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Spotify accuses Apple and Google of abusing their power in a letter to the EU

Spotify says that major online platforms' favor their apps over third-party music streaming services.

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The two biggest companies in the mobile platform, Apple and Google are currently facing heat collectively in Europe. This matter concerns with music streaming app Spotify which along with other related companies have written a letter to the European Commission (EU) accusing Apple and Google of blocking their progress. The letter does not specifically mention Apple and Google, but highlights how online platforms, mobile operating systems, app stores, search engines “can and do abuse their privileged position”. Apple and Google together occupy over 90 percent of the mobile market in the European region.

The letter, published by Business Insider, has signees including CEO and co-founders of Spotify, CEO and founder of Deezer, a music streaming platform, CEOs and founders from FaberNovel, Rocket Internet, Snips, United Internet, Qobuz and LeKiosk. The letter was written prior to the mid-review of the Digital Single Market in the EU scheduled to take place today. In the letter, the internet firms urge that the mid-review provide a legislative framework so that competing platforms can “pursue a pro-growth, pro-consumer, balanced but targeted” B2B practices.

These companies go on to highlight how these major online platforms with their “growing scale and reach” for a “winner takes all” tendency needs to be addressed by policy makers. Elaborating on how these online platforms abuse their position, the letter points out practices like “restricting access to data or interaction with consumers, biased ranking and search results to lack of clarity, imbalanced terms and conditions and preference of their own vertically integrated services”.

Moving on, the letter also mentions that there have been instances in the past where these major online platforms have abused their power for their own interest. Continuing with their grievances, these companies request that the Digital Single Market ultimately introduce policies for “non-discrimination, transparency, consumer choice and interoperability”.

The past incidents vaguely mentioned in the letter could be alluding to the beef between Apple’s App Store and Spotify Music. Apple was accused of rejecting a new version of Spotify’s app for the App Store. Recode reports that Spotify has been actively arguing about Apple’s subscription policies work against third-party music streaming platforms on the App Store and instead focuses on promoting Apple Music. ALSO READ: Apple Music app for Android completely overhauled with new UI and lyrics support

Apple Music which launched in June 2015, has been seeing an impressive growth in terms of subscribers. The music streaming app recorded a total of 20 million subscribers in December 2016, with a gain of 3 million in just three months. Apple Music’s availability in over 100 countries worldwide adds to its increasing growth in comparison to Spotify which is available in select markets globally. However Spotify Music has a total of 50 million active subscribers as of March 2017. ALSO READ: Apple Music now has 20 million subscribers, adds 3 million in last three months

Apple Music and Spotify Music are arguably the top music streaming apps, with all major artists releasing their albums exclusively on these platforms. Both Apple and Spotify have not yet responded to the claims made via the aforementioned letter. ALSO READ: Google Play Music vs Apple Music: Comparison of your favorite music streaming services

  • Published Date: May 10, 2017 2:10 PM IST