Spotify will show users pricing options outside of its iOS app in the EU — if Apple lets it

Spotify’s logo
Illustration by Nick Barclay / The Verge

Spotify isn’t going to launch the in-app purchases it previously planned for the European Union, at least right now. Instead, if Apple approves a newly submitted update, it’s going to try to do the next best thing: provide pricing information within the app and link users to its subscription options.

Spotify tells The Verge that it’s planning to make this change in response to the European Commission’s ruling on Monday, which fined Apple €1.84 billion (about $2 billion) for “abusing its dominant position” in the music streaming app distribution business. The European Commission found that Apple’s anti-steering rules prevent developers from telling users about “alternative and cheaper music subscription services available outside of the app.”

Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission’s competition head, said during a press conference that this practice is “illegal” and ordered Apple to remove its anti-steering provisions for music streaming apps. She said that Apple will “have to allow music streaming developers to communicate freely with their own users,” letting them provide pricing information to users in apps. Apple said it would appeal the decision and accused Spotify of wanting to “rewrite the rules of the App Store.”

Image: Spotify
Spotify’s app will include information about what its subscriptions offer and how much they cost.

Spotify is taking full advantage of this ruling. If Apple approves the change, Spotify will be able to provide iOS users in the EU with information about the prices of its Premium subscriptions as well as the different features they offer. It will also include links that point users to its website to buy the subscriptions they want. You can see how this will look in the image included above.

Earlier this year, Spotify announced plans to start allowing in-app purchases on its iOS app in the EU, but it decided not to immediately follow through after Apple revealed its plans to comply with the EU’s Digital Markets Act, or DMA. (The DMA’s deadline for compliance hits later this week.) Part of Apple’s plan includes a new set of business terms that allow developers to put their apps on alternative app stores and pay a lower commission to Apple — but only if apps pay 50 euro cents for each annual app install after 1 million downloads. That fee can add up for larger freemium apps like Spotify.

Apple started letting reader apps, including Spotify, Netflix, and Kindle, include links to their websites in apps in 2022. However, Apple still exerts control over the language reader apps can use when pointing users toward their link, preventing them from telling users how much a subscription costs.

Spotify has already sent Apple its plans to introduce pricing information within its app. It’s up to Apple to accept or reject the proposal, and this time, the European Commission will be around to scrutinize the decision.