Spotify’s Apple Music complaint was a near decade in the making

“Spotify Technology SA latest complaint against Apple Inc. highlights the tensions that arise when a hardware powerhouse starts competing with companies that helped drive the appeal of its products in the first place,” Nate Lanxon reports for Bloomberg. “Spotify on Wednesday demanded that Apple should be probed by the European Union’s powerful antitrust agency over how it allegedly squeezes rival music streaming services.”

“it was an event in 2010 that fundamentally changed Spotify’s ability to compete with Apple for the attention of music lovers, and it was a something Apple itself instigated. Previously, third-party apps could not “run in the background.” This meant if you started playing music on Spotify and switched to reading email, Spotify would be forced to stop playing. This wasn’t so with Apple’s music app: it was allowed to multi-task,” Lanxon reports. “When Apple announced in June 2010 that its iOS 4 operating system would let third-party developers build multi-tasking features into their software, Spotify could update its app to mirror the functionality of its biggest rival. It did so within a week of iOS 4 being released to the public.”

“It created parity between the competing products,” Lanxon reports. “Apple and Spotify both had music apps that gave access to millions of songs, supported background playback, and let users download tracks for offline listening.”

MacDailyNews Take: There’s an interesting use of the word parity. Spotify’s library contains 15 million fewer songs than Apple Music’s comprehensive library of 50 million songs.

You’d have to be stupid to subscribe to Spotify when it has 40% fewer tracks than Apple Music for the same price. Apple Music boasts a catalog of 50 million songs; Spotify has just 30 million. Don’t be stupid. If you’re still subscribing to Spotify, it’s past time for you to cancel it and upgrade to Apple Music. (See also: How to move your Spotify playlists to Apple Music.)

“The Spotify app can be downloaded for free from Apple’s app store, but to subscribe to the premium paid-for service a user needs to navigate to a separate web browser and manually register,” Lanxon reports. “This is because Spotify doesn’t want Apple to take the 30-percent cut from subscriptions that purchases within the App Store are subject to. It’s the same reason e-books can’t be purchased directly within Inc.’s Kindle app on the iPhone.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Again, this boils down to the fact that Spotify wants to use the platform that Apple built and maintains at great expense for free.

Spotify files EU antitrust complaint against Apple – March 13, 2019
Samsung to preinstall Spotify on phones – March 8, 2019
Streaming services led by Apple Music account for 75 percent of the U.S. recording industry’s revenue – March 1, 2019
Apple Music now leads Spotify in the U.S., the No. 1 recorded music market – December 31, 2018


        1. Yup bit of a lottery that which was/is certainly not a particularly pleasing experience for many.

          But the point I wanted to make here is do we know that Spotify wants free access or just a more reasonably orcs access? The former would indeed be taking a liberty while the latter might b deemed a very reasonable demand to level the playing field. A bit like the Qualcomm arguments revolve around in fact.

          1. One thing I know is, if one is calling a sales commission to what is a consignment shop a “tax” or a “tariff”, one is not discussing the topic in good faith.

  1. I would say they have a case if Apple forced people to sign up on the app. It is your choice you can subscribe straight off Spotifys website just fine.. Aldo I thought that Apple lowered the 30% after a certain amount of time on the store.. Am I wrong on this?

      1. After a user have subscribed to 12 months (I think consecutive, but not sure) the cut is reduced to 15%. The thing that makes me laugh here – Spotify whinge about Apple taking a cut for distributing 3rd party software, isn’t this what Spotify do in that they take a fee to distribute 3rd party music?? Would be interested to know what kind of cut Spotify take from artists and music labels. I would be surprised if it’s as generous as Apples?? Why hasn’t anyone pulled them up on this fact yet so we can stop hearing their complaints?

  2. So, I run a shopping mall. Anyone can sell whatever they want in my mall as long as I get a percentage of revenue; no other rent or utility charges are applied. I open my own kiosk in that same mall, paying myself 100% of the revenue, and customer choose to buy my stuff instead of someone else’s. Somehow, that means I am being “unfair”? Reality doesn’t work that way.

    Also, “not allowed to contact customers if you don’t pay the consignment commission”? What intelligent business owner agrees to these terms? I’m thinking what happened was someone at spotify didn’t do their homework and now the company is looking for an excuse for its other business mistakes.

    If you will excuse me, I must go cancel my spotify subscription. I don’t like giving my money to whiny brats.

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