Spotify and Deezer urge EU to act on unfair competitive practices

Top executives from a number of European companies, including Spotify co-founder Daniel Ek, Deezer CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht, plus a number of games publishers and developers, have written a joint letter to the European Commission, asking it to clamp down on big US tech companies, including Apple and Amazon, which they accuse of unfair competition that harms the smaller companies that rely on their services, the FT reports.

In the letter to Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, the execs called on Brussels to ensure “a level playing field” by reining in platforms that are “regularly abusing their advantaged position”, by virtue of the fact that they are both platform operators, and competitors to the likes of Spotify and Deezer.

The streaming services say that they are at a disadvantage when customers buy their services via Apple’s App Store as Apple takes a 30 per cent cut of the subscription fee. Some might see this as a slightly odd reason to complain, however, as that’s just how the App Store works. The companies also complain that the platforms do not share full access to user data.

The European Commission is in the process of drawing up new rules to regulate how the big tech firms deal with the app developers and other vendors who sell on their platforms. Spotify and Deezer may well take heart from the fact that the EU seems to be losing patience with companie that abuse their position of power. In June, it fined Google €2.4bn for unfairly favouring its own shopping service, after complaints from TripAdvisor and UK shopping comparison site Foundem, which is also a signatory to the Spotify/Deezer letter.