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Media (Apple) Cellphones Music

Spotify Wins iPhone App Store Approval 114

Posted by timothy
from the there's-a-cream-for-that dept.
angry tapir writes "Apple has approved a streaming music application from Spotify for use on the iPhone, even though the program will compete with Apple's own iTunes service. Spotify is an advertising-supported music service that lets end-users stream music to their computers free of charge. The service is available in the U.K. and by invitation in countries including Sweden, Norway, Finland, France and Spain. Users can opt to pay for a version of the service without ads." The BBC also has a story on the app's acceptance.
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Spotify Wins iPhone App Store Approval

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  • And... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by El Lobo (994537) * on Friday August 28, 2009 @05:04AM (#29228287)
    The fact that this is news is simply sad.

    Image the news: MS approved Firefox on Windows...

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Couldn't agree more. And unfortunately this will be perceived as "good" news.

      Don't get me wrong, the (hardware) products Apple creates are nice and pretty and all, but the vendor lock-in on the iPhone sucks monkey-balls.

      And for you all "well don't buy it then"-folks. You're missing the point. A successful vendor-locked product such as the iPhone will set the norm and you can just expect even more locked products in the future (not just from Apple).

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by sopssa (1498795) *

        And you two are missing the point aswell. The whole story isn't about how surprised everyone are that Apple accepted it, but that spotify is now actually released for iPhone too. Stop trying to this thread into another "apple is bad, apple dont approve apps" discussion. I would a lot more like to read and discuss about the actual thing, aka spotify, here because its a great system and program.

        I hope they get versions out to Windows Mobile and Symbian out soon too, would be great to listen on the road and th

        • Re:And... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot AT hackish DOT org> on Friday August 28, 2009 @05:23AM (#29228379)

          That really isn't what the story is about, though. Maybe Spotify is great, but "Spotify released for another platform" isn't that exciting and probably wouldn't end up posted on Slashdot, if there weren't some reason that it being released for the iPhone was surprising or at some point in doubt.

          • by mikael_j (106439)

            While there may have been some doubt as the whether or not Spotify for the iPhone would be approved the main reason most people I've spoken to today seem to consider the release newsworthy is because, surprise surprise, the iPhone is a very popular phone and Spotify is (at least here in Sweden) a very popular piece of software.

            /Mikael

            • by mdwh2 (535323)

              Hard sales figures show there are plenty of more popular phone manufacturers though (I'd post a reference, but last time I did that I just got modded down for posting a fact that didn't toe the pro-Apple line that the clique of mods have these days). So if that's the case, if your hypothesis is true, we should be seeing regular news stories on Slashdot and the BBC for popular applications released on all these other mobile phones too. Are we?

              • by mikael_j (106439)

                To be honest I don't think it's all that accurate to compare say, Nokia's total cellphone sales to Apple's since Apple only has one phone model while a lot of other manufacturers (like Nokia) have a wide array of models from low-end models with very few features up to high-end smartphones with every feature imaginable. A more fair comparison would be to compare the iPhone to other smartphones in the same market segment, and every such comparison I've seen seems to indicate that the iPhone is very popular.

                Fo

          • by kinnell (607819)

            That really isn't what the story is about, though. Maybe Spotify is great, but "Spotify released for another platform" isn't that exciting and probably wouldn't end up posted on Slashdot, if there weren't some reason that it being released for the iPhone was surprising or at some point in doubt.

            How is it surprising? LastFM has been available on the iPhone for ages.

          • Re:And... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by tres (151637) on Friday August 28, 2009 @07:19AM (#29228853) Homepage

            Personally, I think the story here is that Apple has done a 180 with this app & hope that this is a sign of things to come.

            The app approval process is just broken. Way back when, Steve Jobs said that there would be limitations to the applications that would be available on the store and I can understand the reasoning as it started out; however, as of late, it's just arbitrary and capricious. It's becoming simply untenable as a development platform because the combination of seemingly arbitrary and conflicting decisions for rejection combined with the ultra slow-motion with which decisions are made -- not to mention that there is zero visibility into the approval process.

