Spotify has entered into a special agreement with Google. Its terms allow Spotify to avoid paying Google fees when users subscribe to Android using the streaming service’s own payment system. This came to light through testimony in Epic Games’ ongoing lawsuit against Google.
Under the same deal, Spotify paid Google just a 4% commission if users signed up for the service through Google. This is much less than what most other apps pay for a subscription through the Google Play Store – the usual commission rate is 15%. As part of the deal, Google and Spotify agreed to contribute $50 million each to a “success fund.”
“Listening to music is one of the main goals [телефона]… if we don’t have Spotify working properly across all Play and core services, people won’t buy Android phones,” Google’s head of partnerships, Don Harrison, said in court.
In a separate comment, a Google spokesperson explained that “the small number of developers who are most invested in Android and Play may have different service fees as part of the broader partnership.” These investment partnerships bring more users to Android and Play, “continuously improving the experience for all users and creating new opportunities for all developers.”
Epic Games filed a lawsuit against Google in 2020, accusing the search giant of using the Google Play Store on Android as an illegal monopoly and forcing app developers to pay unreasonably high fees for in-app purchases. A similar lawsuit was brought against Apple.
Spotify initially supported Epic in its fight against Google and Apple. But in 2022, the company joined Google’s User Choice Billing program, which allows Android apps to use their own payment systems in exchange for cutting Google’s fees. The special deal revealed in court showed Google is willing to make even more exceptions for popular apps like Spotify.