The iPhone launches
And there’s no question it was a game changer. At first, Apple does not allow outside apps. But they soon realize that this approach is a non-starter if they want to sell more and more phones and really excite users.
And then comes the App Store
Apple decides to open up the App Store to outside app developers and lures them in by the hundreds. They ask users – want to order a pizza, find your nearest florist, or look up how to do the Soulja Boy dance? “There’s an app for that.”
Hello world! Spotify launches
Spotify launches on desktop at the end of 2008, bringing music streaming to the masses.
Spotify is available on the App Store
It wasn’t long before we launched the Spotify iPhone app, giving our fans all the world’s music — wherever and whenever they wanted.
Apple starts changing its App Store Guidelines
When Apple introduced the Guidelines we thought, “Yep. Makes total sense to have rules for security, safety, privacy, and quality.” But Apple not only has unilaterally changed the rules themselves time and again, but also frequently decides to interpret (and re-interpret) them in ways to disadvantage rivals like us. So those totally legit things we did which were fully in compliance just a few months ago? Now apparently not so much.
Apple eliminates payment system choice and imposes a 30% fee on content-based apps like Spotify...But at the same time, Apple prohibits us from showing customers how to upgrade any other way
For Spotify to use Apple’s billing system (IAP) — giving our fans the opportunity to upgrade to Premium — Spotify and others now have to pay 30% of any subscription fees. Apple now prohibits buttons or links to any other external ways to pay. This is the first of many moves from Apple that would make it harder and harder for our fans to upgrade to Premium.
We deem the 30% charge as too expensive for our fans and our business
We elect not to use IAP for a bunch of reasons, including the fact that giving up 30% was too much for us to keep our prices low for our fans. Unfortunately, the end result is that you can no longer upgrade to Premium through the app.
Siri launches on the iPhone, but won’t play Spotify
“Siri can you play that awesome Spotify playlist?” Siri says no.
For the next three years, we continue to face intense pressure from Apple to adopt their payment system
From 2011 to 2014, Apple puts us under constant pressure to adopt IAP.
So, we give IAP a try. That means we are now charged Apple's 30% tax and sadly have to increase our price for our fans
Our users will finally be able to buy a Premium subscription directly through our iOS app. But it also means we have to raise our prices to €12.99 a month. And you guys were rightly not very happy about this.
Us: "Hey Apple, we love your watch; can we make an app for that?" Them: "nah"
When Apple launches their new Apple Watch, they dismiss our proposals and won’t work with us to develop an app for it. However, they allow other apps to be on it.
Apple Music launches at a price all too familiar to Spotify
Late to the streaming party, Apple buys Beats, rebrands it, and then launches Apple Music. Because Apple Music doesn’t have to pay the 30% IAP charge, they are able to hugely undercut us and charge €9.99. To our fans, this just looked like we were ripping you off.
We opt out of Apple's payment system and the artificially uncompetitive price we had to charge for using it
Because we turn off IAP, it means you can no longer upgrade to Premium through the App Store *sigh*.
Apple starts an intensified pattern of Spotify app rejections - and threatens to remove us from the App Store
Now that Apple has Apple Music, rejections of the Spotify app start becoming more and more common, and they even go as far as threatening to remove us from the App Store. Those rejections seem to coincide with our promotional campaign seasons.
Apple tightens the App Store Guidelines...again
While we haven’t been able to include any buttons or external links to pages containing product info, discounts, promotions, etc. (even if they don’t link directly to a payment system!) since Feb. 2011, this time a “call to action” restriction is added.
Apple rejects Spotify's proposal for an Apple Watch app yet again
We submit a new proposal for a streaming app directly on the Apple Watch. Apple declines.
Apple continues to make more frequent, unexpected and unjustified rejections of our app updates
Now just having a “Learn More” button is enough to upset the Apple cart even though this is the first time we’ve heard of such a rule. All we can do is focus on ensuring compliance, but that’s not easy when the definitions of what we can and can’t do change from one day to the next.
App Store Guidelines are tightened once again
This app update means that rival apps have to agree not to “directly or indirectly target iOS users to use a purchasing method other than IAP or discourage the use of IAP.”
Apple continues to create obstacles around the Apple Watch
With WatchOS 4, Apple continues to make it challenging for us to deliver a workable streaming solution for the Apple Watch.
Apple rejects Spotify's app again
This time, we are rejected because of a campaign that makes reference to a Spotify Premium promotion (“get 3 months now for €0.99”), despite only directing users to a landing page with no info on where or how to purchase Premium (which Apple had allowed only a few months prior). In fact, Apple’s chief lawyer told us a year earlier that such a landing page was OK, but that didn’t stop the App Store from blocking our app for this reason.
Apple HomePod launches without Spotify support
Apple launches HomePod – the smart speaker that, like Siri, will do loads of cool stuff in response to voice commands. Well, lots of cool stuff except playing music through Spotify. Apple welcomes other apps to play on it, but until recently shut the door on competitive music streaming apps like Spotify.
Apple rejects Spotify's app yet again
Rejected this time because we showed the word “Free” in Spotify’s app screenshots on the App Store. And apparently that’s prohibited…?!
And the rejections keep on coming!
At this point, it’s hard to know how Apple will interpret anything that we do. This time, the phrase “Get in, Get Premium” is prohibited.
Apple finally allows enhanced functionality for the Spotify app on the Apple Watch
With Watch OS 5, Apple allowed the Spotify team to start developing offline functionality.
Update (Oct. 2020): Spotify has rolled out streaming capabilities on the Apple Watch.
Apple Music disregards its own rules
Apple Music sends the very type of promotional push notifications that it forbids its rivals to send.
Next up on Apple's restriction list -- podcast recommendations
So we announce two podcast acquisitions we are super excited about, and all of a sudden Apple arbitrarily decides to prohibit use of its API to recommend podcasts to users.
Spotify asks the European Commission to ensure a level playing field
When competition is fair, consumers and companies win.
2019 (OCT) / 2020 (APR)
Apple FINALLY announces that it will allow Siri integration on certain devices
Apple, for the first time (and after years of unavailability), will allow Siri integration with Spotify, letting users on certain devices with iOS 13 control Spotify using their voice. However, you still can’t choose Spotify as the default music player. And unless you mention our name (“I want to play [X] on Spotify”), every time you give a command to play audio, Siri will default to Apple Music and so will your Apple device.
The European Commission launches a formal investigation into Apple
A key development not only for Spotify, but also for consumers and the many other companies around the world that are being disadvantaged by Apple’s anti-competitive behavior.
The European Commission sends Statement of Objections to Apple, taking a preliminary view that Apple has abused its dominant position.
Another important milestone in the fight to ensure a level playing field.