Google admits Spotify’s Play Store fee exemption

In the ongoing Epic v. Google trial, The Verge reveals that Spotify secured a unique deal with Google for Android-based payments. According to Google’s global partnerships head, Don Harrison, Spotify paid no commission for subscriptions through its system, but 4% if users chose Google—a significant reduction from Google’s 15% fee.

Google’s Effort to Keep Numbers Private

Google aimed to keep Spotify’s numbers confidential during the antitrust battle with Epic, citing potential harm to negotiations with other app developers. The User Choice Billing program, launched in 2022, reduces the Play Store commission by about 4%, often resulting in minimal savings for developers.

Spotify’s Unique Deal Justification

Don Harrison emphasized Spotify’s unparalleled popularity as the reason for a “bespoke” deal, stating that if Spotify didn’t work well on Android, people might avoid buying Android phones. The agreement included a $50 million commitment from both companies to a “success fund.”

Google’s Response and Other Developer Deals

Google acknowledged the unique arrangement with Spotify and noted that some developers might have different fees in broader partnerships. However, specific developers receiving better rates were not disclosed. It was revealed during the trial that Google offered Netflix a 10 percent discount, but Netflix declined and now avoids in-app purchases on Android.

Spotify’s History of Fee Complaints

Spotify, dissatisfied with in-app purchase fees, dropped support for Apple’s App Store billing in mid-2023 to avoid a potential 30% commission. While Epic continues its legal battle, Spotify seems to have found a less complicated and cost-effective resolution with Google.