Google is teaming up with Spotify to provide user choice billing, rather than locking users into Google’s payment options.
In recent years, billing options within app ecosystems have become a major source of contention between developers, lawmakers, and the companies that run the app stores. Apple and Google have both taken heat for locking users into their payment systems, but Google is now opening that door a bit, beginning with Spotify.
Spotify was a natural choice for Google to partner with. The company has been a long-time advocate for billing choice, and is one of the biggest subscription-based apps on the market. Google announced the plans in a blog post:
We’ll be partnering with developers to explore different implementations of user-choice billing, starting with Spotify. As one of the world’s largest subscription developers with a global footprint and integrations across a wide range of device form factors, they’re a natural first partner. Together, we’ll work to innovate in how consumers make in-app purchases, deliver engaging experiences across multiple devices, and bring more consumers to the Android platform.
Spotify will be introducing Google Play’s billing system alongside their current billing system, and their perspective as our first partner will be invaluable. This pilot will help us to increase our understanding of whether and how user choice billing works for users in different countries and for developers of different sizes and categories.
Google didn’t mention what other developers it will be working with, but emphasizes this was a first step toward closer collaboration with the developer community, a step Spotify welcomes.
“Spotify is on a years-long journey to ensure app developers have the freedom to innovate and compete on a level playing field,” said Spotify’s Alex Norström, Chief Freemium Business Officer. “We’re excited to be partnering with Google to explore this approach to payment choice and opportunities for developers, users and the entire internet ecosystem. We hope the work we’ll do together blazes a path that will benefit the rest of the industry.”