Spotify heroSource: Spotify

What you need to know

  • Spotify's CEO says that he expects Apple to further open up.
  • The company filed a complaint with the EU last year, claiming anticompetitive behavior.
  • Apple has recently opened up streaming to Apple Watch and Siri support for third parties.

Spotify is expecting Apple to continue to open up its platform to third-party music services. In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Spotify Technology SA Chief Executive Officer Daniel Ek said that it is seeing progress a year after filing an antitrust complaint with the European Union.

The company has accused Apple of limiting functionality for its app on the Apple Watch and Siri, as well as Apple's 30% cut for subscriptions sold through the App Store. Ek does say that while "long term, we do expect Apple to open up," the company is still participating in anticompetitive behavior because of its control over the platform that Spotify needs to operate in.

Apple had responded to the complaint by saying that only a small percentage of Spotify's subscribers fall under its revenue-sharing model and that the company gets enormous benefits from being able to run its free app through the platform.

"The majority of customers use their free, ad-supported product, which makes no contribution to the App Store ... Even now, only a tiny fraction of their subscriptions fall under Apple's revenue-sharing model. Spotify is asking for that number to be zero."

Apple has recently opened up more functionality for third-party music services. The company now allows third-party apps to stream to the Apple Watch, something that Pandora has recently taken advantage of. You can also now ask Siri to play music for more than just Apple Music, a feature that Ek notes is encouraging.

"We're very encouraged about being able to now finally use Siri as a way of building in voice support and also being available to build products for the Apple TV and Apple Watch, something that we haven't been able to do until very recently."

Ek says that, while Apple's recent moves have certainly improved circumstances for third party music services, it has a long way to go before Spotify and Apple Music operate on even ground.

"It's moving in the right direction, but we still have many, many steps to go before (Spotify considers Apple) an open and fair platform."