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Spotify boss urges UK to enact tougher regulation of tech gatekeepers

Spotify’s chief executive Daniel Ek has called on the UK government to use its post-Brexit autonomy to introduce stricter rules for big tech companies that dominate the digital market. Ek also expressed his concerns that the current regulations on artificial intelligence (AI) would soon become outdated and ineffective.

Spotify’s struggle with Apple and Google

Spotify, the world’s largest music streaming service, has been locked in a long-running dispute with Apple and Google over their app store policies and fees. Spotify claims that these tech giants abuse their market power and stifle competition by imposing unfair terms and conditions on app developers and users.

Spotify has filed a complaint against Apple with the European Commission, accusing it of violating antitrust laws by charging a 30% commission on in-app purchases and restricting Spotify’s access to features such as Siri and HomePod. Spotify has also joined a coalition of app developers called the Coalition for App Fairness, which advocates for a more level playing field for app makers.

Google, which owns YouTube Music, another rival of Spotify, has also faced criticism for its dominance of the online advertising market and its influence over search results and web browsers. Google has been fined billions of euros by the European Union for breaching antitrust rules in various sectors.

Spotify boss urges UK to enact tougher regulation of tech gatekeepers

Ek’s call for UK action

In an interview with the Financial Times, Ek said that the UK had an opportunity to create a more competitive and innovative digital environment after leaving the EU. He said that the UK should adopt a more proactive and forward-looking approach to regulating big tech companies, rather than relying on existing laws that were designed for a different era.

Ek said that he was not against big tech companies per se, but rather against their anti-competitive practices that harm consumers and creators. He said that he wanted to see more diversity and choice in the digital market, and more transparency and accountability from the tech giants.

Ek also said that he was worried about the impact of AI on society and the economy, and that he hoped that the UK would take a leading role in setting ethical standards and safeguards for AI development and use. He said that he believed that AI could be a force for good, but that it also posed significant risks and challenges that needed to be addressed.

Ek said that he was impressed by the UK’s innovation and talent in the tech sector, and that he hoped that Spotify could contribute to its growth and success. He said that Spotify had invested heavily in the UK, where it had more than 300 employees and millions of users. He also revealed that Spotify was planning to launch a new podcast studio in London later this year.

The UK’s digital strategy

The UK government has said that it is committed to making the UK a global leader in digital innovation and regulation. It has announced plans to create a new Digital Markets Unit (DMU) within the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which will have powers to enforce a code of conduct for tech platforms that have significant market power.

The government has also launched a consultation on its National Data Strategy, which aims to unlock the potential of data for the benefit of individuals, businesses and society. The strategy covers topics such as data governance, data access, data quality, data skills and data ethics.

The government has also set up an AI Council, an independent expert committee that advises on AI policy and strategy. The council is composed of representatives from academia, industry, civil society and government. The council has published a roadmap for AI in the UK, which outlines 16 recommendations for enhancing AI research, innovation, adoption and ethics.

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