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Spotify plotting US launch to compete with Apple's iTunes

post #1 of 44
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As Apple is rumored to be working on its own iTunes streaming music service through the acquisition of Lala, rival European service Spotify could beat Apple to the punch with a 2010 U.S. launch.

According to CNNMoney.com, the U.K.-based service is "coming soon" to the United States. A specific launch date was not given, though a spokesperson for the company said they intend to launch by the end of 2010, and rumors have suggested a debut could come as early as this summer.

Spotify offers cloud-based streaming music with more than 8 million tracks for free, with advertising support. For $15 per month, users can access the service with no ads, and can download up to 3,333 songs to an iPhone or Android handset for offline use.

With a service like Spotify, users don't actually own any of the music, but it does give the the convenience of accessing titles from anywhere, without having to transfer music to multiple computers and devices. Songs can also be purchased and downloaded from the online catalog.

Author David Goldman cited numerous analysts who feel that Spotify is a superior product to iTunes, despite the fact that its 8 million songs is less than the 11 million currently offered by iTunes. Mark Mulligan of Forrester Research said a new feature that allows users to share music and view friends' playlists on Facebook has made it a viable competitor to Apple's desktop application and content store. He also said that the arrival of Spotify in the U.S. will virtually guarantee that Apple will release a similar feature.



Late last year, Apple purchased streaming music service Lala for $85 million, leading to speculation that Apple is working on a cloud-based iTunes that would allow users to stream their music from multiple devices and even Web browsers, without using the iTunes desktop client. While Apple has remained tight-lipped, some have said the service will arrive in 2010.

Last week, Lala announced that it would cease operations on May 31, giving users who bought songs through the site an iTunes credit. That date is just a week before Apple is set to kick off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference on June 7.

The timing has led to some speculation that Apple could announce an iTunes cloud feature at WWDC 2010, though MediaMemo's Peter Kafka reported last week that such a move is not expected anytime soon.

"Sources tell me that in the past few weeks, Apple has started signaling to the labels that it's interested in a Web-based version of iTunes, its dominant music retail platform," Kafka wrote. "But those conversations are preliminary at best. So if you're expecting to hear about an iTunes.com offering in the near future like during Apples June 7 developer conference you're likely to be disappointed."

He did, however, reiterate Apple's alleged intentions to offer a Web-based media service, allowing users to stream songs they own to multiple devices. While Apple has reportedly pitched the idea to music industry executives, negotiations fell flat because the record labels felt streaming a single purchase to multiple devices constituted multiple uses, which would result in a greater share of revenue from iTunes purchases.

"Apple could also try a subscription/rental model for iTunes, like the one currently offered by the likes of Rhapsody, MOG and Spotify (at least in Europe)," Kafka wrote. "But no one has figured out how to rent music at a price that satisfies consumers, the labels and the music services. At least not on a large scale."

Analysts told CNNMoney.com that while Spotify may offer features that Apple's iTunes currently does not, it would be a mistake to count the iPod maker out, particularly before seeing what its subscription or streaming model might offer.

"Using iTunes across multiple PCs is terrible right now," Matt Anderson, partner at Booz & Co.'s consumer, media and technology practice reportedly said, "but no one knows where this thing is fully going yet."
post #2 of 44
Let the games begin

Apple increments product features one bite at a time...hence the logo. Want the next big thing? You're gonna have to pick another fruit from the Apple Tree.

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Apple increments product features one bite at a time...hence the logo. Want the next big thing? You're gonna have to pick another fruit from the Apple Tree.

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post #3 of 44
Why waste their money? These companies STILL don't get it. It's not the store, it's not the phone, it's not the player - it's the WHOLE PACKAGE. The integration piece that apple has successfully solved is what nobody can compete with. Not to mention the ecosystem.
post #4 of 44
I have to believe Apple does it better! Spotify won't be as elegant, integrated or user friendly!
post #5 of 44
A lot of streaming services has "beaten" Apple to it. Why dont you just say another subscription service will try to challenge Apple's owner model. Or Apple will compete with itself with a streaming and subscription.
post #6 of 44
Spotify's UI is excellent. Simplistic and uncluttered. Out Appling Apple right now.

Since I discovered Spotify, I won't touch iTunes with a bargepole.
post #7 of 44
I understand that Spotify has certain rights in exchange for subscriptions, either paid or ad-supported. But does anyone know how Spotify has gotten approval from music labels for these various other features (like streaming own music), and yet Apple seems to get a flat response for those same features?

