Update: Spotify on iPhone

7 09 2009

After all the hype, hysteria and hubbub Spotify is now available from the Apple iPhone app store.   Premium Spotify subscribers now have music to go available from the huge (though not entirely exhaustive) online catalogue.  Cost (for now) is £9.99 per month for Spotify Premium.

Spotify on iPhone: Official

27 08 2009

Two days ago this blog reported that rumours were circulating that Apple was about to approve the Spotify app for the iPhone.  Yesterday those rumours intensified when the iPhone app store removed the Spotify descriptor from three applications, which meant that they did not appear in searches for Spotify.  This prompted speculation that Apple was preparing for the real deal.

This evening ‘paidcontent.org’ broke the news that an Apple spokesman had confirmed that the application had been approved and would be joining the 65,000 other iPhone applications.  This is a massive step forward for the music streaming site as only subscribers to the premium version of Spotify (currently £9.99 per month) will be able to use the iPhone app.  In a few short months they have broken the mould for paid music content and distribution.  They have also leapfrogged the major social network sites by monetising their business model almost overnight.

Spotify’s online PR strategy has been exceptional.  They built interest in the App by teasing it on iTunes as early as January. They also created interest in an Android version which put added pressure on Apple to approve.  Ultimately Apple was bound to approve.  Spotify had already achieved a phenomenal brand equity in the few months since it was launched.  The app will sell iPhones because it is so good and Apple makes more from devices than it does from the iTunes store plus music streaming uses a lot of bandwidth and ultimately that’s commercially good for Apple and their partners.

It will be interesting to see is how long it takes Apple to turn iTunes and its store from a pay per track model into a subscription based streaming site that competes directly with Spotify.

Apple Approves Spotify for iPhone?

25 08 2009

Rumours are circulating that Apple is about to announce that the Spotify app for the iPhone is approved and will be available for download within days.  If true, this will fundamentally change the way that we listen to and pay for music.

Spotify has already had a huge impact on music listening.  It is now poised to revolutionise the financial model with its ‘fremium’ offer of an ad-funded free service and a premium subscription offer (which will be required if you want to listen on the iPhone).   In its native Sweden it appears it has already overtaken Apple’s iTunes store.  The head of Universal Music in Sweden, Per Sundin has said that  “in 5 months from the launch Spotify became our largest digital source of income and so passed by iTunes.”

Spotify mobile is a key development because it reaches an important demographic group that listens to music mainly on the move.  The eighteen plus generation who live at home or in shared accommodation want their music on a portable player – be it an iPhone, dedicated MP3 player or another smart device.  With an Android version of Spotify waiting in the wings rejecting the iPhone app could harm iPhone sales.

There is no official word yet and almost a month has passed since the app was submitted, but if the rumours are premature then could this be another salvo in Spotify’s sophisticated social media PR campaign?  By posting videos on Youtube showing the interface, blogging about the mobile versions for iPhone and Android, the Spotify supremos Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon have ensured the buzz is constant. 


Did U2 Spotify a New Trend?

1 03 2009

How do you promote sales of a new album in a world where few people buy albums any more? Radiohead broke new ground with ‘In Rainbows’ when they invited fans to pay what they liked for the downloads (on average $4.64 apparently). 

U2 launch their latest album ‘No Line on the Horizon’ at a time when over 90 per cent of digital music in the UK is believed to be obtained by via illegal downloading.  The veteran Irish rockers may have brought us a step closer to a the time when no-one buys music, they stream it all for free. 

U2 has teamed up with Spotify the music player that looks like a cross between iTunes and the original sharing site Napster.  On Spotify you can create playlists, listen to recommended music and you don’t own any of it. Users registering or logging in this weekend were presented with a bold banner advertising the availability free to stream online of the new U2 oeuvre.

You can pay a monthly subscription for Spotify or listen free with tracks interspersed with radio style ads. Doubtless U2 have agreed a funding model that sees a return on the promotion they have also accessed a significant online tie-up with all of the accompanying PR buzz.  Spotify will do rather well from the PR too. Just to cover all of the bases ‘No Line on the Horizon’ is also available on Vinyl.

It remains to be seen whether the free streaming model will provide artists with anything like the income they had in the the heady hay days of the late 20th century and U2 may not be the best artists to test new ways of appealing to the Gen Y music afficianados. The ‘”wired reading tea drinking music loving innovating green thinking” Tim Difford told me on Twitter that he wouldn’t even listen for free. 

Whether this works or not the established truth is now that the money is in live music. On March 9th the band will announce details of a new world tour.

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