            I can't run a business like that; I need to have some expectation that I'll see ROI in a reasonable time period and that Apple will act in an equitable manner regarding application submissions. My hope is that Apple is catching on to the fact that they will lose me and plenty of other developers if they don't turn the corner on the disaster that the app review process has become.

            But maybe that's just wishful thinking as I head toward week 4 of waiting for my app to be approved... While developer.apple.com flaunts this in my face:

            Based on the current volume of app submissions, 95% of applications are being approved within 14 days.

            All while Facebook's new app gets approval in about five days...

            Thanks.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by imamac (1083405)

              All while Facebook's new app gets approval in about five days...

              While in reality it was about 11-12 days.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by tres (151637)

                Good job. You've counted the beans correctly, but didn't address the point.

                I guess I didn't spell it out well enough. It doesn't matter whether it took two days, twelve days or twenty days. The point is that there should be a first-in-first-out system of app evaluations. An application that uses a network connection takes a little longer to get approved. I'm okay with that; however, when I see an application that uses the same kind of resources gets submitted after mine and is approved before mine, I know

            • by msimm (580077)
              Personally, I think the story here is that Apple has done a 180 with this app & hope that this is a sign of things to come.

              Don't hold your breath. Spotify is currently in a position where they have the means and motivation to aggressively fight a negative outcome. Apple might controlling but a fight that could take them into the European courts with possible trust issues does not seem like the kind of fight Apple would pick.
          • This is not just another platform... </M&S>

            Seriously though, people have been saying for years that the music industry needs to look at alternative business models in response to rampant piracy, and Spotify is one of the first that looks like being a success, in Europe at least. The iPhone/iPod Touch is I believe the official Spotify client's debut on a mobile platform, which is crucial for the service's success. Surely that's notable in itself, no matter what platform it's on.

            (For those that do [youtube.com]

          • by msimm (580077)
            Agreed. If this news was simply about Spotify's [device specific] release it would have been nothing more then a slashvertisement. The service isn't particularly unique (although people do like it) and the project hasn't released interesting or relevant code (ala audioscrobbler/last.fm).

            From a geek perspective the only story here is Apple or licensing issues, and Pandora seems to be a more popular medium for the latter since it's somewhat more interesting technology.
        • by mdwh2 (535323)

          And you two are missing the point aswell. The whole story isn't about how surprised everyone are that Apple accepted it, but that spotify is now actually released for iPhone too.

          No, "application released for one make of phone" is not newsworthy. How many BBC and Slashdot news stories are there for applications released for Symbian, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Android, or most notably J2ME (which has a platform of about a billion or so phones)? It's only newsworthy due to the requirement of corporate approva

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by necro81 (917438)
          You're all missing the point!

          The point is...

          --------------> .

          Right there.
        • by N1AK (864906)

          You really think "A piece of music playing software has been released for another platform" makes a worthy slashdot story?

          The only reason this story is on Slashdot is because there was perceived to be a high chance Apple would block it.

        • by BobMcD (601576)

          The whole story isn't about how surprised everyone are that Apple accepted it, but that spotify is now actually released for iPhone too.

          I disagree. I see this as fodder for their war against Google. Now they can point to this app and say 'See, we allow competitive apps ALL THE TIME. Google has no case.'

          In a world where Google wasn't trying to get their apps all over the iPhone, I don't see this getting approved at all.

          Claiming there's no possibility they are related is just, well, odd.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by SillyWilly (692755)
      I think you're missing the point. Apple have approved a streaming service which in some ways directly competes with Apple's own music selling business. This demonstrated a level of maturity which Apple failed to display during the whole Google Voice debacle.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by El Lobo (994537) *
        So, MS should approve Open Office on Windows machines as a gest of good will... oh wait, Open Office runs on Windows without MS control, the horror!!!!

