Spotify, after fundamentally changing the way in which Europeans find and listen to music via their computers, is now setting its sites on the mobile world. Its existing service, which is accessed via an iTunes-style desktop client, enables users to instantly stream entire albums and share custom playlists. For many, it feels like the Napster revolution all over again, but without the threat of legal action.
The company’s next move is to hit the iPhone with a dedicated app. Free to download, the app will allow Spotify’s premium subscribers to access its service on the go. And its new “offline mode” feature will cache up to 3,333 tracks to the iPhone, allowing subscribers to listen to their playlists while offline.
So will Apple allow Spotify’s app into its App Store? Given that Spotify proposes to rent to its subscribers what Apple is trying to sell, it seems highly unlikely.
Spotify is confident it will. “We’ve a great relationship with Apple, think the iPhone is awesome and absolutely expect them to approve the app in the next few weeks,“ CEO Daniel Ek told paidContent: UK, adding that the company has “spent significant time and resources to ensure we’ve stuck to Apple’s developer guidelines point by point.”
Several apps, including Google Voice, have already been rejected from the App Store. And Apple is purportedly working on making iTunes a more compelling experience for users, although this effort will apparently only involve video clips and liner notes included with album downloads. Spotify, on the other hand, already has the social aspect covered. The desktop application supports Last.fm submissions — unlike iTunes — and music from Spotify can be shared with other subscribers. Sites dedicated to sharing Spotify playlists, such as ShareMyPlaylist.com, are increasingly popping up across the web.
So the arrival of an app that brings the music streaming service — and with it the ability to download tracks for offline play on the iPhone or iPod touch — poses a genuine threat to Apple’s iTunes Store business. After all, liner notes and video clips are unlikely to be enough to tempt users away from unlimited access to Spotify’s impressive library.