Spotify to Enable In-App Subscriptions on iPhone in Response to European Regulations

Spotify intends to update its iPhone app in Europe, enabling in-app purchases, including subscriptions and audiobooks, challenging Apple’s App Store rules. The move aligns with the upcoming Digital Markets Act, compelling Apple to open its services to competitors. This marks a significant step in navigating the changing regulatory landscape.

Spotify to Enable In-App Subscriptions on iPhone in Response to European Regulations
Image: Bloomberg

Spotify to Offer In-App Purchases and Audiobooks on iPhone in Europe Following New Law

Spotify has announced plans to update its iPhone app in Europe to allow users to purchase subscriptions and audiobooks directly within the app, starting from March 2024. This move comes in response to the new Digital Markets Act (DMA) in Europe, which requires tech giants like Apple to open up their platforms to third-party developers and payment methods.

Apple’s App Store rules previously prohibited companies like Spotify from offering in-app purchases, forcing them to use Apple’s billing system, which takes a commission of up to 30%. The DMA challenges this practice, aiming to promote fairer competition and user choice in the digital market.

Spotify has been a vocal critic of Apple’s App Store policies and actively lobbied for the DMA. This announcement marks a significant victory for the company and sets a precedent for how other app developers might leverage the new regulations.

Here are the key changes Spotify users in Europe can expect:

  • Direct subscription purchases: Users can subscribe to Spotify Premium directly within the app, bypassing Apple’s billing system.
  • Audiobook purchases: Spotify will offer audiobooks for purchase within the app, expanding its content offerings.
  • Promotional campaigns: Spotify can run promotional campaigns and offer better-value payment options directly to users in the app.
  • Downloading additional apps: iPhone users can directly download other Spotify apps, like Spotify for Artists, from the Spotify website.

While this move is unlikely to immediately impact Apple’s App Store revenue significantly, it represents a challenge to its dominant position in the app distribution market. Regulators worldwide are scrutinizing Apple’s App Store policies, and the DMA marks a significant step towards promoting more open and competitive digital ecosystems.

Analysts believe that Apple will remain competitive despite the changes, citing its focus on security, convenience, and seamless integration with its operating system. However, the pressure on Apple’s software distribution margins is likely to continue in the face of regulatory scrutiny and evolving market dynamics.

The changes announced by Spotify are just the beginning of what we can expect to see as companies adapt to the DMA. This new law has the potential to reshape the digital landscape in Europe and beyond, fostering greater competition and innovation in the app development and distribution space.

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