Spotify Says App Store Changes Don't 'Get to the Core of the Problem'

After Apple announced a handful of new changes heading to the App Store under Phil Schiller's reign -- including a new revenue split for subscriptions and ads in search results -- Spotify recently commented its opinion on the announcements. Speaking with The Verge, Jonathan Prince, Spotify's head of corporate communications and global policy, said simply, "It's a nice gesture, but doesn't get to the core of the problem."

One of Spotify's major hangups centers around the fact that the new rules still prohibit apps from offering "special offers or discounts," because price flexibility is prohibited. The Cupertino company's policy makes sure that it's a constant presence between the customer and developer, "which means developers will continue to lack visibility into why customers churn."

spotify app
"Unless Apple changes its rules, price flexibility is prohibited, which is why we can never provide special offers or discounts, and means we won't have the ability to share any savings with our customers," Prince continued. "Apple still insists on inserting itself between developers and their customers, which means developers will continue to lack visibility into why customers churn — or who even qualifies as a long-term subscriber."
Prince also said that the rules make it hard to even determine which customers could be considered as a long-term subscriber - an important factor to take into account now that Apple will take only a 15 percent cut if a user stays subscribed to a service for more than a year. Apple currently takes 30 percent of a subscription fee when users sign up to a service on the App Store.

Spotify's concerns follow an uptick in subscriber activity in the year since Apple's rival subscription music service, Apple Music, launched to the public. While the latter platform is on track to gain 15 million subscribers for its one-year anniversary in late June, Spotify has grown from 20 million paid users last June, to 30 million in May of 2016. The company noted that since Apple Music launched it has "been growing quicker and adding more users than before."



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39 months ago
Start paying your artists and then complain about Apple's policies.
Rating: 15 Votes
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39 months ago

I'm surprised that Apple music has had a positjve effect on Spotify, I was sureit was going to slow it down that's surprising from Spotify.

It appears to be a win win for Apple as they are getting a proportion of the the subsxription fee which seems strange to me, i'm assuming this is for people who sign up via App store.

I don't know the reasons why the majority of Spotify Premium users either stayed with or moved to Spotify over Apple Music, but for me it was primarily the user interface for why I stayed with Spotify. I didn't care for the mostly white appearance and the dancing bubbles for indicating which type of music I preferred. I also like Spotify's mood and genre selections a lot and much prefer the dark theme too.
Rating: 4 Votes
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39 months ago
I am sorry Spotify, but I like that Apple is a "constant presence between the customer and developer." Otherwise this would be just like google where my profile and usage data is sold to vendors that will use it in ways I do not like. Privacy of my data is one reason I stick with Apple over other vendors. Work with Apple to figure out how to do things and maybe they will work with you. But the position of "give me all the data so I can figure out who is who and what the do" is not going to fly with Apple. And I am glad about that.
Rating: 4 Votes
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39 months ago
The core of the problem is that Spotify ultimately doesn't control its own platform. The biggest music streaming service in the world is ultimately just another app on my smartphone, and still had to play by another company's rules. I fail to see how this is Apple's fault, or what obligation Apple has to "play fair".
Rating: 4 Votes
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39 months ago

I don't know the reasons why the majority of Spotify Premium users either stayed with or moved to Spotify over Apple Music, but for me it was primarily the user interface for why I stayed with Spotify. I didn't care for the mostly white appearance and the dancing bubbles for indicating which type of music I preferred. I also like Spotify's mood and genre selections a lot and much prefer the dark theme too.


I feel the same way, and I bet a lot of other people do also. The Spotify interface is much simpler, and allows you get things done faster. Apple Music had too much going on, like it was trying to be iTunes on a much smaller screen. The whole social network/follow the artist thing was unneeded. I also like Spotify playlists much better as well.
Rating: 3 Votes
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39 months ago
Nice to finally get some insight as to the hangup on Spotify coming to the Apple TV. That's a big gripe of mine and only part of a reason why I recently bought a Roku 4 and displaced my Apple TV 4.

This is not unlike the issue with Amazon Prime on TVOS; a policy issue at Apple.
Rating: 3 Votes
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39 months ago

Start paying your artists and then complain about Apple's policies.


Spotify practically operate at a loss - and let's not forget that Apple, one of the most profitable companies in the world, pay near-identical to Spotify's rates. So what does that say? I'm not sure what the cut-off point is of being unreasonable.

I am grateful for streaming services. Way back when, if I was to discover an album, I'd have to either buy it or pirate it. Not many people are willing to give away their hard-earned to blindly buy albums without having the opportunity to sample them - especially if you don't have much disposable income.

