Spotify says Apple’s “anti-competitive” behavior hurts audiobook business

Spotify said in a blog post released on Tuesday that Apple’s rules for audiobooks purchase flow make the process “far too complicated and confusing” and hurt audiobook listeners, publishers and authors alike. The company says Apple changes the rules “arbitrarily, making them impossible to interpret”. 

Last month, the music streaming company launched its new Audiobooks service in the United States, with more than 300,000 titles.

Spotify said on a webpage that Apple had three times rejected Spotify’s recommended audiobook purchase process because it was against the App Store’s policies. To comply with Apple’s rules, Spotify hides the price of its audiobooks and does not allow users to purchase content in the app. Instead, users choose the audiobook they want to buy, and Spotify emails them a link to check it out on the web.

Spotify says this purchase process “harms not only consumers, but, this time, also authors and publishers who now find themselves under Apple’s thumb.” 

This isn’t the first time Spotify has brought up Apple’s “anti-competitive” behavior. In 2019, the company filed an antitrust complaint against Apple in Europe, alleging that the company was harming consumer choice by imposing a 30 percent commission. Last year, at the “Antitrust Applied: Examining Competition in App Stores” hearing, Spotify said Apple is abusing market power to disadvantage its rivals. 

“Almost four years. That’s how long it’s been since Spotify filed a complaint against Apple with the European Commission, and we are still waiting on a decision. And while we wait, Apple continues to dictate what online innovation looks like, doing serious harm to the internet economy, choking competition and the imagination of app developers. In the absence of government intervention—in Europe, the U.S., or any other market around the world—Apple has shown time and again that it will not self-regulate and has no real incentive to change. With our Audiobooks launch, Apple has once again proven just how brazen it is willing to be with its App Store rules, constantly shifting the goalposts to disadvantage their competitors.” 

In the blog post released yesterday, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said:

Written by Jordan Bevan


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