Spotify kicks out subscribers paying through Apple’s App Store


Spotify logo on iPhone
Spotify is making sure it doesn’t pay Apple anything it doesn’t absolutely have to.
Photo: Cult of Mac

All Spotify subscribers who’ve been paying for the music streaming service through the App Store are being switched to a free, ad-supported plan whether they want to or not.

Those who wish can switch back to a for-pay plan, but can not pay for it through Apple’s app payment system.

Spotify vs. the App Store

Spotify and Apple have had a tense relationship for years — not surprising considering the two companies run rival music streaming services. Spotify distributes its iPhone application through the App Store but won‘t let new customers pay for a subscription through it because Apple takes a cut of the fee. It’s 30% for the first year and 15% afterward.

Paying through the app used to be an option until Spotify cut that off way back in 2016. But that was only for new subscribers — the service “grandfathered” in customers who already had a subscription that went through the App Store, even though Apple continued to collect 15% of the fee.

Many years later, it’s ending that policy. Customers who still pay via the App Store are getting an email from Spotify warning that their music streaming subscription is about to “automatically switch to our Free, ad-supported service,” according to Variety.

But, as noted, they can switch back to a for-pay Premium account. They’ll have to pay for it with a credit card or PayPal, though.

The fee is $9.99 per month for an Individual plan, $12.99 for a Duo account, or $15.99 for a Family account. All of this money goes to Spotify — none of it to Apple.

An ongoing feud

This is surely not the end of the bad blood between Apple and Spotify. The Swedish music service filed a complaint against Apple Store fees with the European Union, and Apple loosened some App Store restrictions.

But Spotify will surely be one of the first companies to let iPhone users in the EU sideload its application when that option becomes available.


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