        The point is: yes, Apple are now angels, look pa, they have approved one competing service. But the real news is: there are STILL A LOT of competing applications that are locked out. But no, look daddy, they are not THAT bad!

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dunkelfalke (91624)

          Firefox was a good enough example since it directly competes with Microsoft Internet Explorer.

          • by DinDaddy (1168147)

            Firefox does not directly cost MS revenue like OO would.

            • It does, in a way. The default homepage of Firefox is a special Google page, the default page of Internet Explorer is the MSN portal. It is about ad revenue.

        • Comparing it to Microsoft's Windows is ridiculous at best. Windows is a monopoly while, even though there a sh*tload of iPhones around, the iPhone isn't. Also, Microsoft has the same track record, though maybe not as obvious as the App store. Microsoft has done countless attempts to deal with these competitors and have locked them out on multiple occasions through not opening up all information and pushing their own services to the user (msie or msn anyone?). How is that any different?

          If you don't like the

          • by mdwh2 (535323)

            Comparing it to Microsoft's Windows is ridiculous at best. Windows is a monopoly while, even though there a sh*tload of iPhones around, the iPhone isn't.

            There are a "sh*tload" of Windows installations around too. I don't think that sentence says what you mean it to say?

            Anyhow - are you seriously saying that you are only bothered about your applications requiring approval if it's MS? That if Apple did this for their desktop machines too, they'd still be just as good a platform?

            Remember, no one is discussing

            • Anyhow - are you seriously saying that you are only bothered about your applications requiring approval if it's MS? That if Apple did this for their desktop machines too, they'd still be just as good a platform?

              No, he said the difference was MS is a monopoly in the market and Apple isn't. That clearly makes the difference important to him being a monopolist, not being MS.

              If Apple did this for desktop machines it would be very annoying, but only because Apple's OS X is one of the few workable ways to get around the monopolized desktop OS market and the courts have declined to solve that problem.

              Remember, no one is discussing legality or antitrust issues here (which is the only point where MS being a monopoly is relevant)...

              That's true, if you think the only thing wrong with being an abusive, anti-competitive, monopolist is that it's illegal.

        • by itsdapead (734413)

          It's time to realise that Abble's products are the biggest abomination these days. Just say NO to the dumb iAbble way!

          At least you have a choice... There are racks and racks of alternative MP3 players and phones in stores, and at least 4 serious, mainstream contenders for smartphone platforms. For most of the 1990s the choice for desktop PCs was DOS/Windows vs. some minority ghetto platform or other (some of which were brilliant: Amiga, RISC-OS etc. but which were becoming a labor of love to support).

          If you want to, get an Android phone (I have one, they're cool) and install so many apps on it that it grinds to a halt, an

      • by mea37 (1201159)

        I don't think it's a question of having matured. I admit I'm speculating some here, but I think they just see the two situations as different.

        I think they're counting on the fact that Google Voice competes with a core function of the product. Should they lock out competition with services that are not the core function of the phone, and should a court be overly-narrow in defining the market in which the iPhone competes (as the market's evolution shows they did to MS, though nobody around here wants to recog

      • by teg (97890)

        The Google Voice application would be more intrusive... it would basically replace your voicemail and SMS applications with its own, as I understood it. It would undermine the experience that Apple wants the user to have.

        Now, the user should be able to do so, but it's a different situation. Spotify won't destroy the "experience" in any way, it's an app which provides access to a huge library of music - an online, gigantic itunes library. Competing with the need for downloading music onto iTunes? Yep. Ch

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          The Google Voice application would be more intrusive... it would basically replace your voicemail and SMS applications with its own, as I understood it. It would undermine the experience that Apple wants the user to have.

