Apple: Spotify only paying for 680K members

Marco Green
June 25, 2019

Apple has issued a stinging rebuttal to Spotify over claims that a 30pc fee on its smartphone store constitutes an unfair "app tax" that stifles competition.

In its response, Apple said that Spotify doesn't now pay the highest fee of 30% on any of its members and that it's paying a lower rate (15%) for only about 680,000 Spotify premium-tier members. Apple's response was meant to underline how little Spotify pays in fees and emphasize that Spotify continues to grow under the current App Store policies. That notwithstanding, Spotify has passionately argued that Apple's rules regarding the App Store run afoul of antitrust law. Earlier today, Apple's response to Spotify's European Union complaint was made public by the German publication Der Spiegel.

Apple's response, filed May 31 with the European Commission, was reported Monday by Der Spiegel newspaper, which obtained a copy of the document.

For what it's worth, Spotify stopped taking sign-ups via the app in 2016, which is to say that Spotify now pays a 15% cut to Apple for users who previously signed up for the service via the app.

However, according to Apple's response to Spotify's complaint, revealed today, Spotify doesn't actually pay Apple a 30% "tax" on anything. Apple in 2015 launched Apple Music, a subscription service that competes with Spotify.

In addition, MBW understands that Spotify pays significantly less than the standard 15% charge for those customers due to label discounts, with one source even suggesting that "they just want to pay nothing".

Spotify has alleged that Apple has taken several punitive steps against the music-streaming company to retaliate for Spotify pulling out of the App Store's in-app purchase system.

Updated at 2:52 p.m. PT: With more details and context.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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