Spotify Ends Apple App Store Payments, Shifts Some Subscribers to Free Tier

Spotify has decided to discontinue accepting payments made through Apple's App Store for its Premium service. This change affects only a small group of subscribers

Spotify has decided to discontinue accepting payments made through Apple’s App Store for its Premium service. This change affects only a small group of subscribers. Since 2016, Spotify has not allowed users to subscribe through Apple’s in-app purchase system. However, users who had previously subscribed this way were allowed to continue using it until now.

In an email sent to affected subscribers, Spotify explains that it will no longer accept Apple’s billing service as a payment method. At the end of the current billing cycle, these users will be automatically switched to Spotify’s Free tier, which includes ads. To maintain a Premium subscription, users will need to resubscribe after their last billing period ends and their account transitions to the Free tier.

This change may actually benefit users. Apple charges a 30 percent fee on in-app purchases, resulting in Spotify users who subscribed through Apple paying an extra $3 per month compared to those who subscribed directly through Spotify. Although Apple reduced its commission rate to 15 percent for subscriptions after the first year, it still imposed additional costs. Apple’s regulatory filing in 2019 stated that around 680,000 Spotify customers paid the 15 percent fee. Users who previously used Apple’s payment method can now subscribe to Spotify Premium using a credit card or PayPal.

Both Apple and Google apply a “tax” on their app stores, regardless of whether users are purchasing apps or subscribing through in-app purchases. Google introduced User Choice Billing (UCB), a program that allows third-party billing systems on Android, with Spotify being one of the first to adopt it. UCB was rolled out to Spotify users in late 2022. However, it remains unclear how many users have transitioned to UCB compared to using Google’s standard in-app purchase system. While rumors circulate about Apple potentially allowing third-party app stores on iOS, there are no official plans in place for such changes or accepting third-party billing.

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