Spotify on iPad Now Supports Slide Over and Split View Multitasking

The newest version of Spotify for iOS, released yesterday, quietly added support for Apple's multitasking Slide Over and Split View feature on the iPad.

As noted on Reddit and highlighted by The Verge, you can now open and use the Spotify app alongside another app in Split View, or open it up in Slide Over to quickly access Spotify controls without having to close the current apps you have open.


Apple's Split View and Slide Over multitasking features were first introduced in 2015, so it's taken Spotify quite some time to implement support for the functionality.

Tag: Spotify

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Spotify Stations iOS App Gains CarPlay Support

Spotify has added CarPlay support to its standalone Stations app, allowing users to control radio playback from their in-car infotainment systems and dashboards.


Spotify Stations' support for Apple CarPlay was spotted by a Reddit user

Released in the U.S. in June, the app lets Spotify account holders stream music from curated, radio-like stations. In that sense, Spotify Stations has similarities with Pandora, offering personalized stations or playlists based on the user's Spotify history.

Music starts playing as soon as you launch the app, then you can choose from a list of several preset stations. Like in Spotify proper, premium subscribers get unlimited skips and ad-free listening, while non-paying listeners can use the free ad-supported version which comes with limited skips.

Aside from the personalized content, the Stations app also serves popular playlists from the main Spotify platform, including Discover Weekly, Favorites, and Release Radar.

Stations is a free download for iPhone and iPad available from the App Store. [Direct Link]

Related Roundup: CarPlay
Tag: Spotify

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Apple Says Spotify Only Pays 15% Fee on About 0.5% of Subscribers in Response to App Store Complaint

Apple has filed a response to Spotify's anticompetitive complaint about the App Store in Europe, noting that Spotify pays Apple a 15 percent commission for only about 0.5 percent of its paying subscribers, according to CNET.


That figure equates to around 680,000 users who subscribed to Spotify through its iOS app, via Apple's in-app purchase system, between 2014 and 2016. This is because Apple only collects a 30 percent commission for the first year of a subscription, at which point the fee drops to 15 percent.

Apple's response comes three months after Spotify announced it had filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with the European Commission over unfair App Store practices. Spotify took particular issue with Apple charging a 30 percent "tax" on App Store purchases, calling it "discriminatory":
Apple requires that certain apps pay a 30% fee for use of their in-app purchase system (IAP) – as is their prerogative. However, the reality is that the rules are not applied evenly across the board. Does Uber pay it? No. Deliveroo? No. Does Apple Music pay it? No. So Apple gives the advantage to its own services.
Apple only charges a commission on in-app purchases tied to digital goods, which is why apps like Uber and Deliveroo are exempt.

Apple also forbids Spotify and other developers from alerting users that they can sign up for a subscription or complete a purchase outside of its iOS app, and disallows Spotify from advertising deals to its customers in the app or by email, as these practices would circumvent Apple's in-app purchase system.

Apple has faced increasing scrutiny as of late over the way it runs its App Store. In response, Apple said the App Store "welcomes competition," noting that it was created to be "a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps" and "a great business opportunity for all developers."

Apple previously labeled Spotify's complaint as "misleading rhetoric" and claimed that "Spotify wants all the benefits of a free app without being free."

European Commission regulators will now review Apple's response as part of its probe.


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Some Spotify Users Frustrated With Recent Update, Moving to Apple Music Instead

One week ago today Spotify launched a revamped "Your Library" tab that the company said was "designed to get you to the content you want faster." According to Spotify subscribers on r/Spotify, this update has done the complete opposite and made navigating large music libraries nearly impossible, with the main purpose apparently made to promote Spotify's burgeoning interest in podcasts.


On r/Spotify this week, over a thousand users have gotten behind a post asking for the "old" Spotify to come back, with a few hundred comments discussing the various problems with the update. People have a lot of different thoughts on the update, but the consensus on what went wrong appears to be that Spotify stripped features in Your Library to make room for the new Podcasts tab.

In the process, the Songs tab was removed and the recently played section has been moved and downgraded, showing fewer artists and songs and removing some of its customization features. We've linked some of the Reddit users who provided specific complaints about the update below:
u/TehCrag: "Basically they removed the Songs tab and the Recently played section. And the albums tab only shows full albums that you have saved, so if you have 3 songs from the same album, they would be in the ‘liked songs’ playlist instead... which doesn’t have an alphabet scroll bar.

Also there’s a giant podcast tab next to music. They’re pushing them hard."
u/Skippin101: "There is no alphabetical "scroll bar" on the right side of the liked songs, artists, or albums pages. If I want to play a song that starts with "Z", I have to manually scroll all the way to the bottom instead of tapping the "Z" letter on the right side like before.