I was always of the mentality that if I listened to an album and really enjoyed it, I'd buy the album. It used to be that after a few spins from downloading it, I'd go out and buy it because I loved it that much. Now, I can legally listen to the album beforehand with some reassurance that the artist is at least getting some compensation for this - or at the very least, feedback of how many people are listening to it, and how often - and then I'll go out and buy the album if it's really special.

Streaming isn't perfect, but you haven't really given an alternative solution. A bit of a paradox, Paradoxally? ;)
Rating: 3 Votes
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39 months ago

Hi there Japanime (pretty clever username by the way!),

Please don't feel I'm calling you out on what you're saying. I wasn't aware of what you've just mentioned. I've tried to have a look online but can't find any citations to indicate this. I was wondering if you could possibly direct me to an article about this?

No worries — I'm happy to cite a few sources. The issue has been covered by many major media outlets.

Much of this came to light when David Lowery, frontman of Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, brought a $120 million class-action lawsuit against Spotify late last year. Here's a Billboard story about it:
http://www.billboard.com/articles/business/7326261/david-lowery-artist-advocate-explains-150-million-class-action-spotify

The LA Times reported on another musician's bid for a class-action suit against Spotify:
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/cotown/la-et-ct-spotify-songwriter-lawsuits-20160108-story.html

Bloomberg also covered the Lowery suit:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-07/spotify-isn-t-laughing-off-this-lawsuit

Here's a brief story on Spotify's response to Lowery's suit:
http://www.completemusicupdate.com/article/spotify-responds-to-david-lowerys-mechanicals-lawsuit/

Scribd has the court filings here:
https://www.scribd.com/doc/294240430/David-Lowery-Lawsuit-vs-Spotify
Rating: 2 Votes
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39 months ago
I tried all the major streaming services last summer (Apple Music, Spotify, Rdio (R.I.P)). The main reason for me sticking with apple music was the integration with my current library with thousands of songs. Spotify was a very close second place contender in my mind. The problem with ALL streaming services is that they are literally trying to do EVERYTHING. Discovery, on demand, sharing, recommendations, whats new, search. Jamming that all onto one screen isn't very easy to do and make intuitive.....and no Spotify isn't that great at it either. Better than Apple but not by much. In both apps its very easy to drill down and start getting lost. For example , Spotify FINALLY figured out that having a nav bar at the bottom properly give a sense of place. Before the latest update you have to swipe from the side to figure out "WHERE AM I????".

We will find out next week at WWDC what Apple Music has in store. I feel its gonna be huge and will catapult it. The design sounds to be much simpler, darker theme, easier to use. If they clean it up, it'll crush Spotify within a couple years since Spotify is currently operating at a loss and Apple has cash to burn for years to come.
Rating: 2 Votes
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39 months ago

Wow, nice to see such a strongly worded disagreement :)

As I said in my original post, developers should work with apple to get better insight. I am all for that. I also think that developers should have the ability to respond to reviews like they do on Amazon. I am not for developers knowing my name, my email, my birthdate, or any other PII. If they want that, they can force the user to log into their app and then the user can decide if they want to provide an email to log in. Read the privacy info for facebook and google. Unless you explicitly opt out, they do share your email and other PII with other vendors (facebook by far is the worst). I prefer an opt in policy, such that no developer gets my PII unless I give permission. I understand that it makes it more difficult (but not impossible) for developers to gain insight for their app, but given the world today, I think that it is appropriate. And in any case, since this is true for all apps in the appstore, it is a level playing field. It is tough for everyone and developers can and should work to find alternatives approaches. So you know, I work in business intelligence so this is an area that I am particularly well informed on. I know how to track you through so many other ways.

My wife says I've been far too nice lately. So now she wants us to go on couples dates with her friends. I gotta change that attitude post haste. You're the first victim. :( Anywho, I wasn't aware the devs were asking for all the information you listed. Without that confirmation, it's kind of unfair to assume that's what they're asking for and base an objection on that assumption. You already know I've read those privacy policies. All of them (including Apple) explicitly tell you they share some information with vendors. It's irrelevant though. You didn't claim any sharing. You said sell data. Distinct difference and in no way are those terms synonymous.

You say you prefer and opt in policy, but which company offers that? They all seem to offer opt out of tracking, meaning it's on by default. They do it because they know the vast majority will never opt out, or even care.

Topic: I don't think the dev community is looking for carte blanche. Sounds more like their asking for the ability to access more of their customer data with app permissions allowing the customer to give info as a choice. I could be wrong about that though. Don't have enough info for a definitive answer. I am not wrong about a lack of desire to go out with my wife's friends. That's fact.
Rating: 2 Votes
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