You might already have heard about it: Spotify launched a campaign against Apple Music with 3 major facts summed up that state that Apple Music is not playing by the rules and is mistreating Spotify. Spotify launched a website called It’s Time to Play Fair to show the world what’s happening in the music streaming world.
What are Spotify’s arguments?
Spotify wouldn’t launch such a big and direct campaign without major arguments, so they made a list of facts:
1. The 30% ‘’Apple tax’’ and no discount deals.
The first fact is a big hit. Spotify states that they must give Apple a 30% of every subscription fee that comes through IOS devices. Spotify also has its 99c for three months of Spotify Premium campaign, which Apple completely blocks.
''Apple requires that certain apps pay a 30% fee for use of their in-app purchase system (IAP) – as is their prerogative. However, the reality is that the rules are not applied evenly across the board. Does Uber pay it? No. Deliveroo? No. Does Apple Music pay it? No. So Apple gives the advantage to its own services.''
2. There is no easy way for users to upgrade their Spotify account to Premium.
If you want to upgrade your Free Spotify account to a Premium account, you have to go through multiple steps and Spotify states that Apple makes this process extra hard.
''If users want to upgrade from our Free service to Premium, great, we’d love to have them! But Apple bars us from offering that option in our app, instead, forcing users to take multiple steps of going to a browser or desktop. Some of our users don’t even have a desktop. And to top it off, we can’t even tell them that or point them in the right direction. You have to figure it out all on your own.''
3. Apple rejects any compatibilities with its software and home improvements.
If you have an iPhone, you can try this yourself: ‘’Hey Siri, play Martin Garrix on Spotify’’. Siri will tell you that this action is not possible and redirects you to their music app (to Apple Music, of course). Spotify states that this is not fair. Apple also suppresses any technical improvements to the Spotify app in IOS.
''We are all about ubiquity (being there for you wherever and whenever you want). And Spotify is lucky to be available for fans around the world on nearly every other speaker – except for Apple’s. Apple won’t allow us to be on HomePod and they definitely won’t let us connect with Siri to play your jams. And don’t forget about the Apple Watch. We were ready to be on devices months before Apple would even give us a shot – limiting your experience and choice. Of course, you can play Apple Music though.''
How is Apple responding to this?
When you know nothing about the clash in the music streaming world, you might think Spotify is completely right and Apple is the culprit, but are they really?
Apple answered to the Spotify verdict in a press release that argues the complaints of Spotify. Apple built its App Store eleven years ago with a true passion for creativity, innovation and it helped create millions of jobs.
With this press release, Apple showed that their platform differs from what Spotify is claiming it to be, showing that it makes sense that Spotify has to share their fee to Apple because they’re getting a lot for it in return:
''Let’s be clear about what that means. Apple connects Spotify to our users. We provide the platform by which users download and update their app. We share critical software development tools to support Spotify’s app building. And we built a secure payment system — no small undertaking — which allows users to have faith in in-app transactions. Spotify is asking to keep all those benefits while also retaining 100 percent of the revenue.''
Also, the problem that Spotify has with Apple about software compatibilities, is completely their fault. Apple even claims to help Spotify with connectivity and software updates.
We’ve worked with Spotify frequently to help them bring their service to more devices and platforms:
- When we reached out to Spotify about Siri and AirPlay 2 support on several occasions, they’ve told us they’re working on it, and we stand ready to help them where we can.
- Spotify is deeply integrated into platforms like CarPlay, and they have access to the same app development tools and resources that any other developer has.
- We found Spotify’s claims about Apple Watch especially surprising. When Spotify submitted their Apple Watch app in September 2018, we reviewed and approved it with the same process and speed with which we would any other app. In fact, the Spotify Watch app is currently the No. 1 app in the Watch Music category.
The biggest line for me personally was: ‘’Spotify wants all the benefits of a free app without being free’’. Which I think is a perfect conclusion of this story for Apple. Both parties have a valid point and I don’t think there is a winner or loser in this case.
What does this mean for artists?
Music platforms like Spotify and Apple Music are really important for musicians. Even if it doesn’t pay well for most of them, it still contributes a lot to their career. Without those platforms, musicians wouldn’t be able to share their music freely around the world with everyone. The royalties from the streams of their songs are almost nil, but with millions of streams, this number can grow large. Spotify wants to lower the royalties, because they claim musicians get more benefits than ever before from their platform, with their biggest argument that musicians and their music can be easily discovered. Fair or not, that’s up to you to decide.