The recently played tab is a huge downgrade. It's now on the homepage, features far less artists/playlists, isn't customizable (i.e. you can't remove an artist or playlist from it or re-arrange it), can't be used in offline mode, and, worst of all by a country mile, when you click on a recently played artist it takes you to their artist page instead of showing you which songs you've saved by that artist."
Due to these changes, a thread recently began on r/AppleMusic welcoming Spotify users who are moving over to Apple's streaming service instead, which appears to be quite a lot. Some Spotify users pointed out that they moved from Apple Music to Spotify for features like the recently played section in Your Library, which let them quickly jump back into the albums they had just listened to.


Now that this and other features have been removed, talk of canceling Spotify and moving to Apple Music has increased. Even on Twitter, searches for "Spotify update" lead to numerous tweets about users frustrated with the UI changes and asking Spotify to revert the update.

There have been a handful of controversial app updates over the past few years, including platforms like Snapchat. That app's November 2017 update, which was aimed at getting users to more clearly see the distinction between friends and celebrities, was so disliked that Snapchat ended up reverting some of the changes. The company still lost millions of users in the process.

Spotify has yet to comment on the reaction to the new update.


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Spotify Premium Users Gain Revamped ‘Your Library’ Tab With Streamlined Navigation

Spotify today announced a new version of the "Your Library" tab in its mobile apps for iOS and Android, which is "designed to get you to the content you want faster." This update is for Spotify Premium users only.

The company said that it has streamlined Your Library so that you can simply tap or swipe to toggle between new tabs for Music and Podcasts. Under Music you'll find sections divided into Playlists, Artists, and Albums; Podcasts houses Episodes, Downloads, and Shows.


When selecting Music, Spotify will automatically show your Playlists section, which still includes all the playlists you've previously made or liked. There's also a new playlist called "Liked Songs," which will accumulate every song you like on Spotify. This section also sorts playlists when you're offline to show the ones that have been downloaded.

Swiping to the artist section shows all of the artists you follow, while the album section is full of albums that you can manually save to listen to later by tapping the heart icon on any album.

Given Spotify's decision to become a big player in the podcast market, the new Podcast section of Your Library facilitates better discovery and podcast organization. The Episodes section lets you easily resume podcasts you are listening to, as well as find newly released episodes of other podcasts you're following.

The Downloads area shows what episodes you've downloaded for offline listening, while the Shows section lets you manage all of the podcasts you follow and explore previous episodes.

The new updates to Your Library will begin rolling out to Premium users beginning today on iOS and Android.

Tag: Spotify

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Spotify and Other Music and Podcasts Apps Can Choose to Support Siri in iOS 13

Hey Siri, play Old Town Road on Spotify.

Ask that now and Siri will tell you that it cannot play songs from Spotify, but that could change soon. Apple is opening up its SiriKit framework to third-party music, podcasts, audiobooks, and radio apps in iOS 13 and iPadOS, enabling users to use Siri to control audio playback in supported apps.

Mockup of Siri support for Spotify

It will be up to developers to enable this functionality in their apps. We've reached out to Spotify, Amazon, Google, Pandora, Tidal, Overcast, Castro, and several other popular music and podcasts app developers to see if they have plans to support Siri, and we'll update this story if we hear back.

Spotify recently accused Apple of anticompetitive business practices, and its inability to integrate with Siri was one of its complaints. "Apple won't allow us to be on HomePod and they definitely won't let us connect with Siri to play your jams," said Spotify. Going forward, the latter is no longer the case.

The first betas of iOS 13 and iPadOS were seeded to developers on Monday, with public betas to follow in July. The software updates will be widely released in the fall, likely alongside new iPhones in September as usual.

Related Roundups: iOS 13, iPadOS

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Spotify Brings Pandora-Like Stations App to the US After Extended Testing in Australia

Spotify has brought its experimental Stations app to the U.S. after over a year of testing iOS and Android versions exclusively in Australia.


Designed to let Spotify account holders stream free music from curated, radio-like stations, the app has similarities with Pandora, offering personalized stations or playlists based on the user's Spotify history.

Music starts playing as soon as the app is launched, and then users can choose from a list of several preset stations. Like in Spotify proper, premium subscribers get unlimited skips and ad-free listening, while non-paying listeners can use the free ad-supported version which comes with limited skips.

The success of the Stations app in Australia hasn't been disclosed, but presumably it's done well enough for Spotify to extend testing to the U.S. where the majority of its subscribers reside.
"At Spotify, we routinely conduct a number of experiments to create better listening experiences for our users," a Spotify spokesperson told Engadget. "Some of those tests end up paving the way for our broader user experience and others serve only as an important learning. Spotify Stations is one of those tests."
Aside from the personalized content, the Stations app also serves popular playlists from the main Spotify platform, including Discover Weekly, Favorites, and Release Radar.

Stations is a free download for iPhone and iPad available from the App Store. [Direct Link]

Tag: Spotify

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European Regulators Awaiting Response From Apple After Spotify Called the App Store a Monopoly

The European Commission is awaiting a response from Apple after Spotify accused the iPhone maker of anticompetitive business practices in relation to its App Store, said the European Union's antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager.


