Google, historic turning point: green light for third-party payment systems. Let’s start with Spotify

Google changes the cards on the table with regards to payment systems for Play Store apps. The Mountain View house has announced the start of a pilot project that will initially involve a small number of developers who will have the opportunity to be paid by users through their billing system and no longer only through the native one of the Play Store. The the first developer to benefit from it will be Spotify.

The declared aim of the project is allow Google to better understand if and how a billing system left to the user’s free choice works in the various markets And in relation to more or less important developers. Google adds that it will share more details on the pilot program over the next few months, but the goal is to continue testing with the dual billing system over the course of 2022 and in major markets.

It’s a revolutionary move for Google, because allowing the use of a payment system outside the Play Store, managed by the developer, can also mean having to review the revenue from the commissions (99% of developers, Google says, pay commissions equal to or less than 15% of the proceeds from the sale); however, for the moment, Google has not provided details on this point. But it is also a necessary choice given that the Korean law that prohibited only billing through the Play Store as a payment system creates a precedent that could also recur in other markets.


The dual billing method will initially benefit Spotify users confirming that he has concluded a multi-year agreement with Google. Spotify was one of the most critical voices against the commissions on purchases applied to App Store transactions, so much so that in 2019 it presented a complaint against the Cupertino house at the European Commission. The managers of the popular streaming platform explain in summary what the concrete effects of the agreement with Google will be:

  • Users who have downloaded Spotify from the Play Store will be able to choose whether to pay with the Spotify payment system or with Google Play Billing. The two options will coexist in the app, for the first time. Then you can subscribe and make purchases using either method, directly from the application.
  • Spotify will continue to freely provide information on the Premium subscription service, report discounts and promotions, and offer users of the free subscription the possibility of converting it to the Premium subscription directly in the app.

As for the timing and markets in which the double billing system will be available, Spotify specifies that the novelty it will arrive in the coming months, by the end of the year at the latest. Spotify’s pilot projects will be launched in all markets where the platform offers its Premium subscription.


There is a final consideration: even Apple has been facing for years the same problems that Google is now trying to remedy by legitimizing payment systems outside its Store. The decision made official in recent hours by Google, however, marks a non-negligible difference compared to the position of the Cupertino house: Apple is forced to legitimize these payment systems in South Korea and the Netherlands after the interventions of the local authorities, Google, as mentioned. , autonomously decided to activate the pilot program in other countries as well.

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