Bruce Sewell is not mincing words:
Our team has been incredibly responsive. Shortly after Spotify submitted its app on May 26, our team identified a number of issues, including that the in-app purchase feature had been removed and replaced with an account sign-up feature clearly intended to circumvent Apple’s in-app purchase rules. That feature exists only for the purpose of avoiding having to pay Apple for your use of the App Store by emailing customers within hours, directing them to subscribe to Spotify on its website. A clear violation of the terms every other developer adheres to. During a number of discussions between our team and Spotify, we explained why this sign-up feature did not comply with our guidelines and requested you resubmit a compliant version of the app. On June 10, Spotify submitted another version of the app which again incorporated the sign-up feature directing App Store customers to submit an email address so they could be contacted directly by Spotify in a continued attempt to get around our guidelines. Spotify’s app was again rejected for attempting to circumvent in-app purchase rules, and not, as you claim, because Spotify was simply seeking to communicate with its customers.
I had a little too much trust in Peter Kafka’s original report. Spotify may have “turned off its App Store billing option”, but they also introduced a clear attempt to circumvent Apple’s requirements.
Spotify is lobbying pretty hard for Apple to be investigated for anti-competitive behaviour, and it sounds like they’re getting their way — an investigation is apparently ongoing. But that doesn’t mean that regulators are going to find anything; and, in this case, Spotify was whining about their clear violation of App Store rules.