Apparently not one to mince words, Last.fm founder Richard Jones lambasted Apple for their recently announced app store subscription rules.
“Apple just fucked over online music subs for the iPhone,” Jones wrote in an IRC chat earlier this week. Two days ago, Rhapsody also chastised Apple’s new policy, explaining that giving Apple a 30% cut on all subscriptions originating from an iOS app wasn’t economically viable.
Taking things further, Jones angrily theorized that by effectively preventing subscription services like Rhapsody and Spotify from thriving on iTunes, Apple is paving the way for its own music subscription service where it will, surprise surprise, face little to no competition. Apple, though, has expressed little, if any, interest in setting up a subscription music service. Steve Jobs famously likes to say that “people want to own their music, not rent it.” But let’s say Apple pulls an about face and offers iTunes subscriptions down the line, the anti-competitive implications of Apple’s 30% subscription rule might then carry some weight. As it stands now, it’s hard to plausibly argue that Apple is in violation of anti-trust regulations when market competition with the iOS app store and the iPhone is immense.
Jones, however, does acknowledge that subscriptions via a dedicated app is simpler than via the web, and while he appreciates the inherent ease of use for consumers, he’s none too thrilled about what this means for subscription services.
“I don’t imagine spotify’s margins are anywhere near 30%, so subs via itunes are useless to them,” Jones said. “So basically, people on the iphone will *always* subscribe using itunes, because it’s easier… better for the consumer, except many services can’t survive a 30pc loss of revenue.”
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