Skip to main content

Elizabeth Warren calls out Apple business practices, Spotify claims forced update delay

spotify vs. pandora
prykhodov/123rf
Apple is once again the target of political uproar this week, as Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and Swedish streaming service Spotify have both publicly commented on some allegedly unfair business practices from the tech company.

As things heat up this election season — and following a fundraiser by Apple CEO Tim Cook for Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan — Warren claimed that Apple, “has placed conditions on its rivals that make it difficult for them to offer competitive streaming services.”

In agreement with Warren’s claims, Spotify sent a letter to Apple’s top lawyer claiming that the company is blocking a new version of its iOS app from the App Store, saying that Apple is, “causing great harm to Spotify and its customers,” according to Recode.

The alleged refusal to approve an update comes after years of discontent between the two companies.

Spotify has previously voiced concerns over the 30-percent fee charged to iOS-based users who purchase their Spotify subscription via Apple’s App Store, and was eager to join in the senator’s criticism.

“Apple has long used its control of iOS to squash competition in music, driving up the prices of its competitors, inappropriately forbidding us from telling our customers about lower prices, and giving itself unfair advantages across its platform through everything from the lock screen to Siri,” said head of communications and public policy Jonathan Prince to Recode. “You know there’s something wrong when Apple makes more off a Spotify subscription than it does off an Apple Music subscription and doesn’t share any of that with the music industry. They want to have their cake and eat everyone else’s too.”

Apple has long charged a 30-percent fee for the sale of intangible goods in its app store, including game credits, music, books, premium apps and upgrades, so the company isn’t specifically targeting Spotify with added financial burdens.

Still, in a cutthroat industry like music streaming, a 30-percent cut applied to subscription fees is impossible to stomach, and Spotify as a result must charge users who purchase their subscriptions via iOS $13 per month instead of the usual $10 to avoid taking a bigger hit on its already unprofitable business.

Users who wish to avoid that $3 fee can simply sign up via Spotify’s website, but many first-time subscribers don’t know that, and Apple isn’t about to tell them, hence Spotify and Warren’s criticism of the company.

Regardless of the political and competitor responses to its questionable business practices, Apple has not announced any changes to its current App Store fee structure or the way it the manages update approval process.

Updated on 07-01-2016 by Parker Hall: Updated to reflect Spotify’s letter to Apple regarding the lack of approval for an update to its iOS application.

Editors' Recommendations

Parker Hall
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Parker Hall is a writer and musician from Portland, OR. He is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Oberlin…
How to switch from Spotify to Apple Music
Spotify and Apple Music transfer on a smartphone.

Spotify is the world's most popular music streaming service for a reason. It has a massive catalog of music and podcasts, is full of cool music discovery and sharing features, and is really easy to use.
However, with its recent price increase and the fact that it still hasn't joined most of its peers in offering a hi-res audio quality option, you may be considering jumping ship for its closest competitor, Apple Music, which counts lossless hi-res tracks, mind-bending spatial audio, Dolby Atmos Music tracks, and a catalog that rivals Spotify's among the many attractive reasons to switch.

But there's one problem: you’ve spent a lot of time creating playlists and marking songs and albums as your favorites in Spotify. Is it worth the switch? Will all that hard work be lost in translation?

Read more
The best laptops for music production, chosen by experts
best laptops for music production

The world has gone pretty far when it comes to the processing power that we carry around with us, and if you're big into music production, then you're the luckiest of all. Some of the best laptops on the market have high-end CPUs for relatively low prices, which means that if you want to do music production on a laptop, you have a huge number of choices. Of course, that does also mean that it can be hard to navigate and pick the best laptop for your budget and needs, which is why we've done the legwork for you. We've collected our favorite picks below in various categories so that you can pick them with ease. Plus, we've even thrown in a quick guide on what to look for so that if you don't find what you want here, you can check out these other laptop deals for alternatives.
The Best Laptops for Music Production

Best overall laptop for music production:
Best Windows device for music production:
Best portable laptop for music production:
Best large-screen laptop for music production:
Best for 2-in-1 laptop for music production:

Read more
The most common Spotify problems and how to fix them
How to fix common Spotify problems

At any given time, Spotify is probably the most popular music streaming service with countless listeners tuning in to songs, stand-up, podcasts, and even audiobooks. However, between an AI-driven DJ and clients for iOS, Android, and PC, a lot of things can go wrong with the entertainment system. And that's not even including problems with your iPhone or headphones.

To make sure you get to spend as much time as possible listening and as little time as possible sorting through errors, we're providing expert tips and tricks for the most common Spotify problems. Everything from the app simply not working to aspects of Spotify glitching out. Is your Spotify not working? Try these fixes and see if your problem gets better.

Read more