Spotify lodges EU complaint against Apple over unfair music competition

STOCKHOLM (AFP) – Swedish music streaming giant Spotify said yesterday it had filed a complaint with the European Union (EU) Commission against Apple, accusing its United States (US) rival of stifling competition in the online music market.

“In recent years, Apple has introduced rules to the App Store that purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience – essentially acting as both a player and referee to deliberately disadvantage other app developers,” Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek said in a statement.

Ek said Spotify had tried unsuccessfully to resolve the issues directly with Apple, and was now asking the Commission to “take action to ensure fair competition”. Spotify, launched in Sweden just over a decade ago, claims 207 million users in the world, of whom 96 million are paying subscribers.

Ek said Apple’s platform was “the gateway to the Internet” for over a billion people, and a competitor to services like Spotify.

“In theory, this is fine. But in Apple’s case, they continue to give themselves an unfair advantage at every turn,” he said.

Apple requires Spotify and other digital services to pay a 30 per cent tax on purchases made through Apple’s systems, Ek said, which Spotify declined to do to avoid inflating the price of its premium membership to well above that of Apple Music.