In March 2022 Spotify and Google announced that the streaming service would be the pilot tester for ‘user choice billing’ on Android.
That was Google’s move to enable apps to use their own billing systems – for subscriptions in this case – rather than be forced to use its in-app purchases. They would then give Google a cut.
The pilot duly launched in November that year. Would you like to know the terms of the deal? Google isn’t keen on that.
Its legal battle with Fortnite developer Epic Games is in court this week, and The Verge reported that Google has requested that the court should “seal portions of an upcoming exhibit revealing Google’s User Choice Billing agreement with Spotify”.
Google’s attorney said that “Disclosure of the Spotify deal would be very, very detrimental for the negotiation we’d be having with those other parties”.
However, Epic’s lawyer clapped back with “There is a rate set much much lower than the rates you’ve been hearing about at trial, and that is going to be an important part of what you’re going to be hearing about”.
Spotify’s rivals, music rightsholders and Apple will be all ears if the sealing request is denied.