Spotify plotting US launch to compete with Apple's iTunes

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
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 Apple?s 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."
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 43
    jblongzjblongz Posts: 147member
    Let the games begin
  • Reply 2 of 43
    formerarsgmformerarsgm Posts: 191member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 43
    christopher126christopher126 Posts: 4,317member
    I have to believe Apple does it better! Spotify won't be as elegant, integrated or user friendly!
  • Reply 4 of 43
    lightstrikerlightstriker Posts: 458member
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 43
    monstrositymonstrosity Posts: 2,206member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 43
    mark2005mark2005 Posts: 1,158member
    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?
  • Reply 7 of 43
    str1f3str1f3 Posts: 573member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 43
    technohermittechnohermit Posts: 564member
    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!
  • Reply 9 of 43
    technohermittechnohermit Posts: 564member
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 43
    macvictamacvicta Posts: 346member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 43
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,273member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 43
    williamgwilliamg Posts: 322member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 43
    williamgwilliamg Posts: 322member
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 43
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,300member
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 43
    zindakozindako Posts: 468member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 43
    bartfatbartfat Posts: 432member
    The question is: will it matter?
  • Reply 17 of 43
    yensid98yensid98 Posts: 302member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 43
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,071member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 43
    webfrassewebfrasse Posts: 147member
    Another interesting data point....



    http://www.cultofmac.com/infographic...t-retail/38097
  • Reply 20 of 43
    tofinotofino Posts: 697member
    'plotting'? really?
Sign In or Register to comment.