STOCKHOLM (CelebrityAccess) – Spotify has today (March 13) revealed that it is filing an anti-trust complaint with the European Commission against Apple, regarding the company’s controversial 30% ‘app tax’.
In a blog post published to the streaming giant’s website, Spotify co-founder and CEO Daniel Ek argues:
“In recent years, Apple has introduced rules to the App Store that purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience – essentially acting as both a player and referee to deliberately disadvantage other app developers. After trying unsuccessfully to resolve the issues directly with Apple, we’re now requesting that the EC take action to ensure fair competition.”
He adds: “Apple requires that Spotify and other digital services pay a 30% tax on purchases made through Apple’s payment system, including upgrading from our Free to our Premium service. If we pay this tax, it would force us to artificially inflate the price of our Premium membership well above the price of Apple Music. And to keep our price competitive for our customers, that isn’t something we can do.
“As an alternative, if we choose not to use Apple’s payment system, forgoing the charge, Apple then applies a series of technical and experience-limiting restrictions on Spotify.
“For example, they limit our communication with our customers – including our outreach beyond the app. In some cases, we aren’t even allowed to send emails to our customers who use Apple. Apple also routinely blocks our experience-enhancing upgrades. Over time, this has included locking Spotify and other competitors out of Apple services such as Siri, HomePod, and Apple Watch.”
Ek goes on to say that Spotify is not “seeking special treatment,” but merely wants “the same treatment as numerous other apps on the App Store, like Uber or Deliveroo, who aren’t subject to the Apple tax and therefore don’t have the same restrictions.”
Ek also lays out three requests that Spotify is asking of Apple including that all apps compete fairly with the same set of rules and restrictions, that consumers be allowed to choose which payment systems they use, and that all app stores be restricted from controlling communications between an app and its customers.
This is not the first time this issue has arisen over Apple’s App Store. Spotify has been pushing back against the ‘app tax’ for the past few years now, while both Spotify and Netflix have been directing their users to sign up in ways other than through Apple’s App Store to avoid the aforementioned fees since 2018.
Spotify has launched a consumer-facing lobbying site, TimeToPlayFair.com, to assist with its complaint.
You can read Spotify CEO Daniel Ek’s blog post in full HERE.