In a letter to shareholders, part of its third quarter earnings results, Spotify said that publicly available data indicates that it is adding roughly twice as many subscribers per month as Apple Music:
We continue to feel very good about our competitive position in the market. Relative to Apple, the publicly available data shows that we are adding roughly twice as many subscribers per month as they are. Additionally, we believe that our monthly engagement is roughly 2x as high and our churn is at half the rate.
Apple Music had 60 million paying subscribers as of late June, according to Apple's services chief Eddy Cue. Spotify has remained nearly twice as large as Apple Music in terms of paying subscribers over the last year.
Spotify today updated its mobile app to include Siri support, which means iPhone and iPad users running iOS 13 can now use Siri to control their favorite music streaming service, just like Apple Music subscribers.
After updating the app, users simply need to invoke Siri on their device and ask the voice assistant to play an album or song "with Spotify." Commands for playing playlists work the same way.
According to Spotify's release notes, Siri support is compatible over connected AirPods and also extends to CarPlay and HomePod via AirPlay. On iPhones and iPads running iOS 13, Spotify will also now turn on its Data Saver feature when a device has Low Data Mode enabled.
In addition, the streaming service says Spotify is "now available on Apple TV," although it isn't showing up in the tvOS App Store as of writing, so rollout is likely scheduled for later in the day.
The U.S. Congress has requested information from Spotify related to its anticompetitive allegations against Apple, according to Reuters.
From the report:
The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee reached out to the music streaming service with broad requests for information, according to one source, who added the request to the company was narrowed in follow up telephone calls.
In March, Spotify announced it 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 only certain App Store purchases, calling it "discriminatory."
Apple only charges a commission on in-app purchases tied to digital goods, so apps providing real goods and services like Uber 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 labeled Spotify's complaint as "misleading rhetoric" and claimed that "Spotify wants all the benefits of a free app without being free," later adding that Spotify pays Apple a 15 percent commission for only about 0.5 percent of its paying subscribers as part of its official response to the complaint.
Spotify today announced a new feature that is now available for Spotify on iOS and Android, letting you combine podcasts and music into the same playlist. You can also choose to create a playlist of only podcasts, like your favorite episodes from multiple shows.
To do this, find the podcast you want to add to a playlist, tap the ellipsis icon to the right of the episode, and tap "Add to playlist." You can choose to add it to an existing playlist, or start a new one. Spotify Premium subscribers can then organize the playlist and intersperse it with songs so that the podcasts and music play in a certain order.
Spotify has added Siri support to the latest beta version of its iOS app, allowing users to ask Siri to play songs, albums, and playlists in Spotify on an iPhone running iOS 13 or later, as noted by The Verge's Tom Warren.
Apple opened 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. It is now up to third-party apps to take advantage of this functionality, with Spotify and Pandora among the first to do so.
When asking Siri to play a song, album, or so forth, users must specify "on Spotify" or else the feature defaults to Apple Music.
Spotify's inability to offer the same Siri integration as Apple Music was one of the tentpoles of its anticompetitive complaint against Apple that it filed with the European Commission earlier this year.
Spotify has not provided a timeframe for rolling out Siri support to all users, but we will provide an update when that happens.
Spotify will require family plan members to provide their location data "from time to time" to prove they're all living under the same roof, in an effort to curb subscribers who abuse the offer.
The Spotify Premium Family Plan has been hugely popular among users of the music streaming service, since it offers families up to six accounts under one plan for a single price of $14.99 a month, as does Apple Music's equivalent.
It's no secret that friends sometimes gang up together to share the spoils of subscribing to Spotify's cheaper family plan, even though they don't live together. If six people share a plan then the cost of Spotify Premium works out at $2.50 per person.
The streaming service officially requires that fellow family plan members live in the same household, but Spotify has historically been fairly lax about checking up on where people live, so it's easy to see the appeal.
However, according to the streaming service's terms and conditions, updated in August, family plan users will be expected to share location data "from time to time" in order to prove that everyone on the plan is in fact living in the same residence.
First spotted by CNET, the new requirement does raise privacy concerns, but Spotify has moved to allay those fears by issuing the following statement:
"The location data that is collected during Premium Family account creation is only used by Spotify for that purpose.... once verification of a family member's home address is completed, we do not store their location data or track their location at any time. This data is encrypted and can be edited by the plan owner as needed."
It's not clear how aggressive Spotify will be in checking user's locations, but it has tested the policy before – though it ended shortly afterward after complaints of privacy violations.
@Spotify Why do you need my GPS location to continue offering me a "Premium discount"? I pay for the family plan and it should not matter where my family lives. Will you cancel my account if my family gets too far from each other? #wtf#failpic.twitter.com/HauQtHXSUA
Regardless, existing family plan subscribers who don't like the change have up to 30 days to cancel their subscription after the new terms come into effect. Depending where they are though, subscribers may not have as much time as they think. The updated family plan terms rolled out first in Ireland on August 19 and in the U.S. on September 5.
