Spotify is one of the biggest critics of Apple’s App Store policies. After the company was forced to drop the ability to subscribe via the iPhone app, it is now also forced to drop the sale of audio books. The reason is the same one that everyone already knows: Apple wants a 30% commission on these transactions, and Spotify doesn’t want to have to raise prices to do that.
Apple also wants commission from audiobook sales on Spotify
Streaming service Spotify has developed in two new directions over the past few years. Podcasts have proven very successful, and the company has partnered with the world’s biggest podcast creator, Joe Rogan, for several years. Now, Spotify is looking to become a major player in the audiobook area as well. While podcasts are easy to distribute even on Apple’s platform, as most are completely free and are supported by ads during shows, books are sold “by the piece”.
Under the previous App Store rules, Spotify could allow access to the audiobook area and send a purchase link email to customers when they tried to buy a book. The new rules, however, no longer allow this artifice. Apple is forcing companies to either opt out of in-app sales or switch to an In-App Purchase system, from which Apple can take 30% commission from each transaction.
Spotify has chosen to no longer allow in-app purchases, but those who buy through the web interface or other platforms will be able to access them on the iOS app from their account. To force Spotify to comply, Apple has begun denying them updates to the mobile app until all mention of buying books via other methods has been removed. Incidentally, Spotify now just says you can’t buy books from the iOS app when you try to do so, and no longer mentions how to complete a transaction.
Apple in turn sells audio books through its Books app. Apple doesn’t have to cover the 30% commission, though, so it makes more money from sales than its competitors would.