Apple goes for the jugular in a searing response to Spotify’s antitrust complaint

Apple CEO Tim Cook.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook.
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Getty

  • Apple tore into Spotify in response to the music streaming service’s EU antitrust complaint.
  • Apple said Spotify wants to keep all the benefits of a free app on the App Store, without being free.
  • The iPhone maker said Spotify “wraps its financial motivations in misleading rhetoric” and its treatment of artists is a “damaging step backwards for the music industry.”
  • Spotify did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

Apple has torn into Spotify in a response to the music streaming service’s EU antitrust complaint.

In a long statement published on its website, Apple laid out why it thinks Spotify wants to keep all the benefits of a free app on the App Store, without being free.

“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,” Apple said.

It comes after Spotify announced on Wednesday that it had filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with Europe’s competition watchdog, arguing that the way it runs the App Store is anti-competitive.

CEO Daniel Ek complained in an open letter about the fact app makers have to hand over 30% of paid apps, in-app subscriptions, and purchases to Apple.

Read more: Here’s why Spotify is declaring war on Apple and not Google

Apple said it felt obligated to reply 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.”

On Spotify’s central complaint about the 30% tax on in-app purchases, Apple said the streaming service “left out” the fact that this levy declines to 15% after the first year. It added that only a “tiny fraction of their subscriptions fall under Apple’s revenue-sharing model.”

“Spotify wouldn’t be the business they 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,” Apple said. “We think that’s wrong.”

Apple lashes out at Spotify’s treatment of musicians

Apple also went one step further, attacking how Spotify treats the musicians on its platform, claiming the company makes “ever-smaller” contributions to artists.

“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,” Apple said.

“Just this week, Spotify sued music creators after a decision by the US Copyright Royalty Board required Spotify to increase its royalty payments. This isn’t just wrong, it represents a real, meaningful and damaging step backwards for the music industry.”

Spotify did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

Read Apple’s full statement here