Apple attacked Spotify for "making ever-smaller contributions to the artists, musicians and songwriters - even going so far as to take these creators to court." on Thursday in an escalating battle that began over app store fees and practices. In a lengthy and strongly worded statement, Apple pushed back after Spotify filed an anti-trust complaint against Apple with the European Commission.
"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," according to Spotify CEO Daniel Ek, "essentially acting as both a player and referee to deliberately disadvantage other app developers"
Ek cited the 30% app store "tax" which Apple requires that Spotify and other digital services pay on purchases made through Apple’s payment system, including upgrading from our Free to Premium service. "If we pay this tax, it would force us to artificially inflate the price of our Premium membership well above the price of Apple Music," wrote Ek.
Apple sees the relationship very differently:"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."
"Underneath the rhetoric, Spotify’s aim is to make more money off others’ work."
Further painting Spotify as a bad actor, Apple blasted Spotify's treatment of artists and songwriters: "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." Last week, Spotify, Pandora, Google and Amazon - but not Apple - filed an appeal with the Copyright Royalty Board challenging a 44% increase in streaming royalties for songwriters.
"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," wrote Apple as part of a point by point rebuttal of Apple's App Store complaint to the EU.
"We share Spotify’s love of music and their vision of sharing it with the world," wrote Apple. "Where we differ is how you achieve that goal. Underneath the rhetoric, Spotify’s aim is to make more money off others’ work. And it’s not just the App Store that they’re trying to squeeze - it’s also artists, musicians and songwriters."