Will Apple Approve or Reject the Spotify App?

Update: Awesome Approved

There’s a lil bita buzz in the twitter and blogosphere today over the whole spotify app approval thing with Apple and iTunes.

To be honest, I’ve no idea what’s going to happen – I don’t know, Apple top execs do, Spotify insiders prolly have an inkling ( and a strategy) but that’s about all I can deduce from these 969k or so blades of grass in my garden.

What I do know is that Spotify is absolutely kick, I mean, I seriously love it to death – fast, useful, free or cheap, and has literally changed the way I access and listen to music.

I was an avid, blip.fm and last.fm user, for a time; but both offered restrictions to market, or offered urls to iTune purchaes that didn’t work. Today I use them, but only for the community value add sense.

See, I like quirky, obscure, niche stuff that, doesnt really have a mass market and is prolly quite hard to find too. Prior to these services, I had to be content w/ a little judge jules or ancient Danny Rampling to fire up my old skool house dancey shoes.

We all love the iPhone Yada Yada Yada

I won’t go off on one about how great the iPhone is either, I’m a confessed iPhonoholic often seen w/ head bowed tapping away or grinning inanely at some random cussive tweet from a random person w/ too much time on their hands too,if it isn’t that, then I’m usually annoying the person on a train seat next to me w/ a reflexive over-volumised bass tinctured reverb or two. Bought and paid for ( honest guv) from  iTunes or from a mates new found old piece of vinyl, masterly digitised and available for download oft tinternet. ( A mate for the purpose of this piece, is anyone who loves house/techno/hip hop/ dance and just so happens to have stored it online somewhere, for convenience of course)

So imagine my delight having already played with Spotify as a desktop app and finding the various bits and bobs  like the ability to stream choons  and listen to them instantly for free, in learning that they’d developed an app that would enable for the same!

Wow, said I, how amazingly cool will that be! My own playlists, and even Shared Playlists accessible from the cloud, w/ a great interface, no fannying around,  pre-caching abilities and all for less than the price of four pints of lager in the Crown or a random Irish bird talking about her backend every so often by way of adverts – winner winner chicken dinner.

Yet, when you look closer you begin to hear the slow winding sound of the cat on your turntable, driving that top notch tune to a halt – stop we say, like yeah right, Apple soooo aren’t going to grant Spotify app status in a zillion years, not w/ out risking massive potential damage to its bottom line.

iTunes can be a pain in the arse – if your computer dies, or you want to migrate to another PC or MAC even, then to take your choons and migrate it all is little short of agony, with a dollop of time added for good measure, yet we  still use it, cos by and large, it’s the only real way of getting our stuff onto our iPhones and dulling our mind numbingly boring treks into the office.

Sure, if our file is small enough and we’ve managed to jump through all the hoops AND maintained our connection then sure, we can get tunes on the go, and sample a new sound or two, but it isn’t easy ,  it’s a pain in the arse. The Spotify app on the contrary looks to be anything but.

Music, accessible, simply.

So getting back to the question I started w/ – what will Apple do? Will they approve or reject?

Approving Spotify

On the face of it, it really doesn’t really make a lot of sense for them to approve the thing, Turkeys really wouldn’t vote for xmas given the chance.

What value, other than a miniscule amount of one time skimback would the inclusion of Spotify add to the bottom line of Apple? Moreover, what damage could the Spotify app do to the bottom line of Apple?

Frighteningly scary idea number one: If just 1% of people decided to say, “hmmn, you know, Apple, poke your £9 fee for that album download, I’ll go with Spotify and rent the rights to listen to the thing instead and listen to things that I want to, when I want to, rather than buy some random bit of plastic that gets scratched or I’ll get bored w/” then the cost to Apple would be huge.

Frighteningly scary idea number two: Adopters like those mentioned previously, usually have a good little network of people who look to them for ideas and new cool things on the block. Before long, such adopters would probably be heard saying in various forms of accent, “you know what dude, you really need to save yourself a few quid and liberate your bank balance from the tyranny that is iTunes”

Frighteningly scary idea number three: The world awakens as a result and realises that cd’s are old hat and just silly in 2009, ups sticks and moves on.

Rejecting Spotify

So Apple do the expected and say “fonk that for a game of hairy mary’s” reject stamp, sorry Spotify, clause xyz precludes us from accepting that apps that yada yada yada…

But would that be the end of it? Could Apple really get away w/ such a position? Is not restraint of trade the first thing that springs to mind? And what about the market? Can the market really be bucked in this way? In fact why isn’t/hasn’t iPhone furiously devved an alternative? Is it not a no brainer almost? An app that stores music in the cloud that people can stream from and access from anywhere – or maybe it isn’t that simple, perhaps the whole cloud music to mobile device idea is locked away and owned by Spotifyand Apple, cognisant of this are crying pins and needles unable to move and adapt…

I don’t know, IANAL (always wanted to say that) and I know very little about trademark law or music law( as I’m sure is abundantly clear) or any of that other restrictive/protective bs other than that I’ve read at Techcrunch or through some other random blog somewhere so I’ll leave that bit there.

What I would say though is that for Apple, Spotify, the Music industry and the consumer at large is that a real opp exists for the 3 main players in this little shindig, to sit down and sort something out, be that through app embedded buy now, rev share, iTune links or a bigger slice of the Spotify pie with share options and whatever other compromise the smartest mover can place on the dumbest shaker, really does seem like the only viable option open – anything less will show it all up for the sham of a rip off that the status quo is.

Finally, none of this is really new, at least not from the perspective of the desktop. Napster showed the way w/ peer to peer and heck it rocked, rocked so hard in fact that they were eventually forced to comply or die to the demands of Sony et al, all of whom quaked at the thought of this freeness thing running riot. People like Daniel Ek ( Spotify CEO ) have long seen the  writing on the wall , and puts it well asking almost “why wouldn’t they, (the music industry)  see it any other way” .  They all know the game is up, they can’t keep mugging people off with ridiculously high priced glossy packaged plastic, especially when people have other options.  Apparently, 90% of online music is still obtained by non paid ‘illegalz meanz’, showing that there’s still massive demand for the stuff, even if they aren’t paying for it – put simply, try as they do, they can’t shut it down, they can’t stop people sharing music, downloading it for free etc, coz at its heart, the current system sucks arse and no one likes being ripped off.  Consumers, given the option will vote w/ their feet.  I like Spotify, game changers ftw 😀

Rob Watts
Kickstart your business today - Get an SEO Consultation or just talk to Rob about your online aspirations. With over 20 years experience in building traffic he's pretty much encountered most markets and scenarios
Posted on: 17th August 2009, by : Rob Watts

4 thoughts on “Will Apple Approve or Reject the Spotify App?

  1. Apple will most likely reject the application for protecting the artist’s songs for being streamed for free. As much as CD’s aren’t bought anymore and being downloaded digitally, the market isn’t what it used to be anymore. I do believe that the application should be approved, for the sake of the developer and the it’s customers who will love to use this application.

  2. I agree, it must have something to do with legal issues, as it does promote piracy. Overall, doesn’t the music industry still make a lot of money? Aren’t they still selling a lot of tradiional CD’s? If so, why is should piracy continue to be such an issue?

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