          Now, the user should be able to do so, but it's a different situation. Spotify won't destroy the "experience" in any way, it's an app which provides access to a huge library of music - an online, gigantic itunes library. Competing with the need for downloading music onto iTunes? Yep. Changi

    • Re:And... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gsslay (807818) on Friday August 28, 2009 @05:23AM (#29228373)

      That's not what makes this news. The fact it is competing with iTunes is simply a side issue.

      What's significant is that this makes the iPhone a mobile streaming device, with access to a massive library of music. It is not an online radio station. It is having a practically unlimited choice of music available to you, anywhere. For free.

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        No, you'll need a spotify premium account for ~$10/month.

      • since when is ad-supported "free"?
        • by sopssa (1498795) *

          I dont know what idea of free you have, but its free for user. Like tv stations with ads are free for user. Now get off your high horse.

        • Since when are iPhones, data plans, and apps from the app store free?

      • What's significant is that this makes the iPhone a mobile streaming device

        But how mobile it really is, if it only supports wlan?

        • by sopssa (1498795) *

          It supports 2G/3G as well (Q [twitter.com]/A [twitter.com])

          Besides that it allows caching of ~2000 songs on the device that you can take with you. But atleast here in scandinavia unlimited 2G/3G plans are so cheap that might just aswell use them.

          • Thanks, I stand corrected. Also, I stand in Finland, so yes, 3G plans are cheap here - but I have nobody to invite me to Spotify :o(

            • by marsu_k (701360)
              protip:
              • Select a proxy in the UK
              • Register an account for Spotify
              • Log in (from the web page), change your country to Finland (or any other country where Spotify is invite only)
              • Enjoy

              HTH, HAND

      • How is this different from Pandora?

        (Really want to know. I'm not "into" streaming services as such.)

        • How is this different from Pandora?

          Spotify is an on-demand streaming dukebox with a HUGE catalogue of tracks. No limit to the number of listens and an uncanny, almost instant replay.

      • by halll7 (1009535)
        Whilst the ad-supported Spotify is free on your PC, a premium subscription (£10 in UK) is required for iPhone use.
    • by mea37 (1201159)

      Yeah, and if you think that's bad, I can't run anything custom on my Samsung! How sad is that! ...because the iPhone is a general-purpose computer, right?

      Is it also sad that your local cable company doesn't let you run whatever software you want on the set-top box? I guess RMS probably thinks so. Maybe you do, too. I think what they're selling is a special-purpose device that includes software of their specification.

      The iPhone is somewhere in between. If you bought it thinking it was a free computing p

    • by pizzach (1011925)
      Personally, a closer analogy would be Nintendo approving Firefox for the Wii.
  • NOTE! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 28, 2009 @05:05AM (#29228295)

    Before someone starts comparing Spotify to Pandora or Last.fm _again_, it's something different. In Spotify you choose the songs you listen to, create playlists out of them, listen to whole albums from start to finish, or even listen to a single track in endless repeat if you so choose. It's not a personal Internet radio station, it's a huge music library that you can only listen to by streaming.

    • none the less the comparison is that it's streaming. streaming audio to the phone does not compete with the itunes store in anyway, shape nor form. you're on the subway in nyc and want to use spotify? tough luck unless you're on an elevated train line.

      • by slim (1652)

        streaming audio to the phone does not compete with the itunes store in anyway, shape nor form.

        Of course it competes in some way.

        Perhaps consumer X's daily routine is to listen to music on his walk to work. Now he can stream insteady of buy from iTunes.

        Perhaps consumer Y likes to listen to music on headphones while working, but his employer won't let him stream over the office network connection. Now he can stream over his phone instead of buying from iTunes.

        Yes, there's a small percentage of the market who want music where there's no phone signal. But that doesn't mean this can't eat into iTunes' ma

        • by slim (1652)

          Correcting myself. Apparently it only streams over WiFi, not over a phone connection.

          But! It can cache 2000 tracks. So even your tube traveller will be able to use it as a viable alternative to iTunes.

