There’s not many things that cause sleepless nights to those running big corporations – but facing a potentially even bigger adversary might just be one of them. Just ask Tim Cook at Apple – who found himself in precisely this situation only recently, and found himself firmly on the losing side.
A few years ago, the European Union decreed that new devices being sold in its territory would have to use USB-C charging ports. Apple, who had been using their own Lightning system since 2012, initially refused – but backed down when the EU threatened them with legal action. The company now uses USB-C charging ports in nearly all its devices, not just in the EU, but across the world.
Buoyed by victory, there was always the question of which behemoth the EU was going to look at next – and a clue might have appeared from a recent vote in the European Parliament. MEPs overwhelmingly voted to set up new frameworks to ensure the streaming sites paid more money to artists on their platforms – notably condemning “pre-digital royalty rates”.
Should Daniel Ek, Spotify’s follically challenged boss, be quaking in his boots yet? Probably not – but given that the EU has proved it’s currently willing to take on big corporations, he might want to keep an eye on things. The vote in the European Parliament isn’t binding – but that could change quickly if it starts entering the zeitgeist.
This could yet be the year where the streaming industry finally stops having everything its own way…