"We are looking into that and we have been asking questions around in that market but of course also Apple themselves, for them to answer the allegations. And when they come back, we will know more," said Vestager, speaking on the sidelines of an economic conference, according to Reuters.

In March, Spotify announced it had filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with the European Commission over unfair App Store practices. Apple responded two days later, labeling the complaint as "misleading rhetoric" and arguing that "Spotify wants all the benefits of a free app without being free."

In a blog post, Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek took particular issue with Apple charging a 30 percent "tax" on App Store purchases. This results in Spotify charging existing subscribers $12.99 per month for its Premium plan via the App Store just to collect nearly the $9.99 per month it charges normally.

Apple also forbids developers from alerting users that they can sign up for a subscription or complete a purchase outside of an app, which would bypass Apple's commission on in-app purchases tied to digital goods.

Spotify later said "every monopolist will suggest they have done nothing wrong" and that Apple's response was "entirely in line" with its expectations.

Apple has faced increasing scrutiny as of late over the way it runs its App Store, beyond Spotify's complaint. In the United States, for example, the Supreme Court recently ruled that a class action lawsuit accusing Apple of operating an App Store monopoly can proceed to trial in a lower court.

Parental control app developers have also petitioned Apple to release a public API for its Screen Time feature to ensure a fair playing field on the App Store, while the Netherlands is investigating whether or not Apple favors its own apps.

In response, Apple added a new page to the App Store section of its website titled Principles and Practices, noting that the App Store was created with two goals: to be "a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps" and "a great business opportunity for all developers."


Apple emphasized that the App Store "welcomes competition" and listed many examples of third-party apps that compete with its own apps, such as Spotify versus Apple Music and Google Maps versus Apple Maps.
We believe competition makes everything better and results in the best apps for our customers.

We also care about quality over quantity, and trust over transactions. That's why, even though other stores have more users and more app downloads, the App Store earns more money for developers. Our users trust Apple — and that trust is critical to how we operate a fair, competitive store for developer app distribution.
The deadline for Apple's response to the European Commission is unclear.


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Spotify Tests Snapchat-Style Stories Feature Called ‘Storyline’ Offering Additional Artist Content

Spotify is testing its own version of Snapchat/Instagram-style Stories, reports TechCrunch. The short-form sharing format now ubiquitous across social media platforms is to be called "Storyline" on the music streaming service, and enables artists to share their inspirations, insights, and provide further details about their work and creative process.


The format is being compared to Spotify's "Behind the Lyrics" feature which uses pop-up cards that load concurrently with the music, except users tap through different Storyline screens at their own pace and see segmented lines at the top of the screen to indicate how many slices of the story remain ahead of them.

A Spotify spokesperson told TechCrunch that Storyline is still in testing in the U.S. and in other markets on both iOS and Android, but there's no sign of it on desktop and no other details on a possible global rollout are available at this time.

Users participating in the test will see an indicator at the bottom of Spotify's player interface that alerts them to the additional content, which can include lyrics, text and images, and users can swipe up on the screen to reveal the story and start tapping through it.

The Storyline feature was first picked up on Reddit and covered by Android Police.

Tag: Spotify

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EU to Investigate Apple Over Spotify’s Antitrust Complaint

Apple is to be formally investigated by the European Commission after Spotify accused the company of using the App Store to deliberately disadvantage other app developers.


According to a report by the Financial Times, EU competition commission has decided to launch a formal antitrust investigation into Apple's conduct "in the next few weeks" after surveying customers, rivals and others in the market.

Spotify in March filed an antitrust complaint against Apple with the EU in which it argued that the iPhone maker enforced App Store rules that "purposely limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience."

Apple swiftly hit back at the accusation, labeling it as "misleading rhetoric" and arguing that "Spotify wants all the benefits of a free app without being free."

Spotify's complaint focuses on Apple's policy of charging a 30 per cent fee on App Store purchases, which means Spotify has to charge existing subscribers $12.99 per month for its Premium plan via the App Store just to collect its standard $9.99 per month charge.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek claimed that the policy gives Apple an "unfair advantage," since Spotify is unable to fairly compete with Apple Music's standard $9.99 per month price within the App Store.

Alternatively, if Spotify chooses not to collect payments via the App Store, Ek said that Apple "applies a series of technical and experience-limiting restrictions" on the company. Over time, this has also included "locking Spotify and other competitors out of Apple services such as Siri, HomePod, and Apple Watch."

The EU can force companies to change business practices they deem unlawful and levy fines of up to 10 per cent of a company's global turnover. However, investigations by the European Commission can take years to resolve unless the companies involved offer to settle the probes by making legally binding agreements to change their behavior.

For further details on each company's stance on the issue, see Spotify's Time to Play Fair website and Apple's press release addressing Spotify's claims.


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