Does Spotify restrict its users to one device? (or one device at any given moment in time?)
Does Spotify play ads when you stream your own (purchased) music to your devices?
Does Spotify restrict the streaming of your own music to your devices to only those who have a paid $15 subscription?

It just strikes me as odd that Apple can't get the same terms as Spotify. And assuming Apple could, what is it about Spotify's feature set that Apple wants to change that would cause a problem and a need for new terms?
"you will know the truth, and the truth will
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"you will know the truth, and the truth will
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post #8 of 44
I'll believe it when I see it. Spotify execs said it was coming to the US at the end of last year. The issue is that the music labels don't want it to come here as a free service.
post #9 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

Spotify's UI is excellent. Simplistic and uncluttered. Out Appling Apple right now.

Since I discovered Spotify, I won't touch iTunes with a bargepole.

Spotify rocks. Can't wait until they get here. Not allowed to buy from them because I live in NY. The service is excellent, like Pandora yet so much more useful.

Yay!
post #10 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by str1f3 View Post

I'll believe it when I see it. Spotify execs said it was coming to the US at the end of last year. The issue is that the music labels don't want it to come here as a free service.

Aww man, you know how to make it rain on parade day.
post #11 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2005 View Post

I understand that Spotify has certain rights in exchange for subscriptions, either paid or ad-supported. But does anyone know how Spotify has gotten approval from music labels for these various other features (like streaming own music), and yet Apple seems to get a flat response for those same features?

Does Spotify restrict its users to one device? (or one device at any given moment in time?)
Does Spotify play ads when you stream your own (purchased) music to your devices?
Does Spotify restrict the streaming of your own music to your devices to only those who have a paid $15 subscription?

It just strikes me as odd that Apple can't get the same terms as Spotify. And assuming Apple could, what is it about Spotify's feature set that Apple wants to change that would cause a problem and a need for new terms?

It must kill Steve that everytime he wants to fundamentally change iTunes, he has to get approval from those dinosaurs. It's one of the very few areas where Apple doesn't have full control over its destiny.
post #12 of 44
I'll probably give Spotify a try though I would likely not purchase anything through them.

I'm well aware that iTunes needs some love and hopefully the next version in September will be the major jump we need.

I think the music labels are giving favorable terms to Spotify much like they gave Amazon DRM music first.
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post #13 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

I have to believe Apple does it better!

You don't have to believe anything. It is perfectly OK to think different.
post #14 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacVicta View Post

It must kill Steve that everytime he wants to fundamentally change iTunes, he has to get approval from those dinosaurs. It's the one area where Apple doesn't have full control over its destiny.

C'mon. There are plenty of other areas. For example, Apple has no search capabilities.
post #15 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by technohermit View Post

Spotify rocks. Can't wait until they get here. Not allowed to buy from them because I live in NY. The service is excellent, like Pandora yet so much more useful.

Yay!

I'll check them out, but as others have noted, the hardware AND software are what's important. I occasionally use Amazon's downloads, but still find iTunes so much easier.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #16 of 44
This should be interesting seeing as how Apple bought lala a year ago, they may well already be considering a cloud based solution. Only time will tell of course, but the android users definitely need their version of iTunes, this may very well be it.
post #17 of 44
The question is: will it matter?
post #18 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamG View Post

C'mon. There are plenty of other areas. For example, Apple has no search capabilities.

No search? How long has it been since you've used iTunes? I use search practically every day.
post #19 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2005 View Post

It just strikes me as odd that Apple can't get the same terms as Spotify. And assuming Apple could, what is it about Spotify's feature set that Apple wants to change that would cause a problem and a need for new terms?

So far they simply do not compare. Apple sells music, Spotify is just another subscription service with yet another feature set. Why do we assume that Apple wants to get the same terms? Apple always said they are not interested in music subscriptions, and if they were, I am certain we would not have seen Rhapsody and Spotify apps on the iPhone/iPad they both got approved without a lot of fuss, while Apple did not even allow an app that downloads free podcasts that do not generate a penny for Apple.

The music industry loves the idea of subscriptions - 1. it is money for nothing (no chicks though) and 2. they can keep their DRM. And they love the idea of Apple staying under a certain percentage of the market, so they can control their prices. Why invest in marketing, creating fancy iTunes albums, etc. when you can get a lot people to send $120 p.a. their way for nothing.

