Times of civility in music streaming are over. Open war has begun.
Earlier this week, streaming service Spotify directly accused competitor Apple Music of “causing grave harm to Spotify and its customers” by rejecting its updated iOS app, forcing the company to go through Apple’s billing system for subscription sales and thus cutting into Spotify’s profits. “We cannot stand by as Apple uses the App Store approval process as a weapon to harm competitors,” Spotify general counsel Horacio Gutierrez complained in a letter. (Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren shot similar monopoly criticisms at the tech giant this week.)
Spotify is a longtime critic of Apple, and now the Cupertino-based tech giant has chosen to respond—unsparingly. The company’s general counsel Bruce Sewell fired a three-page letter back to Gutierrez yesterday (July 1). It makes accusations of Apple’s own:
Our guidelines apply equally to all app developers… We did not alter our behavior or our rules when we introduced our own music streaming service or when Spotify became a competitor. Ironically, it is now Spotify that wants things to be different by asking for preferential treatment from Apple.
And has no qualms about guilt-tripping:
We have always believed that competition makes us better. We’ve invested a tremendous amount so developers have the best ecosystem for creating and distributing apps. You know this because Spotify has profited greatly from your use of the App Store we developed.
While, finally, calling Spotify a straight-up liar:
We find it troubling that you are asking for exemptions to the rules we apply to all developers, and are publicly resorting to rumors and half-truths about our service.
Spotify has yet to issue a response—but, if this is anything like rap beef, expect a few more disses to go back and forth.