Feeds

Apple 'puts the scares on Spotify'

US launch delayed - indefinitely?

New hybrid storage solutions

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]

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Why Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had to go ... Except he hasn't
Silicon Valley's veteran seadog in piratical Putin impression
Big Content Australia just blew a big hole in its credibility
AHEDA's research on average content prices did not expose methodology, so appears less than rigourous
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.