Spotify’s EU lobbying spend totaled nearly $1 million last year amid the app store fight, data shows

Photo credit: Spotify

With ongoing efforts to take regulatory action against the App Store in both the United States and Europe, Spotify lost nearly $1 million to EU lobbying last year, according to recently released data.

The Stockholm-based platform’s considerable lobbying spend came to light with LobbyFacts, a project by EU lobbying watchdogs Corporate Europe Observatory and LobbyControl. According to the resource, which pulls relevant self-reported data from the EU transparency registerSpotify raked in between €800,000 and €899,999 ($861,363 and $969,032 at the current exchange rate) in “lobbying costs” in the EU in 2022.

This is the same area that LobbyFacts identified for 2021, but represents a significant increase from the €650,000 in EU lobbying spend Spotify reported for 2019. (The corresponding profile does not show the streaming giant’s lobbying costs for the pandemic-hit 2020.) Meanwhile, the Rockstar Energy-affiliated company announced that three full-time lobbyists are acting on its behalf, and has the profile has attended 73 high-level meetings of the European Commission to date.

The latter excludes any “lobby meetings with junior staff” and is not necessarily indicative of politically significant meetings. For example, among the few high-level meetings allocated to Spotify in 2022, one outing in July concerned “preparation of September meeting with CEO” Daniel Ek, who personally traveled to Brussels nine months ago.

Of course, Spotify’s longstanding campaign against app store fees and rules is no secret; The service first targeted Apple Music parent company in an EU competition complaint more than four years ago. Following the lobbying initiatives described above, in late February 2023 the European Commission narrowed the scope of the relevant investigation to focus specifically on the music streaming space.

In the US, Ek visited Washington in April this year to lobby for the Open App Markets Act, a bipartisan law (introduced in August 2021) that, according to the text, aims to “promote competition and empower gatekeepers in the app -Reduce economy, increase choice, improve quality and lower costs for consumers.”

However, there is evidence that Spotify – which has embraced artificial intelligence (and touted its unprecedented creative impact) – is also working to protect its AI interests as the EU moves closer to passing the aptly named AI law. LobbyFacts shows that two of the company’s three high-level commission meetings up to this point in 2023 have been about artificial intelligence.

Finally, of note is the still-rising share price of Spotify (NYSE:SPOT), which hit a fresh 52-week high of $154.55 per share today — a nearly 90 percent rebound since the start of 2023 and a Increase of about 94 percent reflects in the last six months.