          • by slim (1652)

            ... and correcting my correction. Apparently the WiFi only thing is false. But the cacheing thing holds true.

  • by Rog7 (182880) on Friday August 28, 2009 @05:14AM (#29228335)

    I think it's a great move and a well made app & service like this can only help Apple.

    Unfortunately, I've got the distinct impression that Apple approved this app because it was poised to give them a lot of bad press if they didn't approve it. Maybe if their track record for app approval was a bit better, I'd be throwing kudos Apple's way, but at this point I'm pretty jaded.

    I find lately that I'm quite glad Apple never gained the top spot in the personal computer market, because I dread what sort of control they would impose over my PC. Yeah the alternatives haven't been great, but seeing what they've done with a market where they do have significant share, I shudder thinking about what it would have been like.

    All of the credit should go to Spotify itself. I'd really like to see it brought to North America and specifically Canada, where I can use it. It's really spectacular and more of the revolution in music listening than anything we've seen in a long while.

    • I'd really like to see it brought to North America and specifically Canada, where I can use it. It's really spectacular and more of the revolution in music listening than anything we've seen in a long while.

      Can't you just get premium membership [spotify.com] to use spotify anywhere in the world?

      • by OverlordQ (264228)

        "This product is not available in your country yet."

        No.

      • by lovemayo (674154)
        It takes a bit of doing, as you need to sign up from an IP from a country where Spotify is available. You can either try to find a free proxy, or sign up for the piratebay guys anon VPN service (swedish IP) or some other service. After signup, you can get the premium.
    • by Kjella (173770)

      I think it's a great move and a well made app & service like this can only help Apple.

      Unfortunately, I've got the distinct impression that Apple approved this app because it was poised to give them a lot of bad press if they didn't approve it. Maybe if their track record for app approval was a bit better, I'd be throwing kudos Apple's way, but at this point I'm pretty jaded.

      Actually, Apple refusing and Spotify signing on with other mp3 players and saying "Sorry, you had your chance" is one of the few things that really could unseat the iPod. Like, "I got an iPod and iTunes store" vs "I got a Creative Zen with Spotify!"

    • by d-r0ck (1365765)

      FYI It's coming to USA/Canada at the end of 09/early 2010. Canada and USA will both go live at the same time.

    • by danomac (1032160)

      I'd really like to see it brought to North America and specifically Canada, where I can use it. It's really spectacular and more of the revolution in music listening than anything we've seen in a long while.

      I don't know about that. 3G data services are still expensive over here. After looking at Roger's website, non-iPhone devices is $25 for 500 meg of 3G traffic. For the iPhone, the cheapest is $60 for 1 gig, both plans charge 3 cents/meg if you go over. If you stream a lot of music, it could get expensi

  • by onion2k (203094) on Friday August 28, 2009 @05:16AM (#29228347) Homepage

    There are two caveats that limit the appeal of this...

    1. You have to be a Premium Account holder ... that's £10/month.

    2. (Apparently) it'll only work with a wifi connection, not 3G.

    The wifi-only bit is the killer. Everywhere I use wifi I have a computer (office, home, girlfriend's home). That means it's not very useful, and as it's not very useful I don't see the point in buying the £10/month subscription in order to use it. If I wanted the Premium service I'd already have paid for it to use with the computers.

  • I like spotify, the option to listen to any song you want is really cool. But, the radio stations are weak, it doesnt play genre as well as pandora.

    I'm stuck using imeem (good for popular music only), but I'd rather have pandora.

    Also be nice to have some more talk/comedy too. God I with my G1 had flash, problem solved...

  • So, can I complain? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by OverlordQ (264228) on Friday August 28, 2009 @05:57AM (#29228515) Journal

    Seems like whenever an story about Hulu/etc somes on all the non-USians come to complain about that.

    So can I complain about it not being offered here in the states and how that's so unfair so I'll just download the stuff instead of pay for it?

