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Swedish Music Streaming Giant Spotify Files Complaint Against Apple’s App Store Rules

According to Spotify, if it pays this tax, it would force it to artificially inflate the price of its premium membership well above the price of Apple Music

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Spotify Music still leads outside of the US, tallying 75 million subscribers as part of its first earnings report in May.
Spotify Music still leads outside of the US, tallying 75 million subscribers as part of its first earnings report in May. Pixabay

Swedish music streaming giant Spotify said it has filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with the European Union (EU) alleging that the tech giant is harming consumer choice and stifling innovation via the rules it enforces on its iOS App Store.

“It’s why, after careful consideration, Spotify has filed a complaint against Apple with the European Commission (EC), the regulatory body responsible for keeping competition fair and non-discriminatory.

“In recent years, Apple has introduced rules to the App Store that purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience — essentially acting as both a player and referee to deliberately disadvantage other app developers,” Daniel Ek, CEO of Spotify, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday.

Cupertino-based Apple requires that Spotify and other digital services pay a 30 per cent tax on purchases made through Apple’s payment system, including upgrading from a free to premium subscription.

Apple, Campus, China
A customer is entering the Apple store in Fairfax, Virginia. VOA

According to Spotify, if it pays this tax, it would force it to artificially inflate the price of its premium membership well above the price of Apple Music.

“And to keep our price competitive for our customers, that isn’t something we can do,” added Ek.

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The music streaming services giant has also started a press campaign, including a website dedicated to the iPhone maker’s unfair behaviour and a YouTube video explaining the company’s grievances.

Earlier this week, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, who recently launched her 2020 presidential bid, said she was in favour of passing laws that prevent large e-commerce platforms with global annual revenue of $25 billion or more, from owning both the platform and any sellers on it. (IANS)

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Global Online Music Streaming Platforms Witness 32% Increase in Subscriptions, Spotify Tops With 31% Share

The online music streaming subscription is expected to grow more than 25 per cent (YoY) to exceed 450 million subscriptions by the end of 2020

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Spotify
Spotify topped with 31 per cent share of the total revenue and a 35 per cent share of the total paid subscriptions. Wikimedia Commons

Global online music streaming subscriptions witnessed 32 per cent jump year-on-year (YoY), reaching 358 million subscriptions in 2019, according to a new report.

Spotify topped with 31 per cent share of the total revenue and a 35 per cent share of the total paid subscriptions. Apple Music followed with 24 per cent share of total revenues in the industry and 19 per cent share of the total paid subscriptions, according to the report from Counterpoint Research.

At third place, Amazon Music subscriptions reached 15 per cent share in 2019, compared to 10 per cent in 2018. “Paid subscriptions grew 32 per cent YoY compared to 23 per cent YoY growth of total monthly active users (MAUs). This suggests people are ready to pay for music streaming for a hassle-free experience,” Research Analyst Abhilash Kumar said in a statement.

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However, this is not completely user-driven. “Music streaming platforms are following a two-step approach to gain subscribers, first registering them to their platform as free users by means of excellent advertising campaigns and secondly pitching them with attractive offers to transfer them to become paying subscribers,” Kumar elaborated.

Due to Apple’s high focus on its services segment which includes Apple Music, its subscription base grew 36 per cent YoY in 2019. Despite global players strongly pushing their music streaming platforms, regional players stand strong in their respective regions, said the report. Gaana continues to be the top player in the Indian market while Yandex Music is leading in Russia.

Similarly, Anghami leads the Arab world and Tencent Music Group leads the China market with the help of its apps QQ Music, Kugou and Kuwo.

Amazon
At third place, Amazon Music subscriptions reached 15 per cent share in 2019, compared to 10 per cent in 2018. Wikimedia Commons

On the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the OTT industry, Kumar said: “During this outbreak, audio OTT consumption has switched from music streaming to the radio. People in highly-affected areas are worried about the outbreak and are therefore continuously tuned to news on TV/radio for updates”.

The online music streaming subscription is expected to grow more than 25 per cent (YoY) to exceed 450 million subscriptions by the end of 2020. Meanwhile, more than 80 per cent of music streaming revenue came from paid subscriptions.

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The rest came from advertisements and partnerships with brands and telcos. Therefore, increasing paid subscriptions is of prime importance for music streaming platforms, said the report. (IANS)

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Spotify Unveils “Spotify Kids” For Users in USA, Canada, France

Spotify Kids was originally in beta in Ireland, before being slowly released to countries like Sweden, Australia and Mexico

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Spotify
The app also touts educational content for kids, including a playlist hub called Learning which features songs that teach kids about counting, the ABC's, science and more. Wikimedia Commons

Swedish music streaming app Spotify has launched ‘Spotify Kids’ for the users in the US, Canada and France.

Like YouTube Kids, everything in Spotify Kids is curated to ensure songs are kid-friendly, the company said in a statement.

“We are constantly working on ways to make the Kids experience even better, and we had the opportunity to take into consideration the ideas and feedback from parents who have already used the app with their kids,” it added.

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There are more than 8,000 songs and 125 playlists available with additional content such as stories from family-friendly companies like Disney, Nickelodeon and Kidz Bop.

Spotify
Swedish music streaming app Spotify has launched ‘Spotify Kids’ for the users in the US, Canada and France. Wikimedia Commons

The app also touts educational content for kids, including a playlist hub called Learning which features songs that teach kids about counting, the ABC’s, science and more. For the US market, Spotify is offering a multi-genre, multi-cultural music mix.

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Spotify Kids was originally in beta in Ireland, before being slowly released to countries like Sweden, Australia and Mexico. The Spotify Kids app is available to download for free on the App Store for iPhone and iPad. (IANS)

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Spotify Renews Global Licensing Partnership With Warner Music Group

Spotify launched its service in India in February last year

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Spotify
Spotify launched its service in India in February last year. Wikimedia Commons

Swedish music streaming service Spotify on Wednesday said it has renewed its global licensing partnership with Warner Music Group and its users in India will now have access to artists of that label.

“Spotify and Warner Music Group are pleased to announce a renewed global licensing partnership. This expanded deal covers countries where Spotify is available today, as well as additional markets,” Spotify and Warner Music Group said in a joint statement.

“The two companies look forward to collaborating on impactful global initiatives for Warner artists and songwriters, and working together to grow the music industry over the long term,” the statement added.

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Spotify launched its service in India in February last year.

Spotify
Swedish music streaming service Spotify on Wednesday said it has renewed its global licensing partnership with Warner Music Group and its users in India will now have access to artists of that label. Wikimedia Commons

Earlier, in an attempt to leverage Warner/Chappell Music’s (WCM) local Indian publishing rights, WMG which has some big-ticket artists like Katy Perry and Led Zeppelin in its kitty, filed for an injunction against Spotify over licensing rights in the country.

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Spotify replied, saying the WMG revoked a previously agreed upon publishing licence for reasons wholly unrelated to the company’s launch in the country. (IANS)