Spotify CFO Paul Vogel Wants “Level Playing Field” As Apple Prepares To Launch Bundles With Music

Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Spotify CFO Paul Vogel stressed the need for “a level playing” field for all services a day after Apple announced a bundle package with music, TV, and Cloud storage.

“For us it’s just about a level playing field and it’s treating all products and services equally and making sure that someone isn’t disadvantaged at the benefit of someone else — particularly if someone else owns a competing product,” Vogel said Wednesday at the Goldman Sachs media conference.

His three major concerns. “For us, particularly with Apple, it’s about being able to market and communicate with our users in a way that is is not restrictive. Right now there’s a lot of restrictions Apple places on how we can market and communicate with our users, so we feel that’s not right.”

“Also, having to use IAP for everything. I think that’s something consumers should have a choice [on]. To use something else, to use different payment mechanisms so we’re not burdened by the restrictions they’ve put on,” he said.

Lastly, it can be harder to upgrade and innovate the app. “We don’t want blockages on what we can do in terms of giving the best possible experience to consumers.”

“And so that’s really the three big things that we are looking for with a level playing field: the ability to market to our users properly, a payment system that works fairly for everybody equally across all platforms, and the ability for us to innovate and not get blocked.”

Vogel’s comments followed a blast from Spotify yesterday following Apple’s announcement.

“Once again, Apple is using its dominant position and unfair practices to disadvantage competitors and deprive consumers by favoring its own services. We call on competition authorities to act urgently to restrict Apple’s anti-competitive behavior, which if left unchecked, will cause irreparable harm to the developer community and threaten our collective freedoms to listen, learn, create, and connect,” Spotify said.

As Deadline reported, Apple packages will be available later this fall in three tiers; Individual, Family and Premier. The plans bring together music and video streaming, news, video games, fitness offerings and iCloud. The tech giant made the announcement during a virtual event with announcements of new Apple Watch and iPad models.

“We know that we compete with some of the largest tech companies out there with massive resources. We know there are certain things our competitors bring to the table. None of that is a surprise to us,” Spotify’s Vogel said Wednesday.

“Whether or not we manage through it, it’s up to us to execute against,” he added, saying Spotify is focused growing its business, expanding in music and podcasts and building connections between artists and fans.

Last month, Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite, sued Apple and Google after the tech giants blocked the hugely popular online video game from their app stores. Epic had begun steering players to pay for in-game currency through Fortnite directly, bypassing App Store payment systems that can take a hefty fee. Apple counter-sued. A hearing is set for later this month.

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