    • Yes. You can complain. I, as a Canadian that can't get this Spotify service nor Hulu can complain louder though. ;)

      Seriously though, it's beyond annoying that there are now so many "services" on the world wide web that are not, in fact, world wide. I understand it's because the service only negotiated distribution rights within the US, or whatever, but I will never be a fan of region locks.

      Yes, I know that one can use some services like TOR to get around region restrictions on the 'net (and add anonymit
    • by muffen (321442)

      Seems like whenever an story about Hulu/etc somes on all the non-USians come to complain about that. So can I complain about it not being offered here in the states and how that's so unfair so I'll just download the stuff instead of pay for it?

      Difference is in Europe you can download without the risk of having to pay fines that are so far out of proportion that it's beyond sad. Of course the risk of getting caught is always there but I doubt you will find any country in Europe where your fine will be $75 [techdirt.com]

    • by mdwh2 (535323)

      I think you just did.

  • N900 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pm_rat_poison (1295589) on Friday August 28, 2009 @06:00AM (#29228533)
    With the Nokia N900, the Palm Pre and an army of android phones waiting around the corner, maybe dear apple understands they're not so special any more! They can't afford being so hoity-toity with three (android, maemo, webos) fully functional multitasking OS's breathing down their necks
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ..._requires_ a Premium account - a normal, free account is not allowed to log in. This is all for understandable reasons relating to how Spotify, when used with a free account, enforces ads that can not be shut off or ignored.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sopssa (1498795) *

      ..._requires_ a Premium account - a normal, free account is not allowed to log in. This is all for understandable reasons relating to how Spotify, when used with a free account, enforces ads that can not be shut off or ignored.

      Which I find really interesting from Apple's perspective, because

      The application will be free, but will require the user to have a premium Spotify subscription, which costs £10.

      means Apple wont be getting its share from the sales on the app store, because those premium subscriptions are bought directly from Spotify's site.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TuaAmin13 (1359435)
        I'm thinking this slipped by the cens---I mean, reviewers. For every single overly strict reviewer they have, one or two is probably more lax. That guy, whose job is probably now in jeopardy, approved the app not realizing Apple won't make money, even if it did compete with existing iPhone functionality.

        Either that or they're panicking because of the recent FCC inquiries so they don't want to mess anything up.

        But we all know Apple doesn't panic.
        • Apple doesn't need that extra subscription money - they're already getting 30% of a 2.5 Billion dollar market. Apple is doing just fine running their little app store.

          Half the apps on there are now ad supported - these are apps released for free (meaning no money for Apple) which make money from ad impressions where all the ad dollars go directly to the app developer.

          I'd say the app store is evolving over time as they add new features and look at the various revenue streams...

          iTunes was never intended to be

      • by slim (1652)

        means Apple wont be getting its share from the sales on the app store, because those premium subscriptions are bought directly from Spotify's site.

        I *bet* there's a bit of quid pro quo going on there.

  • There is information on their blog [spotify.com] about this, which includes the following statement in one of the posts (by a spotify employee): "Rest assured we're working on the Android version. Keep an eye out on the blog for updates!"

    Another bit that was lost in the original article is that you need a premium account to use the iphone app (current cost is 99SEK .. approx $13).
    I did like this part in the blog post:

    Spotify on the iPhone will include many of the features our users enjoy on the desktop, with the
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by muffen (321442)
      In a Swedish article on IDG.SE [www.idg.se] they were waiting for the iPhone app before the US launch. Currently they expect spotify in the US before year-end.

      You can a preview of the app here [youtube.com]
  • Let's remember though...the government thinks ALL music downloads are illegal, even iTunes or this one!
    Here is the link
    http://tech.slashdot.org/story/09/08/26/1956201/US-Fed-Govt-Says-All-Music-Downloads-Are-Theft?from=rss [slashdot.org]

  • the only way apple approved spotify.. is if they get a piece of that £10/month subscription

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