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What is Google Play User Choice Billing that's just kicking off with Spotify?

By Roland Udvarlaki March 24, 2022, 9:19 am
Google Play Store logo Source: Pocketnow

Google announced that it would allow applications to use their own payment system on the Google Play Store, for as long as the original and built-in Google Play Store billing system is included, alongside the other third-party options. Google will start a pilot program, and the first app to join for the test is Spotify.

In a blog post, Google today announced that it’s “exploring user choice billing” in select countries and with a small number of participating developers. The first most notable company to join is Spotify.

“This pilot will allow a small number of participating developers to offer an additional billing option next to Google Play’s billing system and is designed to help us explore ways to offer this choice to users, while maintaining our ability to invest in the ecosystem. This is a significant milestone and the first on any major app store — whether on mobile, desktop, or game consoles.”

Spotify is “one of the largest subscription developers with a global footprint”, and the company will work on improving in-app purchases. It’s not clear what payment system Spotify will use to sign up new subscribers, or what, if any, perks it will offer to users to use its own payment solution. The company said in its announcement that users will have a choice to pay either with Spotify’s payment system or Google Play Billing when first signing up for the service. The two options will be shown side-by-side in the app, and every user will have the choice to pick whichever they prefer.


“Users who’ve downloaded Spotify from the Google Play Store will be presented with a choice to pay with either Spotify’s payment system or with Google Play Billing. For the first time, these two options will live side by side in the app. This will give everyone the freedom to subscribe and make purchases using the payment option of their choice directly in the Spotify app. Spotify will continue to freely communicate with users about our Premium subscription service, promote discounts and promotions, and give listeners on our Free tier the ability to convert to Premium directly in the app.

Over the coming months, Spotify will work with Google’s product and engineering teams to build this new experience, and we’ll roll out in countries around the world. Working together, the companies will test and learn, jointly exploring product innovations across the Android platform. We anticipate launching the first iteration of User Choice Billing later this year.

Spotify has been publicly advocating for platform fairness and expanded payment options, among other things, because fair and open platforms enable better consumer experiences and allow developers to grow and thrive—when this happens everyone wins.”

We previously heard thatSouth Korea forced Google and Apple to allow third-party payment solutions, and while both companies complied, they managed to get around the legislation by forcing developers to pay a fee from subscriptions, even if they’re made outside of the built-in payment system. The cut has been lowered, but developers are still required to pay. Needless to say, today’s announcement is a massive win for the industry, and it remains to be seen how well it will be received by the businesses and the consumers.


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