Apple has no rights to stream music, they have no rights to offer subscriptions. Lala's rights are most likely null and void the moment the change of ownership is complete. If they want to offer something similar (and I doubt it, at least for music), it requires new negotiations from A through Z. And we have no idea what fancy ideas the MI will come up with during such negotiations.

I might be wrong, but I do not see subscription services picking up. I do not know anybody paying for one. And the deeds of the MI, giving each and every party different features and rights, will likely keep the confusion of the average consumer at a level that will ensure that most will continue to buy music, just because it is easier to understand. And, I certainly do not want my playlists on Facebook... If I might need a new job in the future, this could present a huge problem

===

Fully agree with the guy who said managing music on several Macs is a terrible mess though. I would really like two things:

1. The ability of Macs to optionally act as a syncing client (just as any iPhone or iPad) only. I just want certain playlists from my Mac Pro always updated on my MBP (purchased titles and self-ripped ones), including play counts etc. Copying files using home sharing is quite OK, but it is not really convenient, and not automatic at all.
2. An iTunes server (e.g. an enhanced Time Capsule with such a capability) appliance. It is simply a pain to always have a computer running, just to update the iPad, sync all Apple TVs, etc. My Mac Pro is on most of the time for that reason and it eats power like crazy. Using a MBP for that purpose is even worse, because once I leave the house with it, family members can't do nothing anymore... This device could also connect to the Internet via e.g. Mobile Me, so there would be remote access/streaming too.
post #20 of 44
post #21 of 44
'plotting'? really?
post #22 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by technohermit View Post

Aww man, you know how to make it rain on parade day.

LOL, sorry, but it's best that you hear it now rather than keep your hopes up for the whole year only to be disappointed. You will have to be apart of the subscription service anyway to use the iPhone app. I had your same thinking a year ago.

We can only hope that it happens but I'd recommend Rhapsody in the mean time. Chances are it will cost the same as Spotify in the US and allows local caching of songs as well. It's not as quick as Spotify on the desktop and iPhone but it offers many of the same features. Chances are also that there will be no free ad-based version of Spotify on the desktop when it comes here, if ever.
post #23 of 44
Spotify gets good deals with record companies because... Drumroll.. Record companies own 10 percent of the company. If not more. Cant remember.
Artists hate spotify because they get paid pretty much nothing. Its like 000.1 cent per song played.

Recordlabels see it more as promotion.
But for users its pretty good.
You have to pay to be able to use it on your iPhone. Subscription.
I use it alot.
But then again i'm Swedish and Spotify is Ã* Swedish company.
post #24 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwee View Post

....Its like 000.1 cent per song played..



least its better than 00000000.1 cent per song.
post #25 of 44
Have been using Spotify for the last 6 mths and very pleased with it. Like other posters i have never used or bought a music track from iTunes since.

You guys in the US will enjoy using it.

Apple will eventually kill it off though when they finally get around to the streaming model as it'll not just be music on offer, it'll be the whole kit and caboodle.
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post #26 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"But no one has figured out how to rent music at a price that satisfies consumers, the labels and the music services. At least not on a large scale."

Spotify has done it...
But he forgot one thing. The Artists! The deal has to be good for the Artists. Without them, there wouldn't be any iTunes, Spotify or whatever. So it's really not very cool of Spotify to go and make music free. It's not like the artist gets any more money when their album is interrupted by a commercial. It's just not right.

Apple is in a real special position here. They don't really have to get paid for the music... They just need to cover server and system costs as long as they sell enough iPhones and iPods. So if there is someone who could host a great low price rental service, that is reasonable for the artists - it's Apple.
post #27 of 44
Artists are getting abused again.

When are they going to realize that the music industry is about lining executive pockets not creatives.
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post #28 of 44
Vision: Spotify becomes the "iTunes for Android Handsets"
post #29 of 44
I started using Spotify about a 18 months ago and haven't use iTunes since. Ok. I lie. I had a few albums that weren't available on Spotify, so I had to use iTunes for them, but with the new update to Spotify, I've been able to import all the unavailable albums into Spotify, meaning I don't think I'll ever need to use iTunes again. I upgraded to Premium about 8 months ago.

To answer a few of your questions ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2005 View Post

Does Spotify restrict its users to one device? (or one device at any given moment in time?)

I've got Spotify Premium on my MacBook Pro, Mac mini and iPhone. The Premium service works on all three, but I can only stream music on one at a time. When I start streaming on a second client, music on the first client will stop. That said, I can download songs to any of the clients and then disconnect them from the internet, allowing me to stream music from one client and play local music on another.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2005 View Post

Does Spotify play ads when you stream your own (purchased) music to your devices?

