iOS music apps in the EU can now send users to external websites for purchase

The EU started investigating Apple in March overs its compliance with the Digital Markets Act.


Apple will make it easier for you to pay for music purchases and subscriptions outside of its payment system, if you're living in a European Union country. As first noticed by 9to5Mac, the company has updated its Apple Developer guidelines page to state that iOS and iPadOS music streaming apps "in specific regions" can now include a link to an external website where you can find alternative ways to pay for content and services. Developers can also ask you to provide your email address, so they could send you a link to that website.

In early March, the European Union slapped Apple with a €1.8 billion ($1.95 billion) fine for preventing music streaming app developers from informing iOS users "about alternative and cheaper music subscription services available outside of the app and from providing any instructions about how to subscribe to such offers." This anti-steering practice, the European Commission said, is illegal under the bloc's new Digital Markets Act (DMA) rules, which became applicable in May 2023.

By the end of March, EU officials revealed that they were investigating Apple, Meta and Google over their compliance with the DMA. The commission wasn't happy with the changes the companies made in order to adhere to the law, and it was concerned that they were still constraining "developers' ability to freely communicate and promote offers and directly conclude contracts, including by imposing various charges." With these recent changes, music apps can be more transparent about their pricing, so you can make an informed choice on whether to pay via Apple or use the other methods offered by the developers.

Apple will be taking a 27 commission on proceeds apps earn from sales for digital goods or services on developers' website after a link out, according to its website. Spotify, which hasn't allowed users to subscribe through Apple's in-app purchase since 2016, told us that the company has yet to accept its app submission that includes pricing and a link out for premium purchase.

Update, April 09, 2024, 3:30AM ET: This story has been updated to include details about Apple's commission and information about Spotify's bid to get its updated app on the App Store.

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