Spotify is preparing to test Apple’s reaction to the new European legislation intended to prevent what is commonly known as “digital gatekeeping” – the practice of large technology companies using their dominant position to engage in anti-competitive behavior.
The popular music-streaming platform has revealed several mockups showcasing how their iPhone and iPad app could potentially appear in response to the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which is set to take effect on March 7. These visual representations include details on pricing, subscription offers, and the use of in-app payments for users in the European Union.
This move from Spotify is in compliance with the DMA, which prohibits “anti-steering” practices that prevent app developers from informing their users about alternative payment or subscription options. The legislation also aims to prevent dominant companies, such as Apple, from forcing developers to use their own payment services.
At this point, Apple has not released any official statement regarding how they plan to respond to the new DMA rules. Therefore, Spotify’s announcement today should be considered theoretical as Apple still has control over the platform and may have tactics up their sleeves to make things difficult for companies hoping to take advantage of the new provisions.
However, Spotify remains optimistic. They have presented a dreamy vision of the future, where users can easily switch between plans, purchase individual audiobooks, and even download Spotify through alternative app stores or sideloading.
“For years, even on our own app, Apple has imposed rules that prohibited us from sharing information about offers, prices, and where or how to buy our services. It’s pretty crazy. The DMA finally gives us the opportunity to share these details, along with promotions and more affordable payment options, with our European users.” – Spotify
If you live in the EU, you can expect a new, improved Spotify experience. One that allows you to view all subscription pricing, promotions, and deals, and make purchases directly within the app. Learn more about what this means for you here: https://t.co/j1hYRC3S5c
We have reached out to Spotify for confirmation on whether these changes will indeed be implemented on March 7 and will update this story accordingly once we receive a response.
In an interview with The Verge, Gustav Gyllenhammar, Spotify’s Vice President of Markets and Subscriber Growth, revealed that if the company is able to implement the changes they envision, it could potentially open up new opportunities in areas such as podcasts.
“The growth of podcasting on iOS has always been hindered by these restrictions. We haven’t been able to upsell users to gated, exclusive, or enhanced content within the app.” – Gustav Gyllenhammar, Spotify
In recent years, Spotify has canceled multiple shows and laid off employees from various teams, including its podcasting division. Unions formed by these employees have accused Spotify’s leadership of directly contributing to the low number of podcasts that were canceled.
This is not the first time that Spotify has been at odds with Apple. In 2016, the music-streaming service stopped offering iOS users the option to purchase subscriptions through the app. And just last year, Spotify discontinued legacy subscriptions managed through the App Store.
During last year’s Epic v Google trial, a Google executive testified that Spotify was not subject to the 30% commission charged by Google if they used their own payment system.
Apple has faced regulatory scrutiny in several regions, including the Netherlands, South Korea, Japan, and most recently, the United States. While they have made some changes, such as allowing in-app promotions for subscriptions and the use of alternative payment processors, they generally offer a 3-4% discount on the App Store fee for digital purchases.
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You’re about to experience a new Spotify if you live in the EU. One where you can see all subscription pricing, promotions or deals, and even make purchases, all seamlessly within the app. Find out what this means for you: https://t.co/j1hYRC3S5c pic.twitter.com/p1GDY6PNdd