Spotify and Deezer call for a level European playing field with the American tech giants

January 2018



Spotify and Deezer have urged European legislators to ensure that the globally dominant giant US technology companies (primarily Apple, Amazon and Google) don’t abuse their position as gatekeepers to digital consumers, not least as all three tech giants make and operate devices, control transaction platforms and content services, and many feel they utilise the first two to promote the latter – and that might be unfair to streaming platforms like Spotify and Deezer – big in their sector, but dwarfed by the likes of Google. 

The Financial Times reported that Spotify chief Daniel Ek and Deezer CEO Hans-Holger Albrecht  have now sent a letter to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, urging the European Union to ensure “a level playing field” which would prevent American tech giants from “regularly abusing their advantaged position”. The letter, also signed the gaming sector, has been sent the EC because the EC is actively considering new rules for how big tech companies work with smaller firms whose digital tools and services are sold and/or distributed via the former’s platforms. Both Spotify and Deezer put their names to a similar letter back in May.

Spotify and Deezer are upset that Apple takes a 30 percent cut of the subscription fee when people sign up for its service through Apple’s App Store, not least as Apple offers a competing music service of its own.  In June, EU regulators levied a record €2.4 billion fine against Google for demoting rivals and unfairly promoting its own services. Europe’s premier music services will be looking to Brussels to adopt a similar approach to platforms run by other American tech titans.

The new letter calls for “clear and enforceable obligations that are a deterrent and prevent unfair businesses practices by platforms” adding “These obligations should include but go beyond mere transparency requirements, which alone will not ensure platforms act as gateways rather than become gatekeepers to the digital economy”.

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