EU Slaps Apple With $500 Million Fine Over Music Streaming Dispute

Apple EU fine

According to a report from the Financial Times, the EU Commission is going to fine Apple for the first time. The report states that the fine would be around 500 million euros (around $538 million). This all stems from a case that started in 2019 when Spotify complained legally.

The EU believes that Apple acted unlawfully by stopping music streaming apps like Spotify from telling their customers about other ways to pay for their services without using Apple’s payment system. This system is called the App Store’s anti-steering measures.

The investigation began in 2019 after Spotify filed a lawsuit against Apple for unfair competition. In 2021, EU officials accused Apple of anti-competitive behavior, but the next year, they narrowed down the focus of the inquiry and dropped the accusation of forcing developers to use Apple’s payment system.

Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines allow developers to alert users of alternate buying options via external communications such as email. “Reader” apps, such as Spotify, can include a link to their website for account administration. However, Spotify doesn’t have permission to promote its offers on its website directly from within its iPhone app.

Now, the EU is mainly concerned about Apple not allowing developers to link to their subscription sign-ups within their apps. However, Apple changed this policy in 2022 because of pressure from regulators in Japan.

Although the anti-steering rules affect more than just music streaming, the EU is particularly looking at how this policy affects music streaming apps. Essentially, Apple’s mandatory commission and restrictions on informing customers about other payment options give Apple Music an unfair advantage over its competitors.

The upcoming EU decision won’t force Apple to allow other payment methods in its apps, but it’ll require music streaming apps to freely link to their websites for subscription sign-ups. 


One thought on “EU Slaps Apple With $500 Million Fine Over Music Streaming Dispute

  • At this point I have to wonder how many EU legislators Spotify has on their payroll. Spotify is essentially a leach owned by a mixture of the Chinese Government and the major Record labels. The business is designed to never make money on paper (a common strategy in the recording industry, siphon off any and all profits so that they can never be pressured into actually paying recording artists.)

    The EU should be investigating Spotify for driving down the value of artist’s earnings making it even more difficult for smaller independent artists to make a living despite having large fan bases.

    But these politicians are on the take and they’ll happily accept bribes from record label execs to harass Apple.

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