As a report by Variety noted in a report Wednesday (July 5), the streaming audio platform hadn’t allowed new subscribers to pay through the app store in seven years. And there was just a two-year window in which subscribers could choose to pay via Apple.
Those customers are the ones affected by the decision, and, as Variety reported, were notified recently that they could no longer pay via Apple’s in-app purchases.
“We’re contacting you because when you joined Spotify Premium you used Apple’s billing service to subscribe,” the email said, per the news outlet. “Unfortunately, we no longer accept that billing method as a form of payment.”
A Spotify spokesman confirmed the change in a statement provided to PYMNTS.
“We recently began notifying a small number of users that a legacy payment method, that their Premium account is attached to, is being deprecated,” the statement reads.
“Users notified by email will automatically move to a Free account from their next billing cycle. Users will then have the option to upgrade to a Premium account by logging into their account at Spotify.com. These actions will help ensure that we can continue to provide a consistent best-in-class subscription experience for all our users.”
Spotify has long criticized Apple’s — and Google’s — app store practices, even filing a complaint against Apple in Europe in 2019. Last year, the company reached an agreement with Google that allows Android users to pay for the service via either Google Play Billing or Spotify’s payment system.
Users who have downloaded Spotify from the Google Play store will be given the choice of payment options. The two options will be side by side in the app.
Spotify has been working with Google on a user choice billing (UCB) pilot, Spotify Vice President, Global Head of Commerce and Customer Service Sandra Alzetta said in an interview with PYMNTS earlier this year.
“We’ve been working with Google, looking at how we make sure that we’ve got payment choice for their users,” she said.
“We’re very proud of the fact that we’ve been working with them for the first of its kind in-app payments, which means that users have got the choice of how they want to pay.”
That work began in November, it’s live in 140 markets now, “and the focus here is always on giving our users the choice of payments that they want, the freedom to make payments.”
Spotify has also teamed with India’s UPI national digital payments platform, which Alzetta said is “at the heart” of payments innovation in that country.
“We switched [UPI] on first in 2019 for single payments, but we switched on UPI auto pay for recurring payments” late last year. “It’s fair to say this has been extremely well received,” she said, “so, making sure that we’ve got that choice available matters.”