Spotify and Google struck a secret deal when it comes to Play Store fees

  • During the current Epic vs. Google trial, an executive confirmed that Spotify has a deal in place when it comes to Play Store fees.
  • The deal sees Spotify pay nothing if the streaming platform processes subscriber payments itself, but pay a 4 percent fee if it happens on the Play Store.
  • The normal Play Store is around 15 percent for in-app subscriptions.

With the Epic vs. Google trial still ongoing, each day brings with it new revelations as to the inner workings of these tech giants. The latest involves Spotify and how the music streaming platform has seemingly circumvented the usual Play Store fees that many other applications must adhere to be a part of Google’s marketplace.

The revelation came via Don Harrison, Google’s head of partnership, who was giving his testimony and shared the fact that Spotify pays far different fees than other applications thanks to a secret deal that was hashed out between the streaming platform and Google.

To that end, where most other applications pay around 15 percent in Play Store fees for subscription-based applications, Spotify only pays 4 percent.

Per The Verge, Spotify pays no fees whatsoever should the platform process a payment itself.

“A small number of developers that invest more directly in Android and Play may have different service fees as part of a broader partnership that includes substantial financial investments and product integrations across different form factors. These key investment partnerships allow us to bring more users to Android and Play by continuously improving the experience for all users and creating new opportunities for all developers,” Google spokesperson Dan Jackson told the publication in an official statement following the testimony.

On the investment fronts, Harrison also mentioned that both Spotify and Google have committed to invest $50 million each in a “success fund”, although it is not clear what this fund’s objective is.

Along with this information coming to light, The Verge highlighted the fact that Netflix was propositioned for a similar deal by Google too, with Netflix potentially only paying 10 percent in Play Store fees, but the streaming platform chose not to go ahead with the deal.

With app store fees, especially when it comes to making use of third-paty applications to facilitate payments being a particular sticking point in recent years, it’s clear that not all apps are treated the same on certain marketplaces.

This trial, which began earlier this year, kicked off as Epic did not wish to adopt user-choice billing. It has since been revealed during the trial that Google tried to pay Epic $197 million to bring Fortnite to the Play Store in 2021, but the deal was rejected.

This likely won’t be the last revelation, as we saw with Microsoft and the FTC earlier this year. Either way, the machinations of big tech are being shared with the world.

[Image – Photo by charlesdeluvio on Unsplash]


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