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Google cuts Play Store fees for subscriptions and music streaming apps

·Contributing Writer
·2 min read

Google is cutting Play Store service fees for more developers. The company currently charges a 30 percent commission for the first 12 months of a recurring subscription, which drops to 15 percent after the first year. Starting on January 1st, Google will lower the service fee to 15 percent from day one. The company said it's making the change because developers say "customer churn makes it challenging for subscription businesses to benefit from that reduced rate."

Elsewhere, fees for music streaming apps and e-books will be as low as 10 percent. "The new rates recognize industry economics of media content verticals and make Google Play work better for developers and the communities of artists, musicians and authors they represent," Sameer Samat, vice president of product management for Android and Google Play, wrote in a blog post. The service fees for apps "primarily offering video, audio or books in which users pay to consume content" will be between 10 and 15 percent if they meet certain conditions as part of the Play Media Experience Program.

Earlier this year, Google reduced its Play Store fees from 30 percent to 15 percent for the first $1 million in annual income that an app generates. The company said that move would cut the fees that 99 percent of Android developers pay the company by half.

Apple has also slashed App Store fees in certain cases over the last two years. Apps that make under $1 million in annual revenue, news organizations who use Apple News and some streaming video services give Apple 15 percent of payments rather than the standard 30 percent. However, as CNBC notes, Apple still takes a 30 percent slice of subscriptions for the first year before lowering its cut to 15 percent, so Google's making its move before Apple this time around.

Google and Apple have been facing more intense antitrust scrutiny over their app stores in recent times. Dozens of state attorneys general filed suit against Google in July, in which they accused the company of maintaining a monopoly over Android app distribution.

Both companies are tangled up in litigation with Epic Games as well. Apple largely won its case against Epic, though it asked for a stay in the sole ruling in Epic's favor: a requirement to let App Store developers direct users to alternate forms of making payments. Google, meanwhile, countersued Epic this month for bypassing fees on in-app purchases and allegedly violating the Play Store developer agreement.