Spotify struck a special deal with Google that lets it pay no commission to Google when people sign up for subscriptions using the music streaming service’s own payment system on Android, according to new testimony in the ongoing Epic v. Google trial first reported by The Verge. As part of the same deal, Spotify paid Google just four percent commission if users signed up for the service through Google, far less than most other apps which typically pay 15 percent for subscriptions through the Google Play Store.
“Listening to music is one of [the phone’s] core purposes… if we don’t have Spotify working properly across Play services and core services, people will not buy Android phones”, Google’s partnerships head Don Harrison reportedly said in court. Both Google and Spotify also agreed to put $50 million each in a “success fund” as part of the deal.
The remarks were made as part of a lawsuit first filed against Google by Epic Games, the maker of the wildly popular Fortnite, in 2020. Epic claimed that Google’s Play Store on Android was an illegal monopoly that forced app makers to part with huge sums of cash in exchange for offering users in-app purchases through the Play Store. Epic filed a similar lawsuit against Apple in 2021, which it lost.