Spotify CEO calls on Congress to pass app store antitrust legislation

Daniel Ek said the Open App Markets Act would counteract the anti-competitive practices of internet gatekeepers

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek is calling on Congress to OK an antitrust bill that would lead to what he claims is a "fair digital future."

In a Wednesday blog post, he said the bipartisan Open App Markets Act would help to reshape the digital landscape and foster a future of innovation, collaboration and fair competition.

Ek is in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to support the legislation, which the Swedish billionaire said would promote competition by providing basic checks on the anticompetitive behavior of app store gatekeepers that harm developers and consumers.

He specifically called out tech giant Apple, saying it prohibits competition by restricting developers' engagement with their own users, including on features, deals and new products. 

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Daniel Ek

Founder and CEO of Spotify Daniel Ek speaks onstage during the Spotify press announcement on May 20, 2015, in New York City. (Noam Galai/WireImage via / Getty Images)

"For instance, Apple promotes deals for Apple Music to Spotify customers, but denies us the same privilege. What’s even more unbelievable, is that we can’t even tell our users the basics of how to sign up for a Spotify subscription or how to purchase audiobooks," Ek said. "This leaves customers without the ability to make informed choices about the services and pricing options available to them."

He said he speaks to developers every day who are "disadvantaged by the small number of gatekeepers controlling the internet," including "abuses by gatekeepers like Apple." 

Ek noted that while Apple has played a significant role in helping to make the phone and tablet the most common gateways to the internet, the internet was not built to be controlled by a small group of dominant players. 

The Apple app store logo reflected on the back of an iPhone

This illustration photo shows the Apple app store logo reflected from an iPhone onto the back of an iMac in Los Angeles, Aug. 26, 2021. (Chris Delmas/AFP via / Getty Images)

"Under this current system that enables gatekeepers to dictate their own self-serving terms, consumers often end up paying more. Additionally, any aspiring entrepreneur wanting to create a company not beholden to these arbitrary rules really doesn’t stand a chance," he continued.

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Without action, Ek worried that the U.S. was falling behind, highlighting the importance of Europe's Digital Markets Act.

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Despite previous approval from the Senate and House Judiciary Committees, Congress did not take up the Open App Markets Act before the end of the year. 

Daniel Ek speaking

Daniel Ek speaks during a product launch event at the Barclays Center, Aug. 9, 2018, in Brooklyn. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images / Getty Images)

"This is why we’ve arrived at an inflection point with a clear choice: To fight for an open, competitive marketplace that fosters creativity and enables entrepreneurs to develop and promote their products, or to continue to allow a handful of companies to hold the keys to the internet and advantage themselves at the expense of others," Ek asserted.

Apple – and Google – have pushed back on allegations that their app stores have anticompetitive practices. 

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Apple, which requires app developers to use its Apple App Store on iOS devices, argues the company's regulations promote safe and secure app stores for users. 

Apple did not immediately respond to FOX Business' request for comment.