Spotify Flips The Finger At Apple By Killing App Store Payments

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Spotify has let its users who are currently subscribed to its Premium service through Apple's in-app purchase system know that it will no longer be supporting it as a payment method. The extremely popular music and podcast app has not allowed users to start subscribing via Apple's method since 2016.

Some long-time Spotify users may have noticed an email from the company recently that was notifying them of the upcoming change to how they will be paying for its Premium service. The email began, "We're contacting you because when you joined Spotify Premium you used Apple's billing service to subscribe. Unfortunately, we no longer accept that billing method as a form of payment."

Spotify has been very vocal about its stance when it comes to how Apple treats developers and consumers. In a joint letter sent to the European Commission on January 17, 2023, the company laid out its argument against the Cupertino-based company. The main issue that Spotify has with Apple, echoing many other app developers on the Apple App Store, is that Apple ties "the App Store to Apple's proprietary payment system, with its excessive commissions for app developers." It adds that Apple also restricts developer's access to data from their own users and has "capricious changes" to terms and conditions.

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Portion of Spotify's letter to European Commission on 1/17/2023

So, what are the users who are affected supposed to do after their current billing cycle runs out? The email states that once the user reaches the final billing period, their account will "automatically switch" to Spotify's Free ad-supported service. Those who wish to continue using the Premium subscription will need to re-subscribe after their last billing period has ended and the account has moved to the Free version. At that point, users will be given the option to pay for the service via a credit card or PayPal.

A Spotify spokesperson told Variety, "These actions will help ensure that we can continue to provide a consistent best-in-class subscription experience for all users."

When all is said and done, this change will only affect a very small group of Spotify users. But to put the music app's position in perspective, in a 2019 regulatory filing, Apple stated it collected a 15% fee on subscription payments for just 680,000 of Spotify's more than 100 million Premium subscribers. However, if Spotify had not removed the option to pay through the Apple Pay system in 2016, that number would probably have been much higher.