Spotify Shares Its Vision for In-App Purchases Ahead of EU Regulation

Spotify has shared its vision for bringing in-app payments back to its iOS app, once Apple is forced to comply with Europe’s looming digital market regulations.

The streaming service shared mockups of what it expects its app to look like, including information about pricing, subscription offers and in-app audiobook purchases. Spotify has not allowed customers to sign up for a Spotify Premium subscription or make other in-app payments in order to avoid paying Apple’s fees, but that is likely to change soon, in the EU at least.

The European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), which went into effect on November 1, 2022, requires “gatekeeper” companies to open up their services and platforms to other companies and developers. The DMA will have a big impact on Apple’s platforms, and is likely to result in Apple making major changes to the ‌App Store‌, Messages, FaceTime, Siri, and possibly more.

For example, the law will prevent the ‌App Store‌ from charging a fee for apps to promote their own products and services, or force apps to use a specific payments mechanism. The act is due to roll out on March 7.

Writing in a newsroom blog post, Spotify laid out its ideal scenario ahead of the act:

For years, even in our own app, Apple had these rules where we couldn’t tell you about offers, how much something costs, or even where or how to buy it. We know, pretty nuts. The DMA means that we’ll finally be able to share details about deals, promotions, and better-value payment options in the EU. And an easier experience for you means good things for artists, authors, and creators looking to build their audiences of listeners, concert-goers, and audiobook-loving fans. What’s more? All of this can now come without the burden of a mandatory ~30% tax imposed by Apple, which is prohibited under the DMA. 

We’ll soon be able to give you information in the Spotify app about prices for things like Premium subscriptions and audiobooks. And we will be able to communicate clearly with you in the Spotify app about new products for sale, promotional campaigns, superfan clubs, and upcoming events, including when items like audiobooks are going on sale.

Soon we expect that if you want to buy a Premium subscription or an audiobook, or are looking to seamlessly upgrade from Individual to a Duo or Family plan to save money, you will be able to do so with just a couple of easy clicks.MacRumors found code strings in a recent Spotify beta indicating that the company was testing bringing back in-app purchases. However, a lot of what Spotify envisions remains theoretical, given that Apple may have evasive strategies to comply more loosely with the requirements, like how it responded to the anti-steering rule handed down by a U.S. court in the Apple vs. Epic Games legal battle.

You’re about to experience a new Spotify if you live in the EU. One where you can see all subscription pricing, promotions or deals, and even make purchases, all seamlessly within the app. Find out what this means for you:

— Spotify News (@SpotifyNews) January 24, 2024

Over the years, Apple and Spotify have had a long running dispute over Apple’s ‌‌App Store‌‌ policies, with multiple public conflicts over app and subscription fees and app rejections due to Spotify’s attempts to skirt the up to 30 percent cut that Apple takes from purchases.

Apple offers no alternative billing from the ‌‌App Store‌‌. There are two exceptions, however, including South Korea and the Netherlands. Regulators in these countries have forced Apple to allow some apps to use third-party payment providers.

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