Spotify wants to offer free iPhone app, if Apple lets them

“If Spotify has its way, iPhone owners will no longer be slaves to iTunes, song-by-song payments or finite disk capacity,” Adam Taylor reports for TIME Magazine.

“Last week the Swedish company behind Spotify’s streaming music provider announced plans to release a free iPhone application that will let users listen to songs played directly off of its online service, with no need to download,” Taylor reports. “That would give iPhone users instant access to any of Spotify’s 6 million songs, without taking up precious memory space — way more than the maximum 7,000 tracks that a 32GB iPhone can hold.”

Taylor reports, “Songs can also be temporarily stored, or cached, ready to play during those moments when web connection drops, like when you’re going through a tunnel or underground. Spotify’s new application could change the way iPhone users listen to music. But first, it has to get the okay from Apple.”

“Spotify’s new application won’t be available to everyone, only those who opt for the premium service, which costs $15 a month for unlimited streams… access to pre-releases and better audio quality than the free service, which forces users to listen to ads after every few songs,” Taylor reports. “Spotify hopes to have its new application available on the iPhone within the next few weeks. The trick is getting Apple to approve an application that some observers see as a potential challenger to Apple’s own iTunes.”

“‘We honestly don’t think there is a direct competitor to Spotify, as no one’s doing exactly what we’re doing at the moment,’ Spotify spokesman Jim Butcher says over email. ‘We’re confident that Apple will allow the Spotify app, as we think it will improve the iPhone users’ experience even further.'”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]


  1. Someone needs to read Apple’s rules a bit more closely as a Free App must contain only Free content. You can’t give away an app and then charge for content. They will need to have either 1) a paid App that they can then do the in app purchase of the monthly subscription with free ad supported content if they did not or 2) a paid App and a Free App.
    If I were Spotify I’d go with a .99 app with in App Monthly subscriptions. But in doing this they do have a break in their model which is the automatic monthly renewal. With in App Purchase the Customer would need to purchase the premium upgrade each month or Spotify would need to sell the Premium upgrades in 1,2,3,6,9,and 12 month blocks.
    If Spotify is looking to get around the in app purchase and give away an App sticking Apple with distribution costs while they rake in the Premium fees I think they are in for a bit of a shocker.

    If I were Apple I’d reject it just on the grounds that the rules for APPs reads you can’t collect fees of upgrades and expansions and premium content on a Free App. If Spotify wants to make money from premium upgrades from iPhone users they can’t and should not expect Apple to eat their App’s Distribution costs.

  2. @Demon,

    With the Slack Radio application you can buy a $47 yearly subscription for ad-free service.

    They offer the free version of the app with ads, then you access the site through Safari on your phone (or a computer) and you sign up for Slacker Radio Plus.

    I’m not sure whether or not Spotify will have the same approach but there are other free applications with subscriptions that bypass the App Store.

  3. Apple should buy Spotify and integrate it into iTunes. I don’t file share and I didn’t stream, for all the obvious reasons. But I loaded Spotify yesterday and haven’t come off it since. It’s very slick and does exactly what it says on the tin. I just have the free account and turn down the ads (not mute, or they pause . . . as I said: ‘slick’).

    I’ve listened to over 20 albums already, many of which I didn’t even realise existed previously, and am now going to buy several of them. That *should* be a click-thru for me to iTunes. But isn’t currently. It’s a no-brainer for Apple: pocket change with their current war-chest. And if they don’t, Spotify could end up being a real threat. Because, as I said, I didn’t use any of the previous streaming monstrosities . . . but as a way of legally checking out music Spotify is unmatched and outstanding. And that could end up being a problem for Apple someday.

  4. Don’t forget that Apple makes a lot of money from selling iPhones, but only a comparatively small sum from selling music via iTunes. iTunes is essentially a vehicle for making the purchase of an iPod more attractive.

    Therefore I don’t see Spotify as posing any real threat to Apple. People will still buy iPhones and Apple will make money from those sales.

    It could be quite a tempting proposition for Apple if part of Spotify’s monthly revenue were paid to Apple, maybe by handling the subscription through iTunes, with Apple passing the bulk of that money to Spotify.

  5. Seems to me that developers are using Apple’s BS App Store approval process to their marketing advantage. Sh!t I’ve never heard of is in the forefront of tech media, all because of this.

    I mean, would anyone have downloaded Ninjawords? Not me. But now I know all about them…

    MDN MW: “Recently” as in “Recently, Apple has gotten a lot of bad press because of their App Store shenanigans.”

  6. Man, so many of you are dumb shits who have no idea what you’re talking about. You read this tiny little blurb about what Spotify is, and assume you know exactly what it is.

    It is NOT like Zune Pass, because you don’t have to download the music onto your device, thereby taking up space. It can cache songs temporarily, so you don’t suddenly lose your music just because you go through a tunnel, but you’re not actually downloading it. It is NOT like Pandora, because Pandora you have no real control over what you’re listening to. This, you can pick and choose what songs you listen to, you can rewind and fast forward through songs, you can re-listen to songs, you have just as much control as you would with iTunes.

    Also, while for the iPhone app, this isn’t true, for the regular version, IT COSTS YOU NOTHING. It’s FREE. When you pay for the Premium subscription, you’re getting the higher bitrate (320kbps), no ads, and, if Apple lets them, the chance to get the iPhone app.

    Do some research before spouting off like morons.

  7. Most people responding here just don’t get it. Think of Spotify as all your music stored in ‘the cloud’. All six million tunes. No need to clog up your hard disk space – you can keep that clear for movies, photos, etc. In return for just $15 you can play whatever music you like as often as you like. New tunes are being added every month, so your catalogue is constantly growing. The new iPhone app also allows you to store a playlist for playback when you’re not within a wifi or 3G signal. Seems pretty good to me.

  8. I’ve been using Spotify for a few months now, and apparently I’m typical of most of the users, I listen to stuff I already own on other formats, vinyl, cassette or CD.

    On the free service ads are every 20 minutes and only last 30 seconds, so it’s less irritating than listening to commercial radio, with the added advantage of picking the play list myself. As I’m listening to the tracks through my Macbook’s speakers, not really that bothered about the bitrate, it sounds fine to me.

    This really could be a great addition to iTunes if Apple were to buy them.

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