Spotify is making big waves in the digital music business today. If you don't know the application, that might be because it's not available in the U.S. yet outside of a very limited beta release, but the streaming music app and service is hugely popular in Europe. And despite not being publicly offered in Apple's home country yet, it has pushed out an update that seems like a surgical strike against the iTunes application and store.
The company has launched a music download store of its own (with newly available bundled pricing), added iPod syncing to its desktop program, and opened up its iOS and Android apps to free users, so they can wirelessly sync music to their devices as well (though streaming via the apps still requires a premium account). Free members are also able to get in on the bundled pricing, with downloads running at 7.99 British pounds (about $13) for 10 songs, 9.99 pounds for 15, 25 pounds for 40, and 50 pounds for a mongo 100 tracks.
American users will not be shut out forever, though. The service — which boasts 13 million songs and over 1 million paid members (plus a vast subscriberbase of free users) — has already struck deals with EMI and Sony for its upcoming U.S. service. It's a good start, but industry watchers believe it will take a broader music inventory to top iTunes or streaming competitors, like Rhapsody. So expect more deals to come in the future.
Recently, Spotify rankled some users when it announced that, as of May 1st, it would impose streaming caps on free account holders who signed on before November 2 (and everyone else, after six months). Free users, now limited to 10 total hours of streaming per month, would also only be allowed to play a track five times. This irritation, however, might pale in comparison to the service's big software update today.
So could these changes actually topple iTunes? Spotify thinks so. Says Daniel Elk, company founder and CEO:
"From today, Spotify really is the only music player you'll ever need. Our users don't want to have to switch between music players, but they do want to take their playlists with them wherever they go, on a wider range of devices, more simply and at a price they can afford. Now we've made that possible on one of the world's most popular consumer devices."
Are you looking forward to Spotify coming to the States? Are you already enjoying it abroad? Let us know what you think about this service, and whether it actually has a chance at beating down iTunes.
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