Google Rolls Out User Choice Billing with Spotify

Posted on November 13, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in Google, Mobile, Android with 1 Comment

Bowing to antitrust complaints, Google has rolled out the first implementation of user choice billing with Spotify for Android.

“We’ve been working closely with the Spotify team and are excited to announce that this week they begin rolling out an initial test implementation of user choice billing to their users in select countries,” Google vice president Paul Feng writes. “We expect the experience will likely evolve over time as they continue to iterate and learn.”

Spotify has been at the forefront of the fight to force app store gatekeepers like Apple and Google to relinquish their requirements that app developers use their expensive and exclusionary in-house payment systems. So far, Apple has strongly resisted this lucrative if unfair revenue stream, but in working with Spotify, Google shows that it understands where the world is heading.

“Going forward, Android users will soon be able to choose how to pay for their Spotify subscription in the way that best suits them,” a related Spotify announcement notes. “In the coming weeks, we’ll expand our test to even more markets.”

Bumble will follow Spotify in piloting user choice billing, Google says, and the new billing option is now expanding to the United States, Brazil, and South Africa after initially being available in Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, and the European Economic Area.

User choice billing is a positive step forward, but it’s only a step: in a truly open app ecosystem, the developer could choose which billing system(s) to use based on which was the most advantageous to them instead of putting the onus on users. But you have to start somewhere.