Feeds

Apple 'puts the scares on Spotify'

US launch delayed - indefinitely?

Security for virtualized datacentres

Spotify was supposed to launch in the United States last year - but it may not now even launch this year. An intriguing explanation for the delay has been floated by Greg Sandoval at CNET - Apple is putting the scares on the music business by pointing to doubts about the viability of Spotify's business, he suggests, and playing on the labels' fears that revenues that the digital download market may be affected.

(There are other factors cited which may be more concrete - but these will be familiar to you.)

Major labels love Spotify so much they're the largest investors in the start-up, with an 18 per cent stake - something Spotify initially denied. The rationale was that free on-demand music provided an alternative to unlicensed file-sharing. Yet the passion isn't uniformly shared, and shows distinct signs of waning - without any prompting from Apple.

Warners' Ed Bronfman thinks free streaming services give away the farm for peanuts, and aren't viable in the long term. In February he pulled Warners back from supporting ad-supported streaming services describing them as "not a net positive".

More recent research contradicts his fears.

That hasn't stopped world+dog from following the Spotify and building me-too services. Google and Apple are believed to follow Microsoft (via Zune Pass), veterans such as Rhapsody and We7, and startups such as Rdio, into the same space. Sky Songs also includes streaming - one of many ISP-bundled streaming options expected to trickle out.

To be fair, Spotify has responded quite rationally - by closing the garden gate, and making paying for the music access easier and more flexible. The free, ad-supported Spotify is no longer open to all-comers, and you may have to wait as long for admission to the club as for a phoneline in the Communist GDR. If you want in, you really have to pay.

For Apple there's really only one concern, and that's to protect and enhance its device revenues. That's the strategy, and everything else is a tactic. Apple is much more likely to be concerned by Google's entry of into the music business, rather than Spotify's arrival - for a successful Google music service would weaken the demand for an iPod or iPhone.

Apple almost certainly has a streaming service up its sleeve, and market testing suggests that thanks to its entrenched position it would be a success. This isn't a given, considering that its social network Ping carries a bit of a pong, but Ping isn't very good at all.

Finally, the dreary saga of "will it, won't it" launch again shows how the territorially-divided music business can use delays as a tactical weapon, when it suits them. ®

Related link

Spotify crashes into Apple [CNet]

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.