Spotify Premium users on iPhone are in for some bad news — here's why

Smartphone running Spotify
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Spotify is finally doing away with Apple’s “Apple tax” for good. As reported by Variety, the music streaming service is ending the ability for legacy Spotify Premium subscribers to pay for their subscriptions through the Apple App Store. 

Spotify had already removed the option to pay via the App Store back in 2016 for new subscribers so it could avoid paying Apple the 30% commission that Apple charges on in-app purchases — including subscriptions. 

Commonly referred to as the “Apple tax,” this fee has been a nuisance to companies like Spotify and Netflix for years, and it's why some of these companies have transitioned to forcing new subscribers to sign up on websites outside of their iOS apps.

But, for iPhone or iPad users that were already paying for Spotify through the App Store when the music streaming service made this change, Spotify bit the bullet and let you continue paying through Apple’s platform. Unfortunately, it now seems that, for some reason, Spotify has had enough of giving Apple its money and is pulling this convenient payment option from what are probably some of Spotify’s most loyal customers. After all, these users have been paying for Spotify Premium since 2016. 

What to do if you pay for Spotify Premium through the App Store

Apple Music logo and Spotify logo on phones

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you’re one of these legacy customers, I have bad news for you. Not only is Spotify taking away your convenient payment method — it’s adding insult to injury.

According to the email Spotify has been sending these legacy customers, Spotify is automatically downgrading affected accounts to Spotify’s Free ad-supported tier at the end of their next billing cycle. Users will then need to resubscribe to Premium through Spotify’s own site. 

That’s right, not only do you have to change your payment method, but you have to re-subscribe. And there is no way around this.

If you wish to keep your Premium subscription, you will need to re-subscribe after your last billing period has ended and your account has been moved on to the Free account.

Spotify (Variety)

I’m willing to give Spotify the benefit of the doubt that there are technical reasons why it just can’t change the billing method for these customers. As Apple currently controls the payment method, there may simply be no way to reconcile the separate databases of the two companies for these particular accounts.

But these are Spotify’s most loyal customers. They’ve been users for at least seven years at this point, spending hundreds of dollars on subscription fees. Making them jump through hoops and downgrading their accounts feels like the absolute wrong move if Spotify wanted to keep these customers around. Especially since these are also loyal Apple customers and now Spotify risks losing them to Apple Music

Spotify should have just moved these users to Spotify’s system and given them a free month of Premium when notifying them of the change. That way, not only does it build goodwill during a change, but if these users don’t add a payment method and get downgraded to a Free account, then that’s on them. But by going the route Spotify has chosen, it has only itself to blame if dissatisfied customers leave.

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Malcolm McMillan
Senior Streaming Writer

Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.

Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.