goes to Apple.” A possibly different source describes the 30 percent fee as “f*cking bullshit.”

Spotify has every reason to be unhappy about Apple at the moment, given that Cupertino is reportedly pushing music labels to pressure Spotify to drop its free tier service.

Spotify’s not the only organization upset with Apple’s music streaming plans, either. Apple is currently being scrutinized by both the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission, regarding concerns that the company could use its dominant position to disadvantage rival companies.

A major redesign of Beats Music is supposedly set to debut at this year’s WWDC, rebuilt from the ground up by none other than Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor.


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