The Cupertino, California tech giant responded to Spotify's Wednesday assertion that it uses its power over the App Store to unfairly limit rivals to Apple Music, its music streaming service, with a statement of its own on Thursday.
Apple said that 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".
Revenue generated by premium users who paid for the ad-free tier of Spotify through the app store, according to Ek, was subsidizing Apple with 30 per cent of that fee. Apple countered that the revenue sharing at that level only applies during the first year of an annual subscription - Spotify, it said, "left out that it drops to 15 percent in the years after".
Customers walk past an Apple logo inside of an Apple store at Grand Central Station in NY, U.S., August 1, 2018. "Even now, only a tiny fraction of their subscriptions fall under Apple's revenue-sharing model". The company also points out that Spotify's Watch app is now the number one app in the Watch Music category.
Ek also asserted that Apple blocked its "experience-enhancing upgrades", partially in reference to a 2016 incident. It said that 84% of apps in the store pay nothing to Apple when they were downloaded or used. Spotify and Apple have previously clashed over the latter's failure to approve an app update to the former. Apple says it reached out to Spotify about Siri and AirPlay 2 support "on several occasions", to which Spotify replied it's "working on it". It added that Spotify is "deeply integrated" into Carplay, and that its developers can access the same tools as anyone else. However, it's worth pointing out that the kit does not support third-party audio app integration which explains why you can't tell Siri to play your music on Spotify.
Spotify was not immediately available to comment on Apple's response.
Apple comes out swinging against Spotify complaint
First published at 3:11 a.m. PT. Updated at 4:43 a.m. PT: Adds more details.
Apple finally hammers home its message by arguing that Spotify would not be where it is today without the App Store.
Spotify sued music creators after a decision by the US Copyright Royalty Board required Spotify to increase its royalty payments.
"We think that's wrong", it said.
"Spotify wouldn't be the business they [sic] 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". This isn't just wrong, it represents a real, meaningful and damaging step backwards for the music industry. Underneath the rhetoric, Spotify's aim is to make more money off others' work.
In the post, Apple also pointed out that Spotify is stingy when it comes to paying artists, even taking them to court over royalties.