Apple on Thursday publicly responded to Spotify’s recent complaint with the European Commission over the Cupertino firm’s App Store restrictions. Apple referred to Spotify’s complaint as “misleading rhetoric,” adding that Spotify “wants all the benefits of a free app without being free.”
From 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.
From that point, Apple addresses and rebuts each of Spotify’s accusations listed by the streaming company on its Time to Play Fair website.
Let’s clear this one up right away. We’ve approved and distributed nearly 200 app updates on Spotify’s behalf, resulting in over 300 million downloaded copies of the Spotify app. The only time we have requested adjustments is when Spotify has tried to sidestep the same rules that every other app follows.
Apple also says it has reached out to Spotify numerous times to offer aid on the music streaming service’s work on Siri and AirPlay 2 compatibility. Apple says it approved Spotify’s Apple Watch app with the same process as an app from any other source.
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.
Apple agrees with Spotify that it does take 30% of the revenue for the first year of an annual subscription purchased inside of the iOS app. However, the company notes that Spotify left out the part about the Apple’s cut of the action dropping to 15% in every year after.
Apple signs off by saying while it shares Spotify’s goal of sharing music, “Where we differ is how you achieve that goal. Underneath the rhetoric, Spotify’s aim is to make more money off others’ work.”
Apple also points out Spotify’s recent suing of music creators, following a by the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board requiring increased royalty payments, saying it “isn’t just wrong, it represents a real, meaningful and damaging step backwards for the music industry.”