Apple in iOS 13 is introducing SiriKit changes that will allow Siri to play music, podcasts, audiobooks, and radio from third-party apps, which seems to be the feature that the two companies have been discussing.
The SiriKit changes will let Spotify and other developers build Siri support into their apps, letting users control audio playback with Siri commands. Users will be able to use commands like “Hey Siri, play Fleetwood Mac from Spotify” to access Spotify instead of Apple Music.
Apple has similar Siri features for third-party messaging apps, allowing Siri commands to be used to send messages using WhatsApp and other apps instead of the Messages app. Siri commands also work with third-party ride sharing, workout, payments, photo, and VoIP apps.
Should Apple and Spotify come to an agreement about the new feature, Apple Music is expected to remain the default music streaming service on Apple devices when users ask Siri to play songs, according to one of the sources that spoke to The Information.
The conversations between Apple and Spotify come following a March antitrust complaint from Spotify in the European Union, where Spotify claimed that Apple’s App Store rules “limit choice and stifle innovation at the expense of the user experience.”
In its complaint, Spotify called out Apple’s 30 percent fee for third-party apps in the App Store, which Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said gives Apple an “unfair advantage” for Apple Music. Ek also complained about Apple’s “experience-limiting restrictions,” locking Spotify and other competitors out of services like Siri.
Spotify’s complaint has resulted in a formal investigation of Apple’s App Store practices by the European Competition Commission, which is ongoing.
On its “Time to Play Fair” website that outlines its dispute with Apple, Spotify recently changed wording reflecting the SiriKit changes in iOS 13. It used to read as follows: “Apple won’t allow us to be on HomePod and they definitely won’t let us connect with Siri to play your jams.”
After an update, the website now says the following: “Only recently, Apple announced that it will let us connect with Siri to play your jams…but fails to mention our name (“I want to play [X] on Spotify”) and your HomePod will default to Apple Music.” The wording changes suggest Spotify will indeed implement Siri support, but the company still seems to be unhappy with the inability to set Spotify as the default music service on Apple devices.