Look out Apple: Spotify is coming after iTunes users
Music streaming service Spotify has a major announcement… and it’s not the date of its US launch. The company announced Wednesday morning that it would begin offering iTunes and iPod integration to premium subscribers, with a bonus MP3 store for those who want to purchase the songs they have been streaming. With this move, Spotify is aggressively courting Apple’s vast user base, possibly in preparation for its long-anticipated launch in the US.
The first part of Spotify’s announcement involves integration with “classic” style iPods, such as the iPod classic, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle. Normally, users can only manage the playlists for those devices through iTunes software on the Mac or Windows, but Spotify says that users can now plug in their devices and have them appear in the Spotify sidebar for song management. From there, you can sync your Spotify playlists and any MP3s you have in them to your iPod, just like you would through iTunes.
Spotify also announced a new music download service to go hand-in-hand with its streaming service. Now, when users spend time crafting their streaming playlists, they can purchase (some of) those songs directly from Spotify in order to sync them with their non-streaming devices. “By introducing a range of MP3 bundles, we’ve been able to offer you some of the most competitive prices available—from as little as 50p per song,” Spotify wrote on its blog.
(Spotify also announced that Spotify Mobile apps for iPhone and Android can wirelessly sync MP3 playlists to their devices through the Spotify sidebar. Take that, iTunes!)
The introduction of Spotify’s MP3 download service and subsequent iPod integration comes less than a month after the company said it was cutting its free music hours from 20 to 10 hours per month per user, and limiting users to five free plays per track. The company didn’t offer an explanation for the change, but anonymous sources said that the music labels “encouraged” Spotify to cut back its free offerings by suggesting the business model wouldn’t survive otherwise. “Spotify desperately wants to show labels high levels of conversion and will get higher levels of conversion by ratcheting back free,” one anonymous source said.
Since Spotify’s new iPod syncing feature is only limited to premium subscribers, it’s clear that the latest announcements are meant to move users into paying tiers. And those buying MP3s from Spotify will have to shell out extra money whether they’re a subscriber or not, adding even more padding to Spotify’s bottom line.
This also marks a slight shift from Spotify’s original business model—which was to offer various levels of streaming service—and puts it more into competition with traditional download services like iTunes and Amazon. We’re almost willing to say Spotify has a leg up, too, by giving iPod users more software and syncing options and by allowing iPhone and Android users to sync their music wirelessly. You certainly can’t do that kind of syncing through iTunes yet, and Amazon’s software really only facilitates the downloading of songs from Amazon MP3. Frankly, it’s making those of us stuck here in the US want to try out Spotify more than ever—which is definitely the point.Book Mark it-> del.icio.us | Reddit | Slashdot | Digg | Facebook | Technorati | Google | StumbleUpon | Window Live | Tailrank | Furl | Netscape | Yahoo | BlinkList