Apple today responded to Spotify’s recent complaint with the European Commission over its App Store practices in a press release, referring to it as “misleading rhetoric.” Apple adds that Spotify “seeks to keep all of the benefits of the App Store ecosystem” but “without making any contributions to the marketplace.”
The intro of Apple’s press release:
We believe that technology achieves its true potential when we infuse it with human creativity and ingenuity. From our earliest days, we’ve built our devices, software and services to help artists, musicians, creators and visionaries do what they do best.
Sixteen years ago, we launched the iTunes Store with the idea that there should be a trusted place where users discover and purchase great music and every creator is treated fairly. The result revolutionized the music industry, and our love of music and the people who make it are deeply engrained in Apple.
Eleven years ago, the App Store brought that same passion for creativity to mobile apps. In the decade since, the App Store has helped create many millions of jobs, generated more than $120 billion for developers and created new industries through businesses started and grown entirely in the App Store ecosystem.
At its core, the App Store is a safe, secure platform where users can have faith in the apps they discover and the transactions they make. And developers, from first-time engineers to larger companies, can rest assured that everyone is playing by the same set of rules.
That’s how it should be. We want more app businesses to thrive — including the ones that compete with some aspect of our business, because they drive us to be better.
What Spotify is demanding is something very different. After using the App Store for years to dramatically grow their business, Spotify seeks to keep all the benefits of the App Store ecosystem — including the substantial revenue that they draw from the App Store’s customers — without making any contributions to that marketplace. At the same time, they distribute the music you love while making ever-smaller contributions to the artists, musicians and songwriters who create it — even going so far as to take these creators to court.
Spotify has every right to determine their own business model, but we feel an obligation to respond when Spotify wraps its financial motivations in misleading rhetoric about who we are, what we’ve built and what we do to support independent developers, musicians, songwriters and creators of all stripes.
Apple goes on to rebut each of Spotify’s accusations listed on its Time to Play Fair website on a point-by-point basis.
Apple says the only time it has rejected Spotify app updates is when Spotify has tried to sidestep the App Store rules. Apple also says it has reached out to Spotify about Siri and AirPlay 2 support on several occasions and approved the Spotify app on Apple Watch with the same process and speed as any other app.
Apple adds that “Spotify wants all the benefits of a free app without being free,” noting that the “majority of customers use their free, ad-supported product, which makes no contribution to the App Store.”
Spotify wouldn’t be the business they are today without the App Store ecosystem, but now they’re leveraging their scale to avoid contributing to maintaining that ecosystem for the next generation of app entrepreneurs. We think that’s wrong.
Apple says the only requirement for developers is that any digital goods and services be purchased inside the app using Apple’s in-app purchase system. Apple takes a 30 percent cut of revenue for the first year of an annual subscription, but says Spotify left out that it drops to 15 percent in the years after.
Apple concludes by saying it shares Spotify’s goal of sharing music but has a different view of how to achieve that goal. Apple takes aim at Spotify “suing music creators” after a decision by the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board requiring increased royalty payments, calling it “just wrong,” although Spotify already disputed that allegation.