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Spotify launches free service on Apple, Android devices

05 мая 2011

Anglo-Swedish digital music service Spotify AB has launched a service that enables its non-paying customers to connect iPods and other devices to their Spotify accounts, founder and chief executive Daniel Ek said in a post on the company's website Wednesday, in a potential challenge to Apple Inc.'s iTunes.

Spotify offers a free-of-charge, advertising-backed service in addition to a paid-for service without ads. Previously, only paying subscribers could download a smartphone client to Apple's iPhone and iPod touch and devices running Google Inc.'s Android operating system, which allows them to use Spotify on the go. Non-paying users have been limited to Spotify's computer desktop client.

In a blog post headlined 'Spotify says hello to the iPod,' Ek wrote that integration with the device had been much requested by customers using its free service, while for paying Spotify Premium subscribers,"a huge part of that experience is taking your playlists with you wherever you go."

He said the firm now allows all users to synchronize their Spotify accounts with Apple devices, instead of using iTunes.

Spotify is also making changes to its MP3 download service, enabling customers to download and buy entire playlists more easily and without the need to buy all the tracks separately.

According to Adrian Drury, media analyst at London-based research firm Ovum, Spotify's latest move is a way for the company to push directly into Apple's backyard, by making its service a direct alternative to iTunes.

"This is both an offensive and a defensive move from Spotify. Sooner or later Apple will secure rights to launch its own streaming service, and then Spotify will have Apple in its backyard," Drury told Dow Jones Newswires.

Around 200 million users have their credit cards registered with iTunes, making Apple's installed base substantially larger than that of Spotify, which at the beginning of March said it had reached 1 million paying subscribers across Europe from a total 10 million registered users. A Spotify spokesman said last month that paying subscribers represent around 15% of its "active users" or people that used Spotify in the last 30 days.

According to Spotify spokesman Jim Butcher, the company has created the new iPod sync tool in-house and hasn't been in contact with Apple regarding its development.

Ovum's Drury said that Apple, which unlike Google's Android doesn't allow third party developers to amend its software, very well might try to close the back door that allows Spotify to offer its new services.

Apple wasn't immediately reachable for comment on the issue Wednesday.

Last month, Spotify said it will impose limitations on its free service, capping total listening time for free users to 10 hours a month and allowing them to play tracks for free no more than five times.

Advertising sales don't generate enough revenue to offset the combined costs of licensing music from record companies and the technical infrastructure to deliver that music to users, according to people in the music industry who have been briefed by Spotify.

Spotify is headquartered in the U.K. and has research and development facilities in Stockholm. It currently offers its services in the U.K., Finland, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and Spain.

Spotify's Premium subscription in the U.K. costs GBP 9.99 ($16) a month and allows users to play an unlimited amount of music, without advertising, on a computer or cellphone. Spotify Unlimited costs GBP 4.99 a month to play tracks through a computer, with no time limit

Источник: Total Telecom

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