I'm not 100% sure what you're asking here ... my sister uses Spotify on her Windows PC, but hasn't got Premium, so she has to listen to adverts every now and again. That said, she's got a load of local songs imported into the library and when she listens to them, she doesn't get any adverts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2005 View Post

Does Spotify restrict the streaming of your own music to your devices to only those who have a paid $15 subscription?

Not sure what you're asking here :S
post #30 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by palegolas View Post

Spotify has done it...

Apple is in a real special position here. They don't really have to get paid for the music... They just need to cover server and system costs as long as they sell enough iPhones and iPods. So if there is someone who could host a great low price rental service, that is reasonable for the artists - it's Apple.

Spotify hasn't done it. It hasn't been available in the US for a reason. The reason is that the profits haven't been enough to circumvent the current system. They will not release a desktop version that is ad-based.

Apple is having trouble right now because the industry resents them for allowing the downloading of singles as opposed to whole albums. They're losing money but truthfully it's because of the quality of music they're promoting.

As to your last sentence, Google could do the same and possibly better since they have more experience in the cloud. They don't care about hardware sales as long as people can use their product and gathering as much information on them as possible.
post #31 of 44
Apple should have bought spotify.

This is good news, always nice to have more choices for music, especially if these guys are DRM free. Now we have Amazon and iTunes, if spotify is any good (and it looks like it is) we will have three good sources of music and (hopefully) a cheaper price per track.
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post #32 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheff View Post

Apple should have bought spotify.

This is good news, always nice to have more choices for music, especially if these guys are DRM free. Now we have Amazon and iTunes, if spotify is any good (and it looks like it is) we will have three good sources of music and (hopefully) a cheaper price per track.

http://www.macworld.co.uk/business/n...s&newsid=26830

Am sure Apple would love to buy Spotify, but as explined here the record compaies own a chunk - they would never sell. Record companies - understandably- want a world that they control not apple.

Like the others who have actually used Spotify I hardly ever turn on itunes anymore.
post #33 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamG View Post

You don't have to believe anything. It is perfectly OK to think different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamG View Post

C'mon. There are plenty of other areas. For example, Apple has no search capabilities.

Why are you so negative, so anti-Apple, in every one of your posts?

It must stink to inhabit your world.

Go on, get out, get a life. Seriously.
post #34 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by jbro1999 View Post

least its better than 00000000.1 cent per song.

Post of the day.
post #35 of 44
I talked about it to a bunch of friends, they now all use it. I've been paying a subscription fee for the past year and love it; 15 (10$) for unlimited music, that's great!
post #36 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by technohermit View Post

Spotify rocks. Can't wait until they get here. Not allowed to buy from them because I live in NY. The service is excellent, like Pandora yet so much more useful.

Yay!

I agree. When I saw it I was impressed. However I won't touch anything if I don't own the music. Why don't we own the music? Also can we choose 320 kbps? I don't touch anything that isn't 320 kbps. None of this godawful 192kbps crap.
post #37 of 44
Spotify is awesome. I use it.
post #38 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by success View Post

Also can we choose 320 kbps? I don't touch anything that isn't 320 kbps. None of this godawful 192kbps crap.

Guess you wouldn't be satisfied by "CD quality" 128 kbps
post #39 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by palegolas View Post

Spotify has done it...
But he forgot one thing. The Artists! The deal has to be good for the Artists. Without them, there wouldn't be any iTunes, Spotify or whatever. So it's really not very cool of Spotify to go and make music free. It's not like the artist gets any more money when their album is interrupted by a commercial. It's just not right.

Screw the artists again!?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Artists are getting abused again.

When are they going to realize that the music industry is about lining executive pockets not creatives.

Screw the artists again!?! See these 2 great articles:

http://bit.ly/aQUM6g & http://bit.ly/o0wQ5

Between the hardware makers and online music services, nobody is talking about the artists, and how they are getting screwed from all sides! Without the artists there won't be any music! They can't give their work away endlessly, and, if they don't get paid somehow, how are they to produce their music?! It's a catch 22....

Go  Apple!!!

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Go  Apple!!!

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post #40 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by success View Post

I agree. When I saw it I was impressed. However I won't touch anything if I don't own the music. Why don't we own the music? Also can we choose 320 kbps? I don't touch anything that isn't 320 kbps. None of this godawful 192kbps crap.

If you pay for the premium version, you get a higher bit rate.
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