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Spotify says Apple's App Store changes omit 'price flexibility,' customer data

Apple's planned changes to the App Store still don't address some fundamental problems, a Spotify executive said on Thursday, hinting that the music service's in-app subscription fees are likely to remain unchanged.

The App Store's upcoming changes will still prevent "price flexibility," Spotify's head of corporate communications and global policy — Jonathan Prince — told The Verge. That means that the company can't provide conditional sales or discounts, something it's known for elsewhere.

Spotify normally charges $9.99 per month for Premium access, sometimes offering discounts like a three-month trial for 99 cents. People subscribing through the iOS app have to pay $12.99 per month, meant to compensate for Apple's standard 30 percent cut of all in-app purchases, even subscriptions. Spotify has encouraged customers to subscribe through other platforms first, then sign into the iOS app.

Prince also raised concerns about the lack of data Apple provides about customers, a long-standing complaint from many subscription services, particularly magazines and newspapers dependent on advertising.

"Apple still insists on inserting itself between developers and their customers, which means developers will continue to lack visibility into why customers churn — or who even qualifies as a long-term subscriber," he explained.

Starting June 13, Apple will be halving its cut to 15 percent for app subscribers who maintain their service for a year, with a 60-day grace period during which customers can cancel and resubscribe. Beginning in the fall, the company will also let services charge a higher rate for new subscribers while keeping prices lower for existing customers.