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Spotify on iPhone: nice app, but no multitasking

A fatal flaw?

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The application shows cover art, and offers shuffle and repeat - but that's all. In this first version, as with the desktop, there's no cruft that bedraggles also-ran services like Last.fm. There are few options or tweaks you can make to fine tune this minimal application - this "version 1.0" is numbered 0.3.19.

There isn't much to tweak in this version

The verdict - and is it worth a tenner?

The iPhone application even in its minimal state has some of the "wow" factor of the desktop version. But the lack of background playback is potentially a deal-breaker. At a guess, at least a third of iPhone users on the Tube I see are doing something else with their device, alongside listening to music. They may not be satisfied by staring at Spotify's cover art.

This isn't going to be a problem for S60 users and Android phone owners. The Android version is already available, while the S60 client can be previewed here on YouTube. Both those versions play your songs in the background, while you get on with something else.

Is it worth it?

This seems almost an absurd question to ask, but we're living in strange times. The Fred Neil collection above is worth a tenner of anyone's money. Spotify rewards the curious with endless such discoveries. Value for money is terrific - and it makes the Torrent trackers look crufty.

But not everyone rates value for money. Some people who may spend £350 on an iPod, ferociously object to paying less than a quid to obtain DRM-free songs they can keep for a lifetime. They'll go and blog about the injustice of it, sign petitions, or even form political parties.

If there is a legitimate criticism about Spotify, it's one we haven't heard much of yet. Spotify is a walled garden, with the music enclosed inside a proprietary DRM system. The music can only go where Spotify wishes. Again, as with Rhapsody, this is not a deal-breaker for many people. But caveat emptor - your music "collection" depends entirely on you paying money every month.

The combination of music and technology industries still haven't given us the option of both true sharing and true ownership in the one service - even though us music lovers would pay handsomely for the privilege. ®

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