Spotify today announced that it is extending its free-trial period for Spotify Premium to three months, up from the previous one month that users would have to try out the paid service. With this extension, Spotify and Apple Music now offer the same amount of free trial time before customers have to pay for the music streaming services.
In its blog post on the announcement, Spotify confirmed that the offer will last for the foreseeable future and is "not limited time." Users across the globe will gain access to the three month free trial period, including Individual and Student Plans, all starting today.
The three month free trial is only open to new users, and is not available to those who have already tried Spotify Premium. You can find more information about the announcement in Spotify's blog post.
Spotify is launching a new content filter feature for its Family Plan to give parents and guardians better control over what their children listen to.
The owner of the family plan master account will be able to set an Explicit Content Filter on individual sub-accounts, which will prevent the user from playing anything in the Spotify library marked as explicit.
The filter is accessed from a new Family Hub, where the master account holder can add and remove family members and update the family address. The ability to set the content filter will be password protected to add an extra layer of security.
Apart from the new content filter, Spotify is also introducing a new Family Mix feature, which gives the whole family access to personalized playlists. The changes are rolling out today in Ireland and coming soon to other regions and territories where the family plan is offered.
Spotify's $14.99 Family Plan allows up to six people to jump on board the same subscription to the streaming service, although Spotify does expect all members to live under the same roof.
Apple Music also offers a family subscription for $14.99 for up to six people to use via Family Sharing. Parents can also use Apple's Screen Time feature to set content restrictions remotely for their kids' devices.
Spotify and Apple are in talks over a potential "truce" that would allow Siri to play songs, playlists, and albums from Spotify via voice commands from iPhone users, reports The Information.
Apple in iOS 13 is introducing SiriKit changes that will allow Siri to play music, podcasts, audiobooks, and radio from third-party apps, which seems to be the feature that the two companies have been discussing.
The SiriKit changes will let Spotify and other developers build Siri support into their apps, letting users control audio playback with Siri commands. Users will be able to use commands like "Hey Siri, play Fleetwood Mac from Spotify" to access Spotify instead of Apple Music.
Apple has similar Siri features for third-party messaging apps, allowing Siri commands to be used to send messages using WhatsApp and other apps instead of the Messages app. Siri commands also work with third-party ride sharing, workout, payments, photo, and VoIP apps.
Should Apple and Spotify come to an agreement about the new feature, Apple Music is expected to remain the default music streaming service on Apple devices when users ask Siri to play songs, according to one of the sources that spoke to The Information.
A mockup of what Spotify's Siri integration could look like
The conversations between Apple and Spotify come following a March antitrust complaint from Spotify in the European Union, where Spotify claimed that Apple's App Store rules "limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience."
In its complaint, Spotify called out Apple's 30 percent fee for third-party apps in the App Store, which Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said gives Apple an "unfair advantage" for Apple Music. Ek also complained about Apple's "experience-limiting restrictions," locking Spotify and other competitors out of services like Siri.
Spotify's complaint has resulted in a formal investigation of Apple's App Store practices by the European Competition Commission, which is ongoing.
On its "Time to Play Fair" website that outlines its dispute with Apple, Spotify recently changed wording reflecting the SiriKit changes in iOS 13. It used to read as follows: "Apple won't allow us to be on HomePod and they definitely won't let us connect with Siri to play your jams."
After an update, the website now says the following: "Only recently, Apple announced that it will let us connect with Siri to play your jams...but fails to mention our name ("I want to play [X] on Spotify") and your HomePod will default to Apple Music." The wording changes suggest Spotify will indeed implement Siri support, but the company still seems to be unhappy with the inability to set Spotify as the default music service on Apple devices.
After partnering with Hulu, Spotify today announced that it will bundle its Premium plan with AT&T's most expensive wireless offering. Specifically, if you pay for AT&T's Unlimited &More Premium plan, you'll have the option to get a Spotify Premium monthly subscription at no extra cost (via Variety).
AT&T's Unlimited &More Premium plans start at $80 monthly per line, and if you are an existing Spotify Premium customer who has &More Premium, you'll be able to keep your current Spotify account when signing up for the offer.
Spotify is one of seven options in AT&T's entertainment bundle, and customers can also choose one of the following as their free add-on: HBO, Cinemax, VRV, Showtime, Starz, or Pandora.
“We continue to build relationships with world-class partners like AT&T to bring our Spotify Premium product to new audiences in the U.S. and across the globe,” Marc Hazan, Spotify’s VP of premium partnerships, said in a statement.
AT&T will also offer select wireless customers a six-month free trial of Spotify Premium. According to AT&T, this is the beginning of an "ongoing collaboration" with Spotify, which just reached 108 million paid subscribers around the world as of June.
The new AT&T entertainment bundle with Spotify Premium will be available